Poems for Ephesians is a journal of poetry that leaps out of the images, ideas and inspirations of the Book of Ephesians. These poems, which are the expressions of the poets themselves, do not necessarily reflect the views of McMaster Divinity College. This web-journal is an on-going project presented by D.S. Martin, MDC’s Poet-in-Residence: (martid17@mcmaster.ca).

Watch for new posts every week!

In a Strange Land

D.S. Martin is the Series Editor for the Poiema Poetry Series from Cascade Books.

His most-recent book of poetry is Ampersand (2018).

Follow these links to his website www.dsmartin.ca and to Kingdom Poets his online resource of Christian poetry.

Most of the poets in the new anthology In A Strange Land: Introducing Ten Kingdom Poets (2019) have had poems included in Poems For Ephesians.

  • Looking for Mt. Monadnock by Robert Siegel

    Looking for Mt. Monadnock

    ———-She flowed into a foaming wave;
    ———-She stood Monadnoc’s head.
    ———-―Emerson, “The Sphinx”

    We see the sign, “Monadnock State Park”
    as it flashes by, after a mile or two

    decide to go back, “We can’t pass by Monadnock
    without seeing it,” I say, turning around.

    We head down the side road―“Monadnock Realty,”
    “Monadnock Pottery,” “Monadnock Designs,”

    but no Monadnock. Then the signs fall away―
    nothing but trees and the darkening afternoon.

    We don’t speak, pass a clearing, and you say,
    “I think I saw it, or part of it―a bald rock?”

    Miles and miles more. Finally, I pull over
    and we consult a map. “Monadnock’s right there.”

    “Or just back a bit there.” “But we should see it―we’re
    practically on top of it.” And driving back

    we look―trees, a flash of clearing, purple rock―
    but we are, it seems, too close to see it:

    It is here. We are on it. It is under us.

    Robert Siegel (1939―2012) shared this poem with Eugene Peterson, when it was first written. In a chapter on Ephesians 1 in Practice Resurrection, Peterson shares the poem and says, “This practice-resurrection life, this growing-up-in-Christ life…is a Mt. Monadnock kind of life. We read the words, we see the signs…pray the prayers…But we never see what we expect to see.” This poem appears in Robert Siegel’s final collection ― Within This Tree of Bones: New & Selected Poems (2013, Poiema Poetry Series/Cascade Books).

    Posted: 16 October 2019

  • To My Dear and Loving Husband by Anne Bradstreet

    To My Dear and Loving Husband

    If ever two were one, then surely we.
    If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
    If ever wife was happy in a man,
    Compare with me ye women if you can.
    I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
    Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
    My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
    Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
    Thy love is such I can no way repay;
    The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
    Then while we live, in love let’s so persever,
    That when we live no more we may live ever.

    Anne Bradstreet (1612—1672) was a Puritan who emigrated to America in 1630, along with her parents and her husband — whom she had married when she was just sixteen. She was the first American woman to have a book published, and is considered by many to be America’s first poet. The opening sentence in this poem references Ephesians 5:31.

    Posted: 09 October 2019

  • Drawn by Laura Reece Hogan

    Drawn

    ———-Ephesians 2:4-5

    Even when we were dead you reached
    us with your fiery fingers even deep in the dark

    nether landscape, the flame at last catching, etching.
    Not an easy thing to awaken to this burning, yet we turn

    into the blistering luster of it, eager for the mistakes
    to erase in smoke. Twice I have seen the walls of my home

    glow orange. The first, an inferno of wildfire reflected
    its destructive image there, an unnatural midnight sun flickering

    over a drawing of you (a penciled desire of a drawing of you),
    your eyes closed in prayer. The second, persimmons alight

    in the dying autumn rays tinted the whole interior, a seeming
    pastoral until I considered the still life of a body letting go

    in bright-dappled yield. Both blazes revealed your consuming
    mercy. Our wings home to it, our antennae prick

    to the warm swelling updraft of it, the scoring and scorching
    of the terrible approach, the blood-red falling away

    of our transgressions. The likeness inside leaps to greet,
    rushes to be brought to life, moths trembling into your

    magnetic heat as you render us in love.

    Laura Reece Hogan is the award-winning author of the poetry chapbook O, Garden Dweller (2017, Finishing Line) and the nonfiction book I Live, No Longer I: Paul’s Spirituality of Suffering, Transformation, and Joy (2017, Wipf & Stock). She is one of the poets featured in the new collection In A Strange Land: Introducing Ten Kingdom Poets (2019, Cascade). Her poems have appeared in such publications as America, Christian Century and Anglican Theological Review. She lives with her family in Southern California.

    Posted: 02 October 2019

  • Width, Length, Height, Depth by Tania Runyan

    Width, Length, Height, Depth

    ———-—Jenny’s Canyon, Snow Canyon State Park, Utah
    ———-—Eph. 3:18

    There is something small
    about the love of God.

    I clamber up a few rocks,
    walk a hundred yards

    through pink sand,
    then feel the canyon walls

    converge on my shoulders.
    Just skin, hawk song,

    my blood pounding
    against fossils in the dark,

    my only movements my hands
    channeling the marrow

    of sandstone. I can look nowhere
    but up the sheer red walls

    pocked and hallowed
    by chronicles of rain,

    forever closing
    but never touching,

    in the gap
    the whole sky caught.

    Poems For Ephesians has now accumulated a year’s worth of weekly poems. Like the inaugural Ephesians poem of one year ago, this poem is by Tania Runyan and is from her poetry collection Second Sky (2013, Poiema Poetry Series). This poem first appeared in The Other Journal. She and her family live in northern Illinois.

    Posted: 25 September 2019

  • The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser

    From The Faerie Queene — Book I, Canto I

    i
    A Gentle Knight was pricking on the plaine,
    Y cladd in mightie armes and silver shielde,
    Wherein old dints of deepe wounds did remaine,
    The cruell markes of many a bloudy fielde;
    Yet armes till that time did he never wield:
    His angry steede did chide his foming bitt,
    As much disdayning to the curbe to yield:
    Full jolly knight he seemd, and faire did sitt,
    As one for knightly giusts and fierce encounters fitt.

    ii
    But on his brest a bloudie Crosse he bore,
    The deare remembrance of his dying Lord,
    For whose sweete sake that glorious badge he wore,
    And dead as living ever him ador’d:
    Upon his shield the like was also scor’d,
    For soveraine hope, which in his helpe he had:
    Right faithfull true he was in deede and word,
    But of his cheere did seeme too solemne sad;
    Yet nothing did he dread, but ever was ydrad.

    The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser (c.1552—1599) is one of the longest poems in the English language. Here Spenser writes of knights, as a way of speaking allegorically of different virtues. Paul’s description of “the armour of God” is clearly an influence for the poem.

    Posted: 18 September 2019

  • Feet Shod by Mark D. Bennion

    Feet Shod

    ———-Ephesians 6:15

    Shoes laced up as if it’s the first time you’ve done so,
    leather and synthetics suffering your soles.

    Toes wiggle around to see what room is available
    and then a quick securing of knots—

    twins yawn in their blankets, ancestral phrases whispered
    in morning light, shades of quiet anticipate breeze or storm.

    Just a moment of balance, then ballast settles in
    against the barbs that may or may not come

    to knock you sidelong or push you off such a narrow,
    level path, even when you speak armistice,

    goodwill, peace, the kind that offers a coat
    to the soldier accusing you of heresy, the kind

    that bids serene elation—silent and jubilant—
    causing you to rise amid threats

    wheeling about your helmet, breastplate, and shield. No fear,
    now, even though you know what it means to stand.

    Mark D. Bennion is professor of English at BYU-Idaho. His poetry collections include Psalm & Selah (2009, Bentley Enterprises) and Forsythia (2013, Aldrich Press). His poems have appeared in The Cresset, Dappled Things, The Penwood Review, Spiritus, Windhover, and other literary journals. He lives with his wife and their five children in the Upper Snake River Valley.

    Posted: 10 September 2019

  • Conductor by Mike Bonikowsky

    Conductor

    When it comes down, it comes down
    Out of the dark heart of the nimbus
    I can never see it coming,
    Until I can see nothing else.

    It finds my outstretched fingers
    Travels down my reaching arms
    To turn my bones to filaments
    And makes my heart to burn.

    I should be obliterated
    Made so mortal a conductor
    Of so furious a light
    But he grounded me before he struck

    And being struck, I glow.

    Mike Bonikowsky is a professional caregiver and unprofessional stay-at-home dad. His poems have appeared in Love Is Moving, Ekstasis, Nations Magazine, and the Journal of Disability and Religion. In 2017 he released his chapbook Cormorant Lord and Other Poems. He lives in Melancthon Township, Ontario, with his wife and two small children. “Conductor” comes from Ephesians 3:17-19.

    Posted: 04 September 2019

  • At Table by Brad Davis

    At Table

    Infinitesimal and of no consequence
    but for the daft valuation of divine love —

    by whom a body is made no larger,
    no more visible from the ridge opposite,

    yet through whom a body is seated
    in the heavenlies, where — this, a mystery —

    it offers no service at that high table.
    And so a body is free of need to set for itself

    a place at any earthly table, free indeed
    to stand aside and, in the grace of

    such a love, wait on all reclined around it.
    Which is, of course, absurd — the very

    idea of transcending value — even desperate.
    To the praise of God: a body, nonsensical.

    Brad Davis is the author of eight collections, including Still Working It Out (Poiema Poetry Series) and is the Poetry Editor for The Mockingbird. He and his wife now live in Putnam, Connecticut. His poems have appeared in such journals as Poetry, Image, Paris Review, Ruminate, Connecticut Review, and Spiritus, and online at VerseDaily and Kingdom Poets. This poem was inspired by Ephesians 2:6.

    Posted: 28 August 2019

  • Longsuffering by John Poch

    Longsuffering

    The prisoner wants the only window’s
    horizontal iron bars to rust, the raindrops
    strung before the gray day after rain,
    these unspendable coins purchasing
    light and air, these upside-down opals
    lined up like the pure eyes of guards
    who have never witnessed battle.
    The sun comes through, and his mind drifts
    to some painter studying, tracing shadows
    of outdoor plants on a piece of paper.

    Outside, little piles of dirt or ash
    may seem the only audience, but leaves
    break forth from them in time, little proverbs
    with their green and silver sides.
    For example—The fear of the Lord
    is the beginning of wisdom.
    On a bench near the wall listening
    for the beauty in slow truth, a book
    open to a beautiful sentence
    almost sings of freedom
    the same way the prisoner used to gentle
    his horse, repeating her name, stroking
    her silky ears because, after all,
    he made her who she is, didn’t he?

    John Poch is the author six collections of poetry, two which were published this year: Texases (WordFarm) and Between Two Rivers (TTU Press—with photographer Jerod Foster). His work has been published in Poetry, Paris Review, the Nation, Yale Review, and other journals. He teaches at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. This poem first appeared in Image.

    Posted: 21 August 2019

  • The Ephesians Declaration by Emmanuel Chukwuebuka Akaolisa

    The Ephesians Declaration

    To the divine family
    Bonded by love’s gracious eternal power and wisdom
    How blessed are you, shall you ask why

    See how you are drawn (out) by grace
    From darkness and doom
    Because you hold it at appearance, at sight
    Hold it still
    Hold it in meekness and reverence
    By the voiceful tide of the precious blood
    You will never sink

    By the mystery of the lamb
    You are brought into the fold
    Look on and live
    The kingdom is not for you alone
    Love!
    Don’t grope and groan in the selfish dark
    Let us keep on the light of charity

    And for battles without,
    Your king is the greatest
    Stay and walk with him
    You will not go down forever

    Emmanuel Chukwuebuka Akaolisa, is an Igbo by tribe who resides in Kaduna state in northern Nigeria. He has a BSc in political science and a Masters in International Affairs and Diplomacy, both from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna. Although he wants to resume his studies, local violence has been a problem — including having his place of business burned. He self-published Sometimes a Poet and the Peace of Wisdom in 2015.

    Posted: 14 August 2019

  • Morning Liturgy by Dan Baker

    Morning Liturgy

    Good morning again,
    child of God.
    Beloved of the Father,
    as in the Son.
    Wholly lived in holy hope,
    weariness undone.
    Unfinished, re-created,
    crushed, crashed-crimson,
    affliction abated.
    Sustained assuagement,
    inspirited allayment,
    trust-sown: persuaded.
    Worship-rested,
    wreck-ready yet washed
    in dawn’s drawn animation.

    Good morning, good morning.
    Let light lay large upon your face.
    May failure focus the works
    of your hands-feet-heart-mind.
    Little children, dear friends,
    the last hour is here.
    Escape the choke-hold of night.
    Hold fast terminal healing,
    cling to love incomprehensible, unyielding.
    Lowly transcendence,
    sordid modesty,
    redeemed incitement
    of radiant coronation.

    Consecrated illumination!
    Sanctified sunrise in
    abject approbation!
    Daybreak fulfills
    twilight’s renunciation.
    Night recedent.
    Silent lands baptised in gold.
    Awaken, forebear sleep, rise up.
    Good morning, again.
    Dan Baker’s poetry has appeared in Altarwork, Portage Magazine, and Tipton Poetry Journal. He is a regular contributor to the film criticism site CinemaFaith.com. He grew up among the cornfields of rural Wisconsin, but now lives with his family in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighbourhood. This poem was inspired by Ephesians 5:8-14.

    Posted: 07 August 2019

  • The Showing by Margo Swiss

    The Showing

    ———-Ephesians 5:14

    From a dead sleep—-I turned
    at three o’clock—-when

    You showed me—-your manly heart
    how bold—-how brave—-it beat

    amorous as any other
    lover’s—-its rise and fall

    that swelling surge of—-Love-
    blood pumped—-burning clean through

    arteries and veins—-till
    every cell sang—-breathlessly

    exposed—-I asked You—-then aloud
    come Lord

    and you came—-so sharply
    I cried out—-in praise

    to You
    in me.

    Margo Swiss teaches English and Creative Writing at York University. Her books include: The Hatching of the Heart (2015, Poiema Poetry Series) and the anthology, Poetry As Liturgy (2007, The St, Thomas Poetry Series). She and her husband, David Kent, live in Toronto.

    Posted: 31 July 2019

  • As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Gerard Manley Hopkins

    As Kingfishers Catch Fire

    As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
    As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
    Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
    Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
    Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
    Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
    Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
    Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.

    I say móre: the just man justices;
    Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
    Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —
    Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
    Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
    To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

    Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844—1889) is one of the 19th century’s most influential poets. In this sonnet, Hopkins reflects on how creation lives according to God’s desire, but that God works out his justice and grace in redeemed people as their wills merge with God’s will. Two of the passages Hopkins had been reflecting on in this are Ephesians 3:16-19, and Ephesians 2:10.

    Posted: 24 July 2019

  • By Grace Are Ye Saved by Paul J. Willis

    By Grace Are Ye Saved

    It’s a Saturday. I am practicing scales on the piano
    when the doorbell rings—and I’m glad
    to have a reason to stop. A huddle of strangers,
    all in black, looms through the panel of wavy glass.

    “Mom?” I call. She limps from the kitchen,
    opens the door, stands firm. “Good morning,”
    they say, chorus-like, men and women—skirts, ties.
    “Are you sure of your salvation when the end cometh?”

    says one of the men. He holds out what looks to me
    like a comic book. The Watchtower. My mother recoils.
    “May we come inside?” says one of the women.
    My mother keeps hold of the door. “I’m sorry,” she says.

    And then, like the girl she was in Sunday School,
    rattling off her memory verse: “For by grace are ye saved
    through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Her face has gone

    a little red. “Ephesians 2:8-9,” she adds apologetically.
    And she quietly shuts the door in their faces. She turns
    to me then—me, watching from the piano bench. She is
    trembling. And I know that, somehow, I have been saved.

    Paul J. Willis is the author of six poetry collections, including Say This Prayer Into The Past (2013, Poiema Poetry Series) and Little Rhymes For Lowly Plants (2019, White Violet Press). He has been a professor at Westmont College for thirty years, and is the former Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara, California.

    Posted: 17 July 2019

  • Where Is Ephesus? Where, the Ephesians? by Maryanne Hannan

    Where Is Ephesus? Where, the Ephesians?

    (To ‘αγιοις, sanctis, the Holy Ones at Ephesus)

    Keep in mind always the riches of glory
    ———-his inheritance among the holy ones

    Things to know before you go
    How hot it is—–How little shade—–Challenging
    For the differently abled—–Watch uneven stone surfaces

    For he is our peace making all peoples one
    ———-breaking down the walls of enmity

    A must-see for history and archaeology buffs
    UNESCO wonder—–World Heritage site
    Rise and demise of cultures—–Diorama in real time

    When the plan of mystery is brought to light
    ———-that which has been hidden from ages past

    Here, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
    Temple of Artemis—–Even pillaging Xerxes had mercy
    Look for the single column which remains—–Rubble

    With the armor of God, hold your ground, stand fast
    ———-your feet shod in readiness for peace

    A city century-challenged to save its silt-filled harbor
    Dredging—–Building—–Moving
    A non-city now—–Eight kilometers to the sea

    Maryanne Hannan has published poems in many journals and anthologies, including Windhover, Cresset, Christianity and Literature, and The World Is Charged: Poetic Engagements with Gerard Manley Hopkins. A former Latin teacher, she lives in upstate New York. “Where Is Ephesus? Where, the Ephesians?” emerged from a tourist visit to Ephesus many years ago. Her book Rocking like It’s All Intermezzo: 21st Century Psalms Responsorials will soon appear from Resource Publications.

    Posted: 10 July 2019

  • The Word by Bill McCloud

    The Word

    My father was one of just a
    few white ministers in northern
    Oklahoma in the sixties willing
    to preach in Black churches to
    even go inside Black churches

    It gave him joy on top of joy
    The Word he said The Word
    is what we need wherever we
    are and whoever we’re with
    The Word is all we need

    His funeral in the mid-eighties
    was one of the largest in our town’s
    history and it was a diverse group of
    people who merged into a line of
    mourners and The Word was there

    Bill McCloud finds many connections between his poem and Ephesians (1:10; 2:14; 4:5; 4:25; and 6:24). In 2017 The Smell of the Light, his poetry collection dealing with his own first-hand experience of the Vietnam War, appeared from Balkan Press. He teaches U.S. History at Rogers State University and lives in Pryor, Oklahoma.

    Posted: 03 July 2019

  • Ephesians with Coffee by Emma Kemp

    Ephesians with Coffee

    The unsearchable riches of Christ… Ephesians 3:8

    This letter; this truth packed fine and tight
    like a new brick of coffee in the morning.
    A pause on the edge. A deep, pacifying breath.

    A decision. To move in
    an incision, an awkward tear,
    grit showered in every direction.

    Such truth, such depth, such wild,
    uncountable grains; such unruly
    shower of sparks to set us reeling.

    This is truth unsearchable. Though
    we are swimming in it, we cannot grasp it;
    it eludes us and slips through our fingers.

    Yet. Everything that is illuminated
    becomes a light. Pause again,
    regather scattered grains to a heap,

    pack down. Let crystal clear water
    filter through, cup the perfumed stream.
    It is enough to know there is glory, and breathe.

    Emma Kemp lives and writes in Coventry, England, where she is active in the local poetry scene. She won the 2018 Theatre Absolute Pillar Poetry competition with her poem Phoenix, a call to action about the choice between the collapse and redemption of a city. Her work tends to focus on the natural world and finding hope in dark places.

    Posted: 26 June 2019

  • Jesus, The Very Thought Of Thee by Bernard of Clairvaux

    Jesus, The Very Thought of Thee

    Jesus, the very thought of thee
    with sweetness fills the breast;
    but sweeter far thy face to see,
    and in thy presence rest.

    O hope of every contrite heart,
    O joy of all the meek,
    to those who fall, how kind thou art!
    How good to those who seek!

    But what to those who find? Ah, this
    nor tongue nor pen can show;
    the love of Jesus, what it is,
    none but his loved ones know.

    Jesus, our only joy be thou,
    as thou our prize wilt be;
    Jesus, be thou our glory now,
    and through eternity.

    This hymn is believed to have been written by Bernard of Clairvaux (1090—1153), and relates to Ephesians 3:19 — “and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” The hymn was translated by Edward Caswall. For more information, and a fifteen stanza version of this poem, visit http://kingdompoets.blogspot.com/2015/11/bernard-of-clairvaux.html

    Posted: 19 June 2019

  • Husbands by Michael Stalcup

    Husbands

    What if, instead of focusing our thoughts
    upon the speck that’s in our sister’s eye,
    teaching “submit,” we do what Jesus taught?
    Submit ourselves to Scripture—dare to climb
    that Everest: “Husbands, love your wives as Christ
    has loved the church.”
    Men, stop and linger there
    before his love, before his sacrifice,
    his dreams laid down, his agonizing prayer.
    He, worthy of all worship, washed our feet.
    He, never wrong, yet chose the way of loss.
    He, King of Kings, embraced humility,
    gave up his rights—submitted to the cross.
    He modeled how we men should lead: he died.
    The greatest is a servant to his bride.

    Michael Stalcup is a campus missionary in Bangkok, Thailand, who serves with Thai Christian Students. His poems have appeared in Ekstasis Magazine, Faithfully Magazine, Inheritance Magazine, Poets Reading the News, and Visible Poetry Project. You can find more of his poetry at www.michaelstalcup.com. He and his wife have three young children.

    Posted: 12 June 2019

  • The Shard Lodged Under A Rib by Susan Cowger

    The Shard Lodged Under A Rib

    Ephesians 2:22 — In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

    ———-Dear God
    I assume a lodging has been hollowed out
    ———-For you
    Behind breastbone or lung
    ———-A grotto
    ———-Where collarbones meet
    ———-Pointing toward
    An ancient and forgotten chamber of the heart
    ———-A haven for the Ghost himself
    ———-My God
    Could it be
    ———-A boat
    ———-In all this blood
    Riding the torrent that moves to save
    ———-Tendon and gristle
    ———-Gliding guiding the squall
    Of doubt and argument
    ———-Where the two sides of my face leak vowels
    ———-Curdled and peevish
    When I call to you and hear
    ———-Gibberish
    ———-It’s so hard to know
    How you get around
    ———-Emptiness that is full
    ———-Of snot and pride
    You of all things
    ———-Comingling
    ———-Shame and…

    The prayer ends here
    ———-Eyes flicker open
    ———-Then close

    To what can never be known
    ———-Small ripples
    ———-Dance down the spine

    Susan Cowger of Cheney, Washington, is the author of the poetry chapbook Scarab Hiding from Finishing Line Press. She also received honorable mention in The MacGuffin 2015 National Poet Hunt Contest. She is one of the founding editors of Rock & Sling. Her poetry has been selected for In A Strange Land: Introducing Ten Kingdom Poets (Poiema Poetry Series).

    Posted: 05 June 2019

  • Rich in Mercy by Theresa Monteiro

    Rich in Mercy

    The gift of the Son of Man is free.
    Salvation springs up around our feet,
    given without our asking,
    growing though we’re not deserving,
    sprouting like grain from the earth.
    The harvest of every man’s land, this grace,
    pushes up through soil like golden braids—
    bread of life, for you.

    But my brethren:
    You must pick it up.
    You must bend your knees,
    fall to the ground, reap what is free,
    take redemption into your hands,
    thresh it, grind it, bake it, bless it.
    This is heavy work, but it is good work.

    Theresa Monteiro is a student in the M.F.A. program at the University of New Hampshire. She has had poems published in Good Fat Poetry and Silver Needle Press. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and six children. “Rich in Mercy” reflects on Ephesians 2:4.

    Posted: 29 May 2019

  • Resuscitation by Glen Soderholm

    Resuscitation

    But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when
    we were dead through our trespasses – made us alive together with Christ (Eph. 2: 4 – 5a)

    It’s difficult when others don’t know you are dead,
    —–for they might treat you differently if they did:
    perhaps a slight easing of the expectations
    —–around lateness and poor attendance,
    ———-not to mention personal grooming;
    a noticeable toning down of sarcasm over
    —–unfinished projects, or misplaced keys.

    And maybe, the admission
    —–your heart has stopped beating,
    is not just a poor excuse
    —–to avoid scraping egg off the plate,
    ———-or practicing minor scales,
    but has freed you to gasp, slack-jawed, at love
    —–surging from the lungs of God.

    Glen Soderholm is pastor of Two Rivers Church a church plant in downtown Guelph, Ontario. He is a singer/songwriter/recording artist who also directs Moveable Feast Resources, an organization that offers encouragement to the church in the areas of worship and missional church. He is married to Sharon and has two daughters Danielle and Julia.

    Posted: 22 May 2019

  • Full Flower Moon by Julie L. Moore

    Full Flower Moon

    The moon tonight smells like linen,
    clean & pressed, spreading
    its blue fabric over not just May’s fields

    but the willow by the pond,
    the hens in the one-window coop,
    the Lab on the lawn,

    poking her nose into the myrtle.
    The sky tastes like a mug of tea,
    warm & smooth with cream,

    served at a welcoming table.
    Should God suddenly speak,
    the phlox would not be flummoxed

    or the red-tailed fox baffled.
    After all, green already
    pulses through everything,

    its rhythm in sync with this full
    flower moon & the worm
    below, writing a new word in dirt.

    Would it really be so strange
    if the still, small voice broke open
    like a bulb beneath the earth,

    then aired something sensible
    as the strong stem lifting high
    its lit lantern, signaling us

    to join in, do what we were made to do?

    Julie L. Moore is Professor of English at Taylor University. “Full Flower Moon” (one of the traditional names for May’s full moon) is from her most recent poetry collection Full Worm Moon (2018, Poiema Poetry Series). It is inspired by Ephesians 2:10 (as is the title of the poetry series!)

    Posted: 15 May 2019

  • I Sang in Darkness by John C. Mannone

    I Sang in Darkness

    —–On the occasion of a special birthday

    The bathroom light
    flickers out. I bathe
    in darkness, hot water
    spraying all over my body,
    my unclean skin. Steam
    engulfs me, my thoughts
    on the inside search
    for holy water. Baptized
    in darkness for so long
    before I felt the slant
    of light lavishly pour
    into my soul—
    but today I remember.

    ~~~

    I’m alone
    in a restaurant booth,
    but you are here
    so my heart
    is not troubled.

    I order a Pinot noir
    to toast to you,
    and the basket
    of bread on the table
    makes me remember
    your holy words.

    I lift my voice
    as I break
    bread, bless wine,
    thank you
    for your sacrifice.
    I sing in the light of praise,
    in shadows of the cross.

    John C. Mannone is the author of three poetry collections, including Flux Lines (2019, Celtic Cat Publishing), and is the president of the Chattanooga Writers’ Guild. He is a retired physics professor, living in Tennessee. This poem relates to Paul’s words in Ephesians 5:8.

    Posted: 08 May 2019

  • Astrophysics by Patricia L. Hamilton

    Astrophysics

    Eph. 4:10

    When Jesus ascended to heaven —
    his scruffy band staring skyward,
    slack-mouthed, crick-necked —

    did he corkscrew into a wormhole
    and Bigbang out the other end,
    Light in whom we see light,

    Morning Star,
    exploding into Godglory
    to fuse again with the Fatherforce

    with the propulsive power
    of a billion flaring supernovae
    flinging stardust

    across a million galaxies?
    Who says Love cannot be
    both particle and wave?

    Patricia L. Hamilton is a professor of English at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. She won the Rash Award in Poetry in both 2015 and 2017, and has received 3 Pushcart nominations. Her first collection, The Distance to Nightfall, was published by Main Street Rag (2014).

    Posted: 01 May 2019

  • God Moves In A Mysterious Way by William Cowper

    God Moves In A Mysterious Way

    God moves in a mysterious way
    His wonders to perform;
    He plants His footsteps in the sea
    And rides upon the storm.

    Deep in unfathomable mines
    Of never-failing skill
    He treasures up His bright designs
    And works His sovereign will.

    Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
    The clouds ye so much dread
    Are big with mercy and shall break
    In blessings on your head.

    Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
    But trust Him for His grace;
    Behind a frowning providence
    He hides a smiling face.

    His purposes will ripen fast,
    Unfolding every hour;
    The bud may have a bitter taste,
    But sweet will be the flower.

    Blind unbelief is sure to err
    And scan His work in vain;
    God is His own interpreter,
    And He will make it plain.

    William Cowper (1731—1800) is best known for the hymns he wrote, such as “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood.” His first poetry collection — Poems by William Cowper, of the Inner Temple — was published in 1782. This poem intertwines well with Ephesians 1:9 “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself…”

    Posted: 24 April 2019

  • The Plan by Amy L. George

    The Plan

    Ephesians 2:10

    In the beginning,

    his blueprint unfurled across the stars.
    He dreamed, then spoke life into the silence,
    and called it Good.

    His workshop full of fingerprints,
    he scripts names and dates with light,
    dictates plans for minutes and lifetimes.

    His breath calls cells to assemble.
    Each molecule pulsates with possibility.
    He measures the length of our days across his palm.

    He fashions our gifts as his tools,
    in the room of his thoughts of us
    that has no walls and no ceiling.

    As we live, he still crafts.
    He turns the clay within his fingers
    thoughtfully, deliberately,

    until the shape is just so.

    Until our eyes notice others.
    Until the heart can measure choice
    in the scale of the mind.

    Until we realize his work has been placed
    in our palms.

    Amy L. George is an English professor at Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas. Her poetry collections include The Stopping Places (2018), and Desideratum (2013) both from Finishing Line Press, and The Fragrance of Memory (2009, Amsterdam Press).

    Posted: 17 April 2019

  • Ephesians— To the Glory by Diane Glancy

    Ephesians— To the Glory

    Someone wrote them for me.
    But they are my letters.
    If not hand-writ by me— written by another through me.

    To the praise of the glory of his grace.——————————(Eph. 1:6,12,14)

    A letter to believers—
    that they would succumb to the grace I tell them of—
    that they might know the habitation of God— its breadth,
    length, depth, height.——————————————— ——–(Eph. 3:18)

    Christ descending and ascending————————————(Eph. 4:9)
    ordered with reason.

    A pleading is there— Awake——————————————–(Eph. 5:14)
    An admonition—
    that in the dispensation of the fullness of times
    he might gather together in one
    all things in Christ,
    both which are in heaven, and which are on earth.———–(Eph. 1:10)

    Pray the utterance might be given—
    that I may open my mouth boldly to make known
    the mystery of the gospel———————————————–(Eph. 6:19)
    to the praise of the glory of his grace.

    Diane Glancy has written extensively as a poet, novelist, playwright, and nonfiction writer. Her most recent book is the poetry collection The Book of Bearings — the most-recent title in the Poiema Poetry Series from Cascade Books. As a poet she has published twenty titles — including both chapbooks and full-length collections. Glancy has received many awards including a Minnesota Book Award, an American Book Award, the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, and an Oklahoma Book Award.

    Posted: 10 April 2019

  • Story of the One Man by Debbie Sawczak

    Story of the One Man (Ephesians 2:11-19)

    When I was a boy of thirteen
    they milled about the gate
    on the wall’s other side,
    their eyes cast down
    by our sidewise gaze
    as we set out for home after worship,
    Abba and me.

    One boy my age dared look me in the eye.
    His father had the lightened face of forgiven penitence
    and his murmured prayer in uncouth Latin syllables
    of caesars and soldiers
    had the earnest ring of reality
    I sometimes heard in my father’s.
    But I knew those lawless and uncircumcised,
    their longing notwithstanding,
    had God’s love less.
    You’ve no business here,
    I felt like saying;
    your unclean idol prayers will not be heard.
    But I only scowled and spit.
    He scuffed dung-flecked dust in our general direction
    with the toe of his sandal.

    No way that wall could fall,
    Abba had said,
    let alone be rebuilt in three days.

    But at thirty, at night on my bed,
    I knew.
    Not all the blood of bulls and turtledoves
    tithes
    recited psalms
    or prayers
    would erase that writ.

    That all seems like another, long-ago life.
    We worship now in a Temple not made by hands
    —One without a wall.
    Gaius and I are forty.
    In pale dawn
    on the Day of Remembering the Rising,
    we sit down side by side,
    sip wine,
    hand round hunks of holy bread
    and sing.

    Debbie Sawczak’s poems have appeared in Crux, Writual, the U.C. Review, McMaster Journal of Theology and Ministry, and in the anthology Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse. Debbie’s work as a bookseller and professional editor gives her additional pathways into the beloved and stimulating world of text. She and her husband live in Georgetown, Ontario; they have three adult sons. Her poetry has been selected for In A Strange Land: Introducing Ten Kingdom Poets (Poiema Poetry Series).

    Posted: 03 April 2019

  • Walking in Love by Martin Willits Jr

    Walking in Love

    (And) walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us… — Ephesians 5:1–2

    What would you do to walk in Christ’s steps?
    So many confront us on the way.
    Knock on doors until someone lets you in.

    What would you give up?
    Shed anger like a snake sheds its skin.
    Whatever remains will be a new song.

    How far would you travel?
    No one will toss palm leaves
    where you walk to cushion your feet.

    Who would you not love?
    Be a fisherman casting a net
    to find new friends.

    Are you ready to prostrate yourself?
    It is hard to walk in love.

    Martin Willitts Jr is the author of 24 chapbooks and 14 full-length collections including The Uncertain Lover (Dos Madres Press, 2018), and Home Coming Celebration (FutureCycle Press, 2019). He has won such awards as the 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Award, and the Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize, 2018. He is a poetry editor for Comstock Review.

    Posted: 27 March 2019

  • Detail of a Peacock by Jen Stewart Fueston

    Detail of a Peacock

    Nestling in the niche between the chapel’s crumbling
    arches, his long blue neck plucks nibbles of tessera.

    He wanders through mosaic parables like something risen
    out of time, wearing fashion all wrong for Byzantium—

    a jaunty tri-plume hat in an age of halos. You presume
    at first this must have been a gold-leaf sermon contra

    vanity, or like those tapestry-arrested unicorns, an
    attempt to tame our lusts of flesh. His sumptuous blue

    feathers with their knowing eyes seem destined
    for a harem girl’s accessory, so what are they doing here?

    What Augustine wrote at Carthage, though, unveils
    the peacock’s changing reputation, that before

    its current turn as vain pretender, or the empty suit,
    the Church discovered peacock flesh does not decay.

    So poke at any early Christian tomb and there
    they preen, depictions of life that does not die, the

    incorruption of brief bodies made eternal. How every
    year a feather’s molt returns brighter and more beautiful.

    This long-necked fellow settles into tessellation,
    his plumage not quite all unfurled

    so not to draw too much attention, but whispers that
    he’s hiding here for now, a creature caught

    in colored bits of glass, waiting till these ruins
    are restored to make his move.

    Jen Stewart Fueston has taught writing at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and in Hungary, Turkey, and Lithuania. “Detail of a Peacock,” which first appeared in The Cresset, draws on early church imagery, and echoes Ephesians 1:18, and 2:6 & 7. Her two chapbooks are: Visitations (2015) and Latch (2019, River Glass Books). Her poetry has been selected for In A Strange Land: Introducing Ten Kingdom Poets (Poiema Poetry Series).

    Posted: 20 March 2019

  • Prison by David C. Brown

    Prison

    They put Paul in a prison
    ———-And they clapped him in a chain;
    The devil thought, “I’ve got him,
    ———-And he’ll never serve again”.
    Did Paul become despondent
    ———-Or did he make a fuss?
    He just sat and wrote the epistle
    ———-To the saints in Ephesus.

    David C. Brown was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and has lived there or in its neighbourhood most of his life. He has published privately through www.lulu.com, and on his blog, https://dcbverse.blogspot.com/ . He has been writing verse in varying styles for about fifty years now, while working as a minor civil servant, trusting it is to the glory of God. He is fond of stravaiging in the Scottish hills.

    Posted: 13 March 2019

  • Sonnet XVI by John Donne

    Sonnet XVI

    Father, part of his double interest
    Unto thy kingdom, thy Son gives to me,
    His jointure in the knotty Trinity
    He keeps, and gives to me his death’s conquest.
    This Lamb, whose death, with life the world hath blessed,
    Was from the world’s beginning slain, and he
    Hath made two wills, which with the legacy
    Of his and thy kingdom, do thy sons invest.
    Yet such are thy laws, that men argue yet
    Whether a man those statutes can fulfill;
    None doth, but thy all-healing grace and Spirit
    Revive again what law and letter kill.
    Thy law’s abridgement, and thy last command
    Is all but love; oh let that last will stand!

    John Donne (1572—1631) is perhaps the most influential Christian poets of the 17 century. He was dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London for the last decade of his life. This poem — one of his Holy Sonnets — rejoices in the central Biblical truth, that God gives us all things; every spiritual blessing in Christ (Romans 8:32; Ephesians 1:3).

    Posted: 06 March 2019

  • Dawning by Peter Kazmaier

    Dawning

    He came into my home
    Not as a storm
    Beating open doors and shutters
    But as gentle light
    Filtering around door frames
    ———-Piercing cracks
    ———-Lighting thinning curtains
    Illuminating my deep darkness
    Somber shadows stabbed
    With gentle light.

    Where light touched
    ———-Boards became boughs
    ———-Lintels leaves
    ———-Cellar posts rooted the earth
    New limbs reached for the sun
    ———-Upward, upward, upward.

    The Tree of Life.

    Peter Kazmaier of Mississauga, Ontario is primarily known as a novelist of Speculative Fiction – particularly as the author of The Halcyon Dislocation (2012) and its sequels. The third instalment in the cycle, Descent into Abaddon, is soon to appear in 2019. “Dawning” arose from his reading of Ephesians 3:14-19.

    Posted: 27 February 2019

  • A Poem About the Body of Christ by Zach Czaia

    A Poem About the Body of Christ

    My steps up the carpeted aisle
    feel like another man’s steps.
    The soft amen
    when the gentle old lady holds up the host
    feels like another man’s amen.
    The tongue is mine, though.
    I lay the host atop it.
    What I mean is that didn’t have to be me.
    It didn’t have to be me held and loved by my mother and father as a baby.
    It didn’t have to be me held and loved by Cristina next to me in the pew.
    But it was. It is.
    I thank you, God. I don’t understand.

    Cristina’s dark brown hair is tinged with red.
    When I watch it shot through with sunlight
    I can see the auburn glow.
    As she sleeps I touch her beautiful, broad nose.
    I lay the thoughts in my mind
    on the bed beside us. They sing softly
    for the breaking of the day.

    Zach Czaia is a poet, editor, and playwright living and working in Chicago. His first collection of poetry, Saint Paul Lives Here (In Minnesota) was published in 2015 with Wipf & Stock. His poems have appeared in such places as The Other Journal and Sojourners. This poem is drawn from reflections upon Ephesians 4:1-16.

    Posted: 20 February 2019

  • Voices Raised by Marjorie Maddox

    Voices Raised

    —–Ephesians 2:19

    No longer strangers and foreigners,
    we’re fellow citizens with the saints—

    native and naturalized jointly
    inhabitants of the ethereal,

    mercy in perpetuity—
    a claim so strange it rewrites

    all requirements of residency,
    every psyche’s by-laws.

    No longer partitioned off
    by sin, by regret, by self-righteousness;

    on reservations, on street corners;
    behind walls; behind barbed wire;

    behind preconceived Hallelujahs & Amens;
    flat blessings and fat curses

    of who, what, where, when, why
    we are; behind and for all, yes

    we sing acapella & instrumental,
    harmony & melody;

    we sing citizenship & pledge;
    throughout the holy household,

    with our off-key, shrill, and wobbly
    human notes, by God we sing!

    Marjorie Maddox is a professor of English at Loch Haven University in Pennsylvania, and director of the Creative Writing Program there. She is the author of several poetry collections — including most-recently True, False, None of the Above (Poiema Poetry Series) which is an Illumination Book Award Medalist.

