By accident or fate I said the words
That saved the king from poison unto death.
Despite his trust I maintained shibboleths.
The son of Jair, I’m not afraid of birds.

The judge caught me at prayer before the feasts
And longed to see me eaten by shabhaz.
He ruled all servants and gentlemen must pass
Beside him head bowed down like pagan priests.

Below the flame of candlelight I stood,
While scribes inked out each blessed legal phrase.
We locked eyes long enough for me to praise
The wisdom demonstrated by the good.

I smell the smoke and hear the pleas of saints
Arise as men return to their constraints.

Clinton Collister

Poetry Editor of The North American Anglican

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