“Waiting and Watching” by C. Wade Bentley

C. Wade Bentley


what we are to do, however,
with our hearts
waiting and watching—truly
I do not know.
—Mary Oliver

We are allowed some tasks at the edges
of the estate: puttering in the potting
sheds; deadheading hollyhocks, petunias,
delphiniums; gathering windfall apples
for the horses and goats. In return,
there are sandwiches and tea, soft seats
near a warm fire. We are not barred
from the ballroom or the fine dining
rooms, of course—“wander where you
will, father”—but perhaps there is
a subtle herding, an unseen dog working
us, under orders to “walk on.” Meanwhile,
our language is no longer taught
in the schools, so we only smile and blink
in the bright noise of children on the pitch,
wave as they hurry past. They will not
have noticed the owl stirring in the dark
line of trees, waking for the night, but
lord love them, look at them run.

from Rattle #82, Winter 2023


C. Wade Bentley: “A few years ago, for a number of good reasons, I stepped away from the poetry biz and social media. It’s been a healthy break, for me, but my poems have become increasingly unhappy with their lot, languishing away in my Poems folder, occasionally foisted upon a few family members. They wanted to see the world, however much I warned them about life outside. But I’m very happy that this one, which (don’t tell the others) has always been a favorite of mine, has found a good home among good friends.”

Rattle Logo