Soleil & Sons

Robert Cording 
| poetry


I have been reading your better servant

George Herbert again, and I’m trying to turn

my day into prayer, praying as the toast rises

with the toaster’s tinny bell and the tea leaves

turn water into English Breakfast tea,

and praying as I slice strawberries and add

their redness to a bowl of granola.

I’m grateful this morning for this cinnamon toast

and for the local baker who made it, and for

the French word for sun and the punning name

of the bakery, and for the sun that arrived

this morning without my asking.

Soleil and Sons, Soleil and Sons, Soleil and Sons,

why not add those words to my prayer,

the glass of my watch making a small sun

of the actual sun that forks and darts

along the walls and across the ceiling, multiplying

like those five loaves, like sun and sons.

Maybe this is how Herbert’s prayer became an elixir

that carried the whole, given ordinary day

inside it, his entire body feeling

as if it could break into applause for nothing

more than the floor he swept clean for thy sake,

nothing explaining the way love took hold

on its own. And maybe I’m beginning

to get it, this keeping you near

with my words, and maybe the good news is

just saying the words over and over,

a prayer that somehow keeps gratitude

in mind even when it doesn’t.



Robert Cording is professor emeritus at College of the Holy Cross. He has published eight collections of poems, the most recent of which is Only So Far (CavanKerry Press, 2015). New work is out or forthcoming in The Georgia Review, New Ohio Review, The Hudson Review, Image, and The Common.

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