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).

New posts appear on Wednesdays.

D.S. Martin is the Series Editor for the Poiema Poetry Series from Cascade Books. His most-recent book of poetry, Angelicus (2021), consists of poems written from the point-of-view of angels. Follow these links to his website www.dsmartin.ca and to Kingdom Poets his online resource of Christian poetry.

  • The Spirit of Prayer by John Bunyan

    The Spirit of Prayer

    Wouldst thou have that good, that blessed mind,
    That is so much to heavenly things inclin’d

    That it aloft will soar, and always be
    Contemplating on blest eternity.

    That mind that never thinks itself at rest,
    But when it knows it is for ever blest;

    That mind that can be here no more content,
    Than he that in the prison doth lament;

    That blessed mind that counts itself then free
    When it can at the throne with Jesus be,

    There to behold the mansions he prepares
    For such as be with him and his co-heirs.

    This mind is in the covenant of grace,
    And shall be theirs that truly seek his face.

    John Bunyan (1628—1688), in this poem, echoes many truths from the Book of Ephesians — such as the gift of God’s grace (Eph.1:7) and that we are joint heirs with Christ (Eph. 3:6). He, of course, is best known as the author of The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678).

    Posted: 15 May 2024

  • A Life Singing Hymns by Steven Peterson

    A Life Singing Hymns

    ———-Ephesians 5:19-20

    Starting with Methodists thumping
    a pump organ wheezing from pumping:
    O for a thousand tongues to sing.

    Kneeling with Catholic friends,
    we rise at their mass near the end:
    Come, thou Almighty King.

    Skyward with African voices,
    a village of Christians rejoices:
    Tuapendula, which means Thank You.

    Swaying with Bible-church fervor,
    we lift hands to praise our preserver:
    Hallelujah, we adore you.

    Standing with Anglican British,
    amid smells and bells to the finish:
    Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go.

    Passing this valley of tears,
    I know what I’ll sing drawing near:
    Precious Lord, lead me home.

    Steven Peterson writes poems and plays in Chicago. His poems appear in The Christian Century, Dappled Things, First Things, and elsewhere. Several of his poems are in the anthology Taking Root in the Heart (2023, Paraclete Press).

    Posted: 01 May 2024

  • Abrahamic by Jordan Hilger

    Abrahamic

    I was born in the twilight of your waiting, a numb heart
    nicked by the stone knife of your homesick
    wrestling, clutching for a way back,
    haunted down every close and sunbleached alley
    by the desiderium, the hidden face
    after which your history yearns. Amid a people
    returning like doves to an off-white city pendent
    on the edge of trust, all my conscious powers of
    resistance failed suddenly, even my clenched fist
    in the shower, the bared skin I thought the ward of
    authenticity no god could brook.
    Graffiti on an electrical box transparently declared, I miss you,
    the amaranthine spray paint of an unmistakable witness.

    Mountains crested, gathered strength
    as I walked to the border with all I had
    slung over my shoulders, newly bereft of David’s
    mother tongue lyrics (the guards had taken my book),
    those cries from between cave walls: Let me bear the reproach,
    and let that be my honor. The desert sky ramified
    prismatic as an iris, and I lifted up my voice and wept on the rooftop,
    muezzin of a long-sought promise, citizen and son
    ————————–of an undreamt country.

    Jordan Hilger is a New Jersey poet. His poem “Abrahamic” came through readings of Ephesians 2:11-3:21, the mystery of Gentile inclusion in “the commonwealth of Israel” (2:12), but also draws from Abraham’s search by faith for a lasting country in Hebrews 11:8-16. He would particularly have us focus on Ephesians 2:19 —”Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” (NKJV)

    Posted: 17 April 2024

  • An Essay on Man by Alexander Pope

    from An Essay on Man (III)

    ———-Heaven from all creatures hides the book of fate,
    All but the page prescribed, their present state:
    From brutes what men, from men what spirits know:
    Or who could suffer being here below?
    The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed today,
    Had he thy reason, would he skip and play?
    Pleased to the last, he crops the flowery food,
    And licks the hand just raised to shed his blood.
    Oh blindness to the future! kindly given,
    That each may fill the circle marked by Heav’n:
    Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
    A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
    Atoms or systems into ruin hurled,
    And now a bubble burst, and now a world.
    ———-Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar;
    Wait the great teacher Death; and God adore!
    What future bliss, he gives not thee to know,
    But gives that hope to be thy blessing now.
    Hope springs eternal in the human breast:
    Man never is, but always to be blest:
    The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
    Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

    Alexander Pope (1688—1744) wrote his philosophical poem, An Essay on Man (1733) about the nature of the universe and man’s place in it, to — like Milton — “vindicate the ways of God to man…” This section on hope, partners well with Ephesians 1:12, 1:18, 2:12, and 4:4.

