Life and Death · Life's Challenges · Poems about Life and Death

Poet Rachel Bentham

Quaking. (New Zealand.)

The glasses clinked on their shelves,
a sign we recognised. Unperturbed,
I moved to the kitchen doorway –
doorways were supposed safer,
the frying pan still in my hand.

The floor shook as scales shake
when you weigh yourself, an
insecurity underfoot. But it didn’t
stop. The shake became a roll,
a house beginning to canter.

My father at the head of the
dining table, rose slowly to
his feet. I saw his hands grip
the table edge. ‘In a minute
I’m going to be frightened.’

And I knew he already was,
from the colour of his knuckles.

Rachel Bentham is an award-winning internationally published poet and novelist from Bristol, England. She lives there with her four children, and is “rarely bored.”


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