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While I Waited, Life Happened
Glenda Council Beall


In the waning days of fall vacation, leaves fly
like goldfinches, poplars’ jeweled showers
rain upon the mountains of West Virginia.

Temperatures plummet to freezing after dark,
but mornings crisp as caramel apples draw us
outside where cows seek sustenance burrowing beneath
tall weeds bronzed by season’s cold.

Three horses clip remaining blades from pasture overgrazed
in the drought. Smoke plumes from burning brush cut to make
the raw road, drifts across the pond’s mosaic surface.

I find myself nostalgic for my own country roots;
Soft sounds of mourning doves and lost calves calling
for their mothers; riding horseback in the woods, quail
flush and scare my pony; crows caw from stands of willows.

Boundless days stretched before me; days of wasted youth;
Hours of restless yearning, wanting always what I did not have,
waiting to learn what I would become, waiting to live,
oblivious to the riches I already possessed.

Given a second chance, I’d hold that gift of time cupped
tightly in my hands. I’d breathe, taste and savor every second
I have squandered — not fritter it away, but hoard each precious
minute, clutched firmly against my breast.

From Now Might As Well Be Then (Finishing Line Press. 2009)
Used with the author’s permission.


Glenda Beall was raised on a farm in Albany, Georgia, and taught school for many years before relocating to western North Carolina. Widely published in journals, anthologies, newspapers, and magazines, she now teaches writing classes for adults and served for several years as Program Coordinator for the western branch of the North Carolina Writers Network. To learn more about Glenda, visit



Post New Comment:
Glenda, how true, how touching. Youth doesn't know what it has.
Posted 11/18/2014 02:47 PM
lovely, Glenda
Posted 11/16/2014 06:15 PM
Beautiful images and poem.
Posted 11/16/2014 03:18 PM
Ah, yes, to cherish each moment. Wish I'd learned that earlier....I love your images of autumn, my favorite season.
Posted 11/16/2014 02:32 PM
Thank you. Many of my thoughts run parallel to these. But, I did make use of my time.
Posted 11/16/2014 10:35 AM

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