I used to think that clean­li­ness was paramount.

That dust and tiny spi­der­webs had no place at home.

And amidst these untidy nui­sances were fingerprints

On every glass sur­face with­in easy reach.

Fingerprints of a young child busi­ly investigating

A rapid­ly expand­ing world which, for the moment,

Is con­fined to a lev­el bare­ly above an adult’s waist.

Those fin­ger­prints define the child’s yearning.

The explo­ration of things tac­tile, intrigu­ing and new.

They are the rem­nants of a won­drous inquisitiveness

That pass­es too quick­ly and ages into passivity.

And so I shall leave the fin­ger­prints as they are.

As heart­warm­ing reminders of a child who once played here

And dis­cov­ered amaz­ing new worlds and realms

And mar­velous contraptions

Which evoked squeals of laugh­ter and delight

And brought many smiles and hap­py memories

To an old man who can now find

Contentment among a few specks of dust

An occa­sion­al spiderweb

And the fin­ger­prints of a search­ing child.

Fingerprints (Chuck Witt)

  • Chuck Witt

    Chuck is a retired archi­tect, a for­mer news­pa­per colum­nist, and a life­long res­i­dent of Winchester.