Other Poems

Return to your heart

Altar call for repentance and amendment*

by Ken Sehested

Return to your heart, O you transgressors, and hold
fast to the One who composted soul and soil alike.
Stand with the Beloved and your footing shall be
firm. Rest in the Merciful One and you shall be

Where do you go along these rugged paths, pilgrim,
so far from home yet so winsomely loved? Be clear
about what you seek, and where you seek, for the
beatific life cannot be found in the land of
deception. But do not despair, for life is conspiring
in least likely places, in the cracks and clefts, in
barren and fallow terrain. Train your eyes to see
through the tangle of disordered desire.

Resist, even to death, that which bedevils the
common good. Welcome and foster all that shields
the afflicted and restores the rejected, that
replenishes harrowed fields and forests, that
reclaims despoiled waters and skies.

All of such is your spiritual duty: the raising of your
hymn of praise, the longing of your zealous prayers,
the practice of your baptismal vows. By such does
your heart’s profession align with your hand’s

Insomuch shall you go out in peace and be led back
in joy, the hills bursting in song, the trees in applause.


*With borrowed lines from St. Augustine and Isaiah 55.
Linocut art by Julie Lonneman.
©ken sehested @ prayerandpolitiks.org