A New Year's Day blessing

by Ken Sehested

May your home always be too
small to hold all your friends.

May your heart remain ever supple,
fearless in the face of threat,
jubilant in the grip of grace.

May your hands remain open,
caressing, never clenched,
save to pound the doors
of all who barter justice
to the highest bidder.

May your heroes be earthy,
dusty-shoed and rumpled,
hallowed but unhaloed,
guiding you through seasons
of tremor and travail, apprenticed
to the godly art of giggling
amid haggard news and
portentous circumstance.

May your hankering be
in rhythm with heaven’s,
whose covenant vows a dusty
intersection with our own:
when creation’s hope and history rhyme.

May hosannas lilt from your lungs:
God is not done;
God is not yet done.

All flesh, I am told, will behold;
will surely behold.

©Ken Sehested @ New Year’s Day 2005. A new year’s blessing honoring the 70th birthday of a friend (and his new titanium hip!)—an expert in the art of blessing—celebrated during a winter hike on the Appalachian Trail. The first stanza of this poem, which inspired the composition, is a traditional Irish blessing. The line when hope and history rhyme” is taken from a Seamus Heaney poem entitled “On the far side of revenge.” Benedicere, a Latin word, means “to bless.”

For a video production of this poem, see this site: