Other Poems

Portal of praise

Praise as presage to Advent’s treason

by Ken Sehested

The Manger’s trailhead opens at
the portal of praise and genuflecting
thanks. Not because heaven arises to
piety’s incense. But because Advent’s
brush with mortal flesh is a perilous journey,
fraught with insurrection’s threat,
pregnancy’s scandal, birthed from
stabled bed, and Herod’s foam and fury.

The innocents take it in the chops every
time. Yet Advent threatens treason to
every Herod-hearted arrangement.

Alas, deliverance is a long time coming,
and grows longer still. Because vultures
still circle when nations preen, sanctifying
fields with opened veins, feeding sepulchers,
their reap still grim. Only praise-practiced
souls have a slip of a chance, because they
know the dance that sustains through
malice and maim and every menacing
flame. Only laudatory aria echoes to
each distant hollow, every craggy perch,
destined to breach the deepest dungeon’s seal.

To say thanks is to honor an alliance and
affirm a reliance beyond self-encumbered
competence and conceit. To praise is to
raise the eyes, staring dauntless in the
face of lies and all manner of threat,
breaking the hold of regret, anchored
in the assurance that not even death
can check the Breath that crests over
bleached bone and scorched lung,
aspiring life beyond all knowing.

Only canticles can tell. Only thanks can
hallowing render. Only praise can
leverage the earth’s maddening orbit back
to its Rightful Tender. No longer shall
the beggarly be auctioned to satisfy
ravenous demand, but they shall find
refuge, deliverance, in secured
Promised Land. For the Blessed One
has vowed a ransomed release from
misery’s increase: healing the lamed,
gathering the shamed, transforming
their weeping to a torrent of praise.*

Torrential praise.
Rapturous,
irrepressible,
resplendent praise.
Oh come
let us
adore.

*cf. Zephaniah 3:19
©Ken Sehested  •  Advent 2015  • @prayerandpolitiks.org