Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thomas Centolella: "Splendor"

One day it's the clouds,
one day the mountains.
One day the latest bloom
of roses—the pure monochromes,
the dazzling hybrids—inspiration
for the cathedral's round windows.
Every now and then
there's the splendor
of thought: the singular
idea and its brilliant retinue—
words, cadence, point of view,
little gold arrows flitting
between the lines.
And too the splendor
of no thought at all:
hands lying calmly
in the lap, or swinging
a six iron with effortless
tempo. More often than not
splendor is the star we orbit
without a second thought,
especially as it arrives
and departs. One day
it's the blue glassy bay,
one day the night
and its array of jewels,
visible and invisible.
Sometimes it's the warm clarity
of a face that finds your face
and doesn't turn away.
Sometimes a kindness, unexpected,
that will radiate farther
than you might imagine.
One day it's the entire day
itself, each hour foregoing
its number and name,
its cumbersome clothes, a day
that says come as you are,
large enough for fear and doubt,
with room to spare: the most secret
wish, the deepest, the darkest,
turned inside out.

"Splendor" by Thomas Centolella, from Views from along the Middle Way (Copper Canyon Press, 2002).

Art credit: "Kostino [Bulgaria] Solargraph," photograph taken in 2011 by Boris Pophristov. A solargraph is a long-exposure image that shows the path of the sun as it arcs across the sky, usually over several months, sometimes longer. From the caption: "Six months exposure with a beer can pinhole camera installed on the highest cliffs of Kostino."


  1. The warm clarity and quiet splendour of this poem -- inspiring!

  2. A wonderful poem that finds my face and doesn't turn away.....

  3. Oh, what a wonderful poem!


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