Dearest One

by Sean Sexton

Call the world if you please, the Vale of Soul-making!
Then you will find out the use of the world.
                                                                           John Keats

You have stepped from among us to don the cloth;
acquaint yourself with our sadness and share in our joy.
Henceforth, your eyes will open upon a wilderness grown
inside us all, desert that claims our hearts, land we must 
cross together arm in arm. 

You will know and attend our celebrations, marry our difficulties
to your own and watch us appear and disappear, as you wonder, 
worry, and weep. You will be a founder of hope, giver of light
and witness of its deepest demise. You are an angel and a fool, 
guardian and sufferer, and the first victim of your own despair.

You will be blessed and harmed, radiant and quenched—
a wick safe within us to illumine the darkness and help
us find the morning. You are brave and will become only
more so. You are fearful and hence forth, things to be afraid 
of shall not diminish. 

You are a sacrifice.

What danger and pleasure you seek, following in your father's
footsteps. You have always known these things, how could you 
do this if it were not so? You were chosen, even as you choose 
to hold us in your hands, not at arm's length but within the full
embrace of your heart.

For Elizabeth Bunting Hipp on her day of ordination 12/29/2019


Sean Sexton was born in Indian River County and grew up on his family’s Treasure Hammock Ranch. He divides his time between managing a 700-acre cow-calf and seed stock operation, painting, and writing. He has kept daily sketch and writing journals since 1973. He is author of Blood Writing, Poems, Anhinga Press, 2009, The Empty Tomb, University of Alabama Slash Pine Press, 2014, Descent, Yellow Jacket Press, 2018 and May Darkness Restore, Poems, Press 53, 2019. He has performed at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV, Miami Book Fair International, Other Words Literary Conference in Tampa, FL and the High Road Poetry and Short Fiction Festival, in Winston Salem, NC. He is nominated for a Pushcart Prize and received a FL Individual Artist’s Fellowship in 2001.

He is a board member of the Laura Riding Jackson Foundation (Lauraridingjackson.org) and founding event chair of the Annual Poetry and Barbeque held each April, now in its tenth year. He also co-founded Poetry and Organ Advent and Lenten Concert Series at Community Church in Vero Beach, FL (ccovb.org) featuring nine concerts annually attracting poets from all over the US. He became inaugural Poet Laureate of Indian River County in 2016.

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