Another Word is in the wind

A psalm of complaint and avowal

by Ken Sehested

          Have mercy upon us, O Lord.
          Our soul has had more than its fill
          of the scorn of those who are at ease,
          of the contempt of the proud.
          —Psalm 123:3-4

In the end, if we are left to our own devices—to our
own amalgam of brains and brawn, of ingenuity and
charisma, sleight of hand and strength of arm, in
mobilizing sufficient force to bend the will of others
to our own, in accordance to self-ordained vision
masquerading as fate’s foreordained history—then
nothing is forbidden. All authority is subsumed in
the will to power.

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Another Word is yet to be heard

A rant following the 14 February 2018 mass shooting at Douglas High

by Ken Sehested

“A child of God is dead. Can not we acknowledge in this country that we cannot accept this?” —former FBI agent and counterterrorism expert Philip Mudd, breaking into tears when talking about the 15 February 2018 school shooting in Broward County, Florida. Who could predict that a terror expert could be anointed as the Spirit’s agent in prophetic protest against the spirit of the age?

nothing says ash wednesday
or valentine’s day
like murdered children

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The treasures of darkness

A poem for Advent

by Ken Sehested

It has been said:
You shall know the truth,
and the truth will set you free;
but first it will make you miserable.

The pilgrimage to mercy
necessarily passes through
valleys of misery, for the far Horizon
of hope’s disclosure can only be seen

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The baptizer’s bargain

A poem on John the Baptist

Such a tame name for a man
     born to inhabit the wild side
     of heaven’s incursion.
You startle children with
     your leather-girdled, camel-haired attire,
     hot breath bidding the devout
     into Jordan’s penitential wake,
     the same waters that marked
     the boundary of beneficence: of the Hebrew
     slaves’ long march from Pharaoh’s provision
          (the latter hard, to be sure, but also secure)
     to Providence of another, riskier kind,
     though laced with promise of milk and honey.
What drove you to this scorched abode,
     abounding in wild beasts, hostile foes
     and scarce sustenance?

The shape of your profile
     was cockeyed from conception:
     born to parents long since impotent and barren;
     your father stunned speechless by
     the angel’s approach;
     your future yoked with that of Elijah,
     ancient antagonist to royal deceit.
           (And you paid with your head.)
What was it in Mary’s voice that prompted
     your recoil in Elizabeth’s womb?
And why the abandonment of familial legacy
     in the choice of your name?
What incredulous politics is this that the
     Word of God would bypass
          lordly Tiberius and Pilate,
          princely Philip and Lysanias,
          priestly Annas and Caiaphas,
     to locate you, of honey-smeared beard,
     amid such remote and wayward landscape?

Spirit-drenched baptizer of repentant flesh,
     exposing shameful inheritance to the Advent
     of mercy and an anthem of praise.
Lonely minstrel of pledged Betrothal,
     announcing dawn’s infiltration
     of destiny’s dark corner,
     scattering death’s shadow with
     the footfalls of peace.
Witness to dove’s descent, reversing heaven’s
     flooding threat with lauded applause
     to Mary’s assent and Messiah’s demand
     for hills’ prostration and valleys’ upheaval.
Speak, John: Roar the Complaint against every
     crooked and cragged thoroughfare.
Should the elect resist, the stones themselves
     will produce heirs worthy of Abram’s fealty.
Echo the insistent Refrain: revive, return, repair.

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Aftermath of the Great War’s Armistice

On the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, 11 November 2018

by Ken Sehested

            The Resurrection is the Beloved’s own
Armistice, intimate seal on ancient covenant,
when the rain’s own bow arches in the flood’s
aftermath as divine reminder, animus receding
by act of divine contrition:

            Never again. Never again.*

No longer will Heaven respond with drowning
contempt over earth’s profaning habit. Divine
remorse calls out for creaturely requite. The
soil itself destined for fertile bounty’s return.

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Joy’s ascendance

This stuff could get you in trouble

by Ken Sehested

“For Jesus, there are
no countries to be conquered,
no ideologies to be imposed,
no people to be dominated.
There are only children,
women and men to be loved.”
—Henri Nouwen

Yes. This. Of course. No doubt about it.
I stake everything on this claim.

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Resurrection’s approach

A poem for Holy Week

by Ken Sehested

In praise of the Blessed One who
refuses to be named and tamed,
Who emboldens those previously
bearing no name—no privilege,
no recognition, the illegitimi of
the world—to rise up with
astonishing courage and against
all odds to challenge the webs of
corruption, injustice, and mortal
threat fashioned by politicians,
peddlers, prosecutors, and priests
who honor no truth save that of
their own seething imagination,
who broach the ancient boundaries
of shared beneficence, who sell
Heaven’s manna to the highest
bidder, whose security demands
foreclose on all who lack tribute,
and whose blessing is confined to
those staid to the lies inflicting
every plundered field, deaf to the
cries of those prostrate in mourning
and affliction. Easter in us, Tree of
all life and Trestle of every hope’s
flight from ruin’s despair. Vouchsafe
the promise, to earth’s castaways,
of the resurrecting morning to
come, whose approach opens
wide the gates of hell swallowing
every crucifying power.

©ken sehested @

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Don’t go moonshining on the empire’s behalf

Or, what to do with disconsolation

Ken Sehested

You are encouraged to listen to Roberta Flack and
Donny Hathaway’s rendition of “Come, Ye
”  before, during or after you read.

We are often suspicious of words of comfort, and
for good reason: such sentiments too often coax us
into being comfortable, too often keep us on our
couches, too often justify passivity in the face of
pillage. As if sanitizing our own hands is the end of
our duty.

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Mary's song of praise

by Ken Sehested

Hail, O favored one!
But Mary was greatly troubled
at the angel's erupting, interrupting greeting.

No wonder.
The annunciation of heaven
splitting earth
is always troubling
Mountains shake
hearts quiver
at the sound of God's rousing.

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Pacem in terris

by Ken Sehested

We are indeed strangers; but not foreigners.

This “world” is not our home; but this earth is.

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