    Posted: 13 February 2019

  • Tychicus by Jean Schreur

    Tychicus

    “Tychicus, dear brother, will tell you everything. I am sending him.” Ephesians 6:21

    I am the messenger
    He remembers the disciples
    The misty walk down Harbor Street
    The baptisms by the river
    “Grasp the width of the love”

    Paul the Apostle
    He knows by heart
    The columns of the lecture hall
    The miracle of handkerchief healing
    “Grasp the length of the love”

    To the saints
    His closed eyes and chained arms
    Still know the form of Artemis
    The shouts from the theater
    “Grasp the height of the love”

    Grace and peace
    He keeps in his heart
    The farewell by the ship
    The elders weeping and praying
    “Grasp the depth of the love”

    I am the messenger
    Paul the apostle
    To the saints
    Grace and peace
    “Grasp and know the love to be filled to fullness”

    Jean Schreur of Hudsonville, Michigan, enjoys writing about Biblical characters and places. Several poems were published in the recent anthology Adam, Eve, and the Riders of the Apocalypse (Poiema Poetry Series). She is a retired nurse and lives with her husband on the family celery farm.

    Posted: 06 February 2019

  • Dirty Jeans on a Kid in Ephesus by Bugg Davis

    Dirty Jeans on a Kid in Ephesus

    As a college student, did you learn to do laundry
    before you left home?

    As a college student did you realize you’d need
    a roll of quarters to get the job done?

    But quarters are hard to come by, so
    jeans are worn two, three, or a pressing four times.

    And by the fifth, going home is a better option
    than walking around smelling like ramen

    Spilled, stirred with sweat from your pick up
    basketball game, where you ripped a hole

    In the knee and bled a little. As a college student
    did you forget that there are people who

    Really do want to help you succeed; who
    want to help sew those holes in your

    Armor; bandage you;
    Feed you some meat and potatoes; and

    Help you wash that laundry?
    Just show up on Sunday and find out.

    Bugg Davis is originally from Mississippi where she completed a degree in English with a concentration in Philosophy. She has been published in a number of literary journals in the Southern United States. Recently, she moved to Hamilton, Ontario, to pursue a degree in Business and Marketing and is working as a Barista.

    Posted: 30 January 2019

  • Ephesians 4:30. Grieve Not the Holy Spirit, Etc. by George Herbert

    Ephesians 4:30. Grieve Not the Holy Spirit, Etc.

    And art thou grieved, sweet and sacred Dove,
    —————When I am sour,
    —————And cross thy love?
    Grieved for me? the God of strength and power
    —————Grieved for a worm, which when I tread,
    —————I pass away and leave it dead?

    Then weep mine eyes, the God of love doth grieve:
    —————Weep foolish heart,
    —————And weeping live:
    For death is dry as dust. Yet if ye part,
    —————End as the night, whose sable hue
    —————Your sins express; melt into dew.

    When saucy mirth shall knock or call at door,
    —————Cry out, Get hence,
    —————Or cry no more.
    Almighty God doth grieve, he puts on sense:
    —————I sin not to my grief alone,
    —————But to my God’s too; he doth groan.

    O take thy lute, and tune it to a strain,
    —————Which may with thee
    —————All day complain.
    There can no discord but in ceasing be.
    —————Marbles can weep; and surely strings
    —————More bowels have, than such hard things.

    Lord, I adjudge myself to tears and grief,
    —————Ev’n endless tears
    —————Without relief.
    If a clear spring for me no time forbears,
    —————But runs, although I be not dry;
    —————I am no Crystal, what shall I?

    Yet if I wail not still, since still to wail
    —————Nature denies;
    —————And flesh would fail,
    If my deserts were masters of mine eyes:
    —————Lord, pardon, for thy son makes good
    —————My want of tears with store of blood.

    George Herbert (1593—1633) is famous for his devotional poetry which was posthumously published in his book The Temple. He served as an Anglican Priest, rector of the small parish of St Andrews Church, Lower Bemerton, Salisbury. In 1632 he also wrote A Priest to the Temple, which expresses his ideals of what a pastor should be.

    Posted: 23 January 2019

  • The Unvoiceable Ever by Laurie Klein

    The Unvoiceable Ever

    Ephesians 2: 3-7

    Mercy, please note
    every ragged corona
    ——our prayers generate: the lone
    blue eye of a pilot light,
    the bonfire crowning a hill.

    Help us welcome the kindly
    eclipse and crumble of ego,
    ——knowing the planet of self
    winks out, only
    to rally. On again. Off . . .

    a pulse like the tide,
    prone to turn, the stoic
    ——glacier, called to calve—
    each tipping point seen, loved,
    unvoiceably nudged.

    Amid the long seam of night
    our desires are rogue stars,
    ——riddled with black holes,
    laden with dark matter,
    still unexplained.

    O Mercy with colored dust,
    re-belt us, all our hopes
    ——fixed anew, within your realm
    where nothing is lost,
    but all is covered.

    Laurie Klein of Deer Park, Washington, is the author of the poetry collection Where The Sky Opens (2015, Poiema Poetry Series). She calls herself, “a contemplative writer, musician and artist, who helps distracted, heart-weary people refocus on God in creative ways that spark hope and wholeness.”

    Posted: 16 January 2019

  • To Do More Than Hide by David Busuttil

    To Do More Than Hide

    Ephesians 4:24

    They
    Made coverings of leaves
    To sheath the bloody weapons they made of their bodies
    The garments hardly holding
    To soft skin
    Scraped ‘til red
    Ashamed of the defiled image they now carried in their carcasses
    Unable to cover it
    They hide
    Their father comes and finds
    And covers their skin in skin
    And they begin
    To be able to do more than hide
    Seed of Eve

    Second Adam
    Comes to me while I cower
    While naked
    Pathetically making insufficient coverings
    And he hands me my new self
    Made of himself
    And I put him on like wedding white
    And I am made able
    To do more than hide

    David J. Busuttil lives with his loving wife Katie in Hornby, Ontario. He won the 2017 In The Beginning Award from The Word Guild. His poetry regularly appears in the magazines Love Is Moving and Ekstasis. David is active in poetry performances in the Greater Toronto Area. His original play Within a Play launched at Georgetown Little Theatre in June of 2018.

    Posted: 09 January 2019

  • Epistle to the Ostensible Church by Scott Cairns

    Epistle to the Ostensible Church

    Isaak, latecomer to the way, sometime
    schmoozer among the diverse and sundry
    heretics, and admittedly a little judge-y,
    a little cranky concerning the ubiquitous,
    blithe, and widespread ignorance unduly
    tolerated among slacker Xians whose glib
    disinterest in the actual fullness of their
    own inheritance leaves me blinking, open
    mouthed—and increasingly cranky—as each
    week seems to bring yet another earnest
    attempt to reinvent the wheel. I write
    to all y’all who labor in your separate
    enclaves to puzzle out why your long-pared
    faith so seldom satisfies the enormity
    of your God-obsessive hunger. Peace.

    That we are all of us adopted and appallingly
    co-opted into the holiness of Jesus is a simple
    given, and a certainty. So relax. His good
    pleasure will surely accommodate at some
    future end of time our patent sloth and habitual
    dim wittedness. Meantime, have a stretch.
    The faith you hold is not so much a grip
    of propositions—nor even, nor especially
    that queer array of anxious propositions you
    have preferred to what the fathers taught; such
    a paring keeps the body blind, and deaf, more
    than a little dumb. A far more efficacious grip
    would be the one that gathers at the supper
    of the Body and the Blood. The cup is not
    so much a good idea, but is your living portion
    poured into your hungry gut, the animating
    spirit joined unto an elemental, and a bright
    reconstitution, joining your sad persons
    to the joy investing all and everything
    with theanthropic agency. Remember
    to love one another, and please forgive
    your cranky Isaak, whose love for you
    may yet prove—please God—incorruptible.

    Scott Cairns is the author of eight poetry collections, including: Slow Pilgrim: The Collected Poems (2015, Paraclete Press). He is Professor of Poetry and Director of the MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University. His poems have appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, and The McMaster Review of Theology and Ministry.

