A Prayer from the Bend in the Trail


I bought this bench for twenty-five dollars.
I searched the papers and called the seller,
Drove to her house, and offered her twenty.
She raised her brow and wouldn’t budge a cent.
I came home with one less fast food combo
In my future and a bench in my truck.

My wife helped me carry it to the woods,
Along the trail I cut through junipers,
Thorns, and clover, where slabs of native stone
Rise, green with fungus, from the leafy earth,
Like petrified sea turtles or sperm whales,
Statues buried a thousand years ago.

We placed the bench at the bend in the trail
Where there is little to see but the trees
And the brown footworn path curving from view,
Disappearing to the left and the right.
Straight ahead is a young hackberry tree
With two knots facing east, narrow windows

In a castle turret where snails stand guard.
There are days when my children remember
The forest, and I can hear in the trees
The magical sound of faery laughter.
They round the bend brandishing sticks, march past,
And vanish. I watch with joy and envy.

Now, I have gone through all this trouble, Lord,
To sit, and to watch, and to listen here
On this old bench at the bend in the trail.
Your humble servant has but one request:
Would you please cast into outer darkness,
For all eternity, these mosquitoes?

Your servant will return when this is done.

Andrew Peterson is a singer-songwriter and author. Andrew has released more than ten records over the past twenty years, earning him a reputation for songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. As an author, Andrew’s books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga, released in collectible hardcover editions through Random House in 2020, and his creative memoir, Adorning the Dark, released in 2019 through B&H Publishing.


  1. Shawn

    Thanks for the chuckle at the end of such an inspiring poem. It was almost like the exact opposite of many Gullahorn songs, where you are laughing right up to the point where he smacks you in the head with the two-by-four of truth. I love both approaches.

  2. Paula Shaw

    Poetry becomes you Andrew! I never thought it wouldn’t though, seeing as you possess such a fine gift of articulating that which many can only feel.
    That’s the perfect spot, too, for that bench. It looks like it’s been there for ages.
    Keep up with the poetry, and thanks for the splash of humor.
    Hope you have an awesome summer. Can’t wait for “North! Or Be Eaten” in August!

  3. Heather Irene

    Would you please cast into outer darkness,
    For all eternity, these mosquitoes?

    Heh. “North! Or Be Eaten” would actually work here… The frozen tundra is probably the only place to escape those beasts.

    Great poem. I think that it should be the next feature for the podcast. It would be a fitting start to the summer. As I read it I could already hear you reciting it with Ben playing a little Rabbit Room music in the background.

    Like you said before:
    … try reading it again, aloud. (That’s a rule of poetry.)

  4. Kathy Krueger

    Be careful what you ask for. He might send you to Minnesota so that you’ll be more thankful for the few mosquitoes you have in comparison to us. Enjoy your bench.

  5. noreen

    sooooo wonderful to read rabbit room with noooo hate mail only beautiful poems , stories beautiful writers In Him, noreen

  6. ECC

    I went camping in SE Iowa over Memorial Day weekend and I second that motion! And may He also take with Him, gnats and ticks too!

  7. Charlotte

    Mosquitos! Nasty little beasts….. can’t stand them. I wish I was one of those people who didn’t react to them… I just get eaten up!

  8. Shande

    Love this post. A lot…
    The poem, the picture, and the idea of placing that antique bench in a peaceful and secluded spot
    I like it so much that I am a bit jealous of your spot 😉

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