Poem: Startling and Out of Place

Startling and Out of Place

I have tried to write this poem for years,
ever since I took the picture in the lobby
of a client in Washington DC.
Sleek and smooth. Sharp edges and lines.
A splash of color, startling and out of place
and yet that is where your eye is drawn.

Everything has meaning. I say it all the time.
I seek it all the time, and yet for years
I have not discovered the meaning in this particular image.
It has one, I am sure, I rarely take pictures
if empty things. Even when I do not understand
why an image sings to me, I still snap the shot,
trusting whatever distance muse makes it sing,
sure in time, it will come to me
and translate from capture to words,
from thing to soul teachers.

I am rarely disappointed.

This is how mana works in my life.
I get what I need, but never on my schedule.
Faith, I have learned, is more a matter of patience
than education. A willingness to wait
for the seasons to change in whatever order they choose
and rejoice in what comes, when it comes,
trusting in God’s ability to create heaven
in the midst of hell, with a pop of color.

About this poem.

I took this picture nearly a decade ago. My children and my beloved wife know that when I take a picture there is probably a poem in it. That’s why I take pictures, not to be arty or creative, but because the image stirs an emotion, even if I don’t know what the emotion is as I press the button on the top of my camera.

I still don’t know what emotion the picture stirred. Only that it still stirs something despite looking like a cold white image you’d expect more from Architectural Digest than me.



  1. Tom, I think there’s a striking juxtaposition to the other pillar in the picture.

    One is silent and strong; the other colorful, full of intrigue and variety. Perhaps a contrast between an introvert and extrovert?



    • One of the things I love about putting my art, poetry and photographs out there is hearing what others see in them. It is almost always something new. And I love that. Thank you.

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