    Posted: 02 January 2019

  • God’s Lavishness by Sandra Duguid

    God’s Lavishness

    the unexpected snow
    clusters weighting
    the small evergreen branches
    like multiple hands extended, pressed
    organ keyboards, Bach Cantatas—
    with orchestra, choir, rich-voiced
    soloists—a triplesauce on an entrée in a French
    restaurant on play-full
    Broadway, local bookstores,
    cafes, all manner
    of things—like melons;
    the return of health,
    a friend’s assisting
    lepers in Uganda, the churches’ gathered
    shoe boxes of gifts delivered
    to children around the world,
    children themselves, parents’ love, the iconic
    snow-covered car in the driveway—
    and she, of all days, minus a brush—
    mysteriously cleaned off,
    a day’s dawn,
    a birth in dark Bethlehem,
    sheep afoot on a hillside, their tangled
    wool, Angel voice upon voice,
    the soft arrival
    of gold, myrrh, and frankincense,
    the Christ Child in a makeshift cradle
    asleep in his own Bright Nursery—
    Grace.

    Sandra Duguid is the author of Pails Scrubbed Silver (2013, North Star Press). Her poems have also appeared in the recent anthology Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse (Poiema Poetry Series). She and her husband live in New Jersey. This poem is drawn from several passages, including Ephesians 1:7-10.

    Posted: 26 December 2018

  • Daily Grace by Bonnie Beldan-Thomson

    Daily Grace

    Theologically and philosophically
    I rejoice in my salvation. But,
    practically speaking,
    I am carried
    by little salvations
    that buffer my bumps
    and colour my days…
    offer of a lift in driving rain,
    patch of shade in smothering sun,
    a ticket for Handel’s Messiah, reminder
    of a bountiful gift that gives anew,
    groceries on sale when I need them,
    sunset display, exuberant from my window
    is subdued the next street over, my private showing,
    the extra dimension of a thin place after
    a long time of walking by faith alone,
    flat back tire in my driveway, not on the highway,
    words of a Celtic prayer make
    translucent and malleable
    the granite wall of my cave,
    comfort of flame
    on a bitter winter night.

    Ears to hear,
    eyes to see,
    a heart to receive
    and give
    love.

    Bonnie Beldan-Thomson of Pickering, Ontario, wrote this poem in response to the opening verses of Ephesians. She is part of Adonai Creative Arts, through Forest Brook Community Church, where she helps facilitate The Writing Room — a place of spiritual care and creativity. She received the E.J. Pratt Medal in Poetry from the University of Toronto.

    Posted: 19 December 2018

  • My Father's Place by Vilma Blenman

    My Father’s Place

    Forgive me if I behave as if I’ve lived
    somewhere else, was someone else.
    I was
    an orphan at the gate, waiting, wondering
    until he came and chose this unlikely child
    gave me a new name, gave me gifts in profusion:
    hope to hold, peace to pass on, grace to grow
    See this signature?
    It’s his insignia, inheritance guaranteed.

    So now I live here, where largesse is norm
    where rooms open into other rooms,
    where colours celebrate shame’s downfall
    and hues of blue blanket grey:
    indigo, cobalt, azure
    reassure,
    a palette of reds speaks bold words:
    scarlet, crimson, carmine,
    all call, “No fear!”

    Yet, l do confess,
    love like this frightens me.
    How difficult to fathom its dimensions:
    the length, the breath, the depth, the height,
    it takes a lifetime to fill a fatherless heart
    full,
    to displace doubts, to replace the broken seal.
    How fortunate that we have forever…

    Vilma Blenman has published a poetry chapbook First Flight, plus stories and poems in the Canadian Hot Apple Cider anthology series. She lives with her family in Pickering, Ontario. “My Father’s Place” is influenced by Ephesians 3:18, but also Ephesians 1:13 and 14.

    Posted: 12 December 2018

  • Sundown by Ryan Apple

     Sundown

    Ephesians 4:26

    In pre-marriage counseling they told us to never
    let the sun go down on our anger.
    Whimsy notwithstanding,

    the warning seemed quaint
    since electricity has deemed our clocks
    the arbiters of time,

    and sailors now watch weather.com,
    having jettisoned their nursery rhymes
    about red skies.

    But in the wake of our disagreement,
    with the sky so overcast
    (I circled the same point;

    turning, you drifted off),
    I just stared into the clouded night, wondering
    how we might navigate to common ground.

    Ryan Apple is a Music Professor at Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing, Michigan — where he and his wife live with their six children. His guitar music is available at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/go/606553867. His poetry has appeared in the anthology Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse (2017, Cascade Books).

    Posted: 05 December 2018

  • The Architecture of Prayer by Mary Willis

    The Architecture of Prayer

    I hardly recall now the place, the view:
    stars burning light years off
    like tongues of fire snapping softly
    in a vacant house,
    winter branches with their hieroglyphs,
    birds clenched on twigs like frozen buds—
    all that language of the dispossessed.

    I know I’d picked up fuzzy suns
    of peaches, late glowing apples
    and shelved them in my darkest closet—
    seasoned proofs, potential food for afterthought?
    And long before of course
    I hunted out the spring,
    stored earliest recorded light,
    his words, which I drew on
    interceding for family or friends,
    but not too often, pulling back
    from draining the source
    with appeals for anything specific or routine . . .

    until I stumbled on a promise
    hidden there boldly in plain sight:
    exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.
    Extravagantly upsized, straining
    our reasonable dimensions of space and time?

    Not according to the blueprint of the mystery.
    Translated by the working hand,
    it clearly says our house is,
    its foundation laid,
    saving us from lostness.
    Windows, though yet to be set,
    are framed and open for intimate speech,
    silent music between ear and Ear.

    Mary Willis lives in London, Ontario. Her poems have appeared in Canadian Literature and other journals and anthologies. She has also published three chapbooks through Fiddlehead Poetry Books, including: Earth’s Only Light. “The Architecture of Prayer” is built on Ephesians 3:20.

    Posted: 28 November 2018

  • Sonnet From The Ephesians by Barbara Crooker

    Sonnet From The Ephesians

    ——-Ephesians 1:16

    I do not cease to give thanks, especially in November
    even as we lose an hour of light, drawing
    the curtains at 4:30 to keep out the cold. To remember
    you are dust seems appropriate now. Crows are cawing

    black elegies in the bare trees. Just past the Day of the Dead,
    and I’m thankful for every friend who has blessed
    my life, gold coins in a wooden chest. Who said
    no man is an island? We’re all peninsulas, I guess,

    joined to the mainland, part of the shore. We’re the sticks
    in the bundle that can’t be broken. Even if
    it doesn’t seem that way, the bickering of politics,
    the blather on the nightly news. Maybe we speak in hieroglyphs,
    unclear, always missing the mark? So let me be plain.
    I’m grateful for the days of sun. I’m grateful for the rain.

    Barbara Crooker is the author of seven poetry collections. Her eighth, The Book of Kells, will appear from the Poiema Poetry Series early in 2019. She and her husband live in Fogelsville, Pennsylvania. Her poems have been featured many times on The Writer’s Almanac as read by Garrison Keillor.

    Posted: 21 November 2018

  • Adoption by James Tughan

    Adoption

    Not very many know what it’s like
    to be weightless, cut off from a home,
    any home of familiar welcoming,
    like Cheers, like the court of the Sanhedrin,
    like a synagogue in any Roman outpost,
    and perhaps even with the brothers of the Way
    who cannot let go of the finality
    of the dying cries of Stephen.

    Not many know what it’s like
    to be weightless, grasping for a foothold
    of decency and grace, in a mosh pit of gods
    and goddesses nastily scrambling about
    round and round on the circumference
    of perhaps a Greek vase, or a sad Roman copy
    which can’t really hide the humanness
    of engineered bullying from Rome.

    Not many know what it’s like
    to be weightless, hung out in space
    hung between heaven and earth, sold out
    by friends and foes, orphaned by everything
    that fathered you into this world
    save perhaps for wounds and a thorn
    now woven into certificates of adoption
    for children of immeasurable belonging.

    For Mark

    James Tughan has been called “one of the world’s foremost pastel artists.” He has served on the faculty of Tyndale University, Redeemer University, and Sheridan College. Even so, Tughan has immersed himself in course work at McMaster Divinity College. One of the many influences on his poem “Adoption” is Ephesians 1:5.

