The hand that signed the paper

Hands Jean Hélion (1904–1987) 1956

In light of decision-making by executive order and the White House signing ceremonies that seem to exude smug gloating – a poem and pictures.

Decisions, signings, authorizations, treaties, orders have consequences.

The hand that signed the paper 

The hand that signed the paper felled a city;
Five sovereign fingers taxed the breath,
Doubled the globe of dead and halved a country;
These five kings did a king to death.

The mighty hand leads to a sloping shoulder,
The fingers’ joints are cramped with chalk;
A goose’s quill has put an end to murder
That put an end to talk.

The hand that signed the treaty bred a fever,
And famine grew, and locusts came;
Great is the hand that holds dominion over
Man by a scribbled name.

The five kings count the dead but do not soften
The crusted wound nor stroke the brow;
A hand rules pity as a hand rules heaven;
Hands have no tears to flow.

by Dylan Thomas

Marble left hand holding a scroll Imperial Rome 1st or 2nd century A.D.

Scottie Wilson
Fountain pen, stored in a Carabena tobacco box

Still Life with a Skull and a Writing Quill 
Pieter Claesz (1596/97–1660) 1628

The Banker’s Table
William Michael Harnett (1848–1892) 1877

The Writing Master
Thomas Eakins 1844–1916 )

Olivier, Herbert Arnould; Sketch of the Table in the Hall of Mirrors, at Which the Treaty of Versailles Was Signed. 1919

Solar Eclipse over the ‘Liberated’ Rhine 1930 John Heartfield. German troops were excluded from the Rhineland for fifteen years under the terms of the post-war Treaty of Versailles of 1919. Here President Hindenburg congratulates Prime Minister Carl Otto Braun (‘Well parried, dear Braun!’) for negotiating the withdrawal of the occupying Allied troops five years early.

Featured image: Engraved ,printed and sold by Paul Revere from a design by Henry Pelham for an engraving eventually published under the title “The Fruits of Arbitrary Power, or the Bloody Massacre.”– 


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