    Posted: 14 November 2018

  • The Misuse of Scripture by Daniel Klawitter

    The Misuse of Scripture

    ——-So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the
    ——-truth to our neighbors,
    ——-for we are members of one another.
    ——-–Ephesians 4:25

    The truth is, neighbor, your lawn is looking rather shabby.
    (I tell you this in a spirit of Christian kindness.)
    And yesterday you seemed a little crabby:
    (Love may be blind, but that’s different than blindness.)

    So, let us shun falsehood and speak the truth:
    I see your sins and…Joshua judges Ruth.
    I stand firm in faith and shall not be budged.
    And if you judge me…ye shall be judged.

    Daniel Klawitter of Denver, Colorado has published three full-length poetry collections – most recently Quiet Insurrections (2018, White Violet Press). His children’s poetry chapbook Put On Your Silly Pants received an honourable mention in the 2017 Dragonfly Book Awards for Children’s Poetry.

    Posted: 07 November 2018

  • Ephesus by Sarah Klassen

    Ephesus

    ——-To everyone who conquers
    ——-I will give permission to eat from the tree of life
    ——-that is in the paradise of God. Rev.2:7.

    Now as then we are dismayed when business falters,
    baffled when rains fail,
    alarmed when another riot erupts in our city.

    Now as then we have among us the hungry. Also
    the scrupulous. We have those
    who regularly bow and bend and those who don’t.

    We know a house must have a sure foundation,
    a solid cornerstone. We know, though we keep building them,
    dividing walls must fall. How else

    can the stranger and the alien enter? We do not know
    why the lovely bird of peace nests over there
    while here at home the vultures flap their hostile wings.

    Now as then noise streams from the market place,
    applause from the crowded theatre.
    The hungry lions roar. On quiet evenings

    you can hear, above the drone of time,
    the whisper of leaves
    on the tree of life.

    Sarah Klassen is a Winnipeg-based writer who’s won numerous awards, including The Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry for her collection A Curious Beatitude. Her eighth and most-recent collection is Monstrance (2012, Turnstone Press). Her poems have appeared in many journals, including The McMaster Journal of Theology & Ministry.

    Posted: 31 October 2018

  • The Ordering of Time by Nicholas Samaras

    The Ordering of Time

    The road to Ephesus was flat and open-aired,
    a lined mixture of blue and earth, mounded cairns
    rising from the open fields, like bee-hives a man

    could walk into and disappear. And why travel there
    but for a heritage of history? Native people still
    tilling the biblical earth, airing their laundry on lines,

    the empty forms of their bodies waving in air.
    Land by itself always appears primitive
    until we encounter on the threaded paths there

    a rise of buildings, an ordering of the times
    when they are complete. We pilgrimage to Ephesus
    to witness the past and measure the present.

    For a place to sense the saints of perseverance,
    we leave our too-civilised countries to experience
    a land, a field, a time in its journey. We leave our lives

    and go to read the earth, to remember any small heritage
    of who came before us and who long brought us here.
    The dusty road to Ephesus was a boat, a bus,

    and walking, was blue hours of water and earth,
    was winding and tiring, but worth the beautiful ruins,
    a true word, a lasting witness, travel the first-fruit

    of our heritage. In the ancient shell of Ephesus,
    beyond the resting amphitheater, the cell of Saint Paul,
    the best building standing remains the whitened library.

    Nicholas Samaras is the author of two poetry collections – Hands of the Saddlemaker, which won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award, and the extensive American Psalm, World Psalm (2014, Ashland Poetry Press) which contains 150 poems to emulate the Biblical psalms. His poetry also appears in The Turning Aside: The Kingdom Poets Book of Contemporary Christian Poetry. He lives with his family in West Nyack, New York.

    Posted: 24 October 2018

  • He Also Descended by Laurel Eshelman

    He Also Descended

    On Albrecht Dürer’s woodcut, Christ Descending into Hell, from Ephesians 4

    Dürer’s gouge flings gates from hinges,
    stretches a lean arm to snap prisoners’ chains.
    He tastes pearwood dust,
    cuts a body, blood trickled out
    and stilled on Skull Hill,
    a living man whose standard rides
    the blaze from demon horns.

    We shuffle past the woodcut,
    hear a flapping overhead
    and smell smoke
    but miss the gates
    wide open
    the throng rushing out.

    Laurel Eshelman of Elizabeth, Illinois (population 700) works a few blocks from home with her husband at Eshelman Pottery. Her chapbook, The Red Mercy, was a semifinalist in the 2014 Palettes and Quills Chapbook Contest. She was one of the participants in D.S. Martin’s festival circle group at the Festival of Faith & Writing 2018, in Grand Rapids.

    Posted: 17 October 2018

  • Seating Plan by Neil Paul

    Seating Plan

    first day of school…
    ———–the bell rings,
    thirty children
    ———–rummage
    to find their seats,
    determined by the teacher’s
    ———–seating plan

    the twinkling of an eye.
    the trumpet sounds!

    and there,
    engraved by lightning laser
    on a clear white stone,
    I find my name
    and gladly take my seat
    among the galaxies.

    Neil Paul – of Caledonia, Ontario – is a retired English teacher who has been taking courses at McMaster Divinity College. I met him last year in Gus Konkel’s insightful class on the Psalms. He has self-published two books of verse. This poem was inspired by Ephesians 2:6.

    Posted: 10 October 2018

  • A Prisoner of Christ by Philip C. Kolin

    A Prisoner of Christ

    for Father Donald Francis Derivaux
    A Gethsemane monk, psalming
    an honorarium of prayer, work, plainsong,
    he interceded for those who fed
    on empty words from the kingdom of air.

    He shared raven’s bread with Merton
    and letters brined with tears over
    black souls shorn of dignity.
    But the sounds of Trappist silence
    contained too many echoes for him.

    He longed for the life away
    anchored in the most quiet dwelling–himself—
    moment by moment seeking eternity;
    he lived alone with the Alone

    until he was called to be a prisoner of Christ
    in a different kind of hermitage
    salving souls in cells at Parchman Penitentiary
    teaching unschooled monks in striped habits
    to sigh the name of Jesus.

    Philip C. Kolin is the Distinguished Professor of English (Emeritus) at the University of Southern Mississippi. The title of this poem alludes to Paul’s reference to himself as the prisoner of (or for) Christ (Eph. 3:1 and 4:1). This poem will be included in Kolin’s forthcoming poetry collection Reaching Forever (Poiema Poetry Series) which is edited by D.S. Martin.

    Posted: 03 October 2018

  • Approach With Boldness by Tania Runyan

    Approach With Boldness

                            —Yellowstone National Park
                            —Eph. 3:12

    We creak on boardwalks above geothermal pools—
    Black Opal, Morning Glory, Emerald Spring.
    Clear and bright as cups of Easter dye,
    they sputter and hiss to remind us that we stand
    atop a caldera heaving molten rock.

    Each path begins with the illustrated warning:
    a boy in a baseball cap breaks through the surface,
    parboiling his feet. I hear the story about the 9-year-old
    who lost himself in the steam and plunged into Crested Pool.
    They recovered just eight pounds of his body.

    Or the man who swan-dived into Celestine Pool
    after a yelping dog, emerging with blanched irises.
    That was dumb, he mumbled for his last words,
    skin peeling in sheets. Thousands of years ago
    the first hunter to wander into this basin

    must have thought he discovered a second sky
    breaking through the ground, a miracle of sorts,
    if he knew about those, radiating in the snow.
    He laughed, bent his face over the rising steam,
    and thought nothing of reaching in.

    This poem by Tania Runyan is from her poetry collection Second Sky (2013, Poiema Poetry Series), which is a book of poems inspired by the life and writings of the apostle Paul. Her new collection What Will Soon Take Place (2017, Paraclete Press) is inspired by the Book of Revelation. Her poems are also included in the anthology The Turning Aside: The Kingdom Poets Book of Contemporary Christian Poetry. She and her family live in northern Illinois.

    Posted: 26 September 2018

If you like what you see, and would like to submit a poem of your own to Poems for Ephesians, please contact D.S. Martin, MDC’s Poet-in-Residence: (martid17@mcmaster.ca).