    Posted: 03 April 2024

  • Hymn XI by Marc Di Saverio

    Hymn XI

    O Three-Personned God,
    I unconditionally surrender from this world;
    I unconditionally surrender to your rule.
    I come to you as naked as a newly born;
    I come to you as helpless as a newly born;
    I pray you may help armour me
    Against the demons attacking me.
    O let my own desires be replaced by yours alone;
    O let my own desires be as empty as your tomb!
    O I now blind some demons with their
    own reflections beaming from my breast-plate!
    O I have long had foot-soles of wind,
    but now my feet are fitted in
    a readiness that’s tempoed by
    the gospel of peace, so
    no fiends can catch hold of me.
    O thank you for my water-shield of faith,
    Which snuffs the flaming arrows of my foes.
    O thank you for this helmet of Salvation,
    which force-fields ears from darkly seductions.
    O thank you for the sword of the Spirit
    I swing when speaking or singing the Word;
    the demons can’t bare the verses and chapters.
    I pray in the Spirit upon all occasions;
    I pray for your children who live on this earth.
    O now I sleep with ease inside the bed of my
    surrendering. O now I keenly pray inside
    the chapel of my fealty. O now I’ll never
    unshield myself of the armour you’ve imparted me.

    AMEN

    Marc Di Saverio is an Ontario poet, living in Hamilton. His books include Sanatorium Songs (2013, Palimpsest Press) Crito di Volta (2020, Guernica Editions) and Songs of My Surrenders (2023) also from Guernica. Hymn XI embraces Paul’s images from Ephesians 6:10-18.

    Posted: 20 March 2024

  • Dianoia by Matthew Pullar

    Dianoia

    That the eyes of your understanding may be lightened, that ye may know what the hope is of his calling, and what the riches of his glorious inheritance is in the Saints…
    (Ephesians 1:18, Geneva Bible)

    Before dinner my children play
    “Pretend Church”, a wild
    and varied game consisting
    of dress-ups, piano presets and snatches
    of half-remembered liturgy,
    improvised worship songs with
    key phrases scattered like
    a jazz singer’s scats: mighty!
    Saviour! Lord Jesus Christ!

    Faith at first is part
    instinct, part performance,
    an improvised trying-on-for-size, or
    a toddler testing out a new dress-up kit.
    But then – as mind enlarges to make
    space for growing truth,
    no longer an act; the words become
    not performative, more like breath,

    like the way,
    as a college student, I devoured Ephesians,
    absorbing Pauline clauses highlighter in hand
    inhaling every verb and adverb as though
    mind atrophied without it. This is you,
    it said. Now live. Decades gone,
    faith sometimes worn rice-paper-thin,
    while my children dance I take
    my old study Bible from the shelf and leaf
    its weathered, underlined pages. Welcome
    to church!
    my youngest shouts. Welcome.
    May the eyes of my heart be enlightened;
    may You highlight new life again.

    Matthew Pullar is the author of three books of poetry, including The Swelling Year, a sequence of poems for the church year. He is the 2013 winner of the Young Australian Christian Writer of the Year for his unpublished manuscript, Imperceptible Arms: A Memoir in Poems.

    Posted: 06 March 2024

  • The Year Ash Wednesday Fell on Saint Valentine’s Day by Desmond Kon

    The Year Ash Wednesday Fell on Saint Valentine’s Day

    Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.

    This is at the end of the two-page document they gave me years ago.
    It’s placed after the Act of Contrition. It can be used too, said too.
    It seems more comforting, but less interrogative of all my misgivings,
    all that needs washing away.

    I told the priest my godfather suggested weekly confession.
    That’s been his lifelong practice—I say practice; you say discipline,
    some say habit. [Lifelong since he made the decision to join The Work.]
    I told the priest that confession is palpably healing for me,
    and Mass after becomes so much lighter, brighter.

    +

    “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

    When I say this, I like the feeling—
    ————————–of first deciding to say it,
    ————————–then the feeling of saying it,
    ——————————————————–having said it,
    ————————–the feeling that comes after.

    +

    Saint Peter was sad that Jesus had to ask the question three times.

    Simon, son of John, do you love me?

    Saint Peter must have remembered the threefold denial.
    Just as the crow reminded him. Did he willingly make those denials,
    with full awareness of his decision? Even with Jesus letting him know,
    the prophecy already revealed? Does one recognize a prophecy as it
    unpeels its moment, or does the realization only happen after the fact?

    As plainly said as a matter of fact.

    ——————————————–An afterthought,
    ——————————————–like I keep saying these days.

    +

    [[[[[[[ How culpable is our culpability? ]]]]]]]

    +

    “Please remember—”

    “Bring us the palms you’ve kept all year—”

    “This is what Ash Wednesday looks like—”

    “This is what Saint Valentine’s Day looks like this year—”

    “No meat, no dispensation from fasting—”

    “I’ll imagine Saint Valentine’s relics in Dublin and Rome—”

    +

    [The priest at The Work said we crucify Christ still, to this day.]
    [That’s why we cry “Crucify, Crucify, Crucify” in the Passion Play.]

    I avoid saying it,
    even for the iterative drama, the enactment.

    ————————–Some say it once,
    ——————————————-then stop,
    ————————–as if in sudden realization
    ————————–of what it means.

    +

    “This is what Ash Wednesday looks like on Saint Valentine’s—”

    “People walking around with ash on their foreheads—”

    “Ours so well-drawn, pressed deep into skin, as if inscribed—”

    “It’s like ink on skin, this heavy black—”

    “Black as coal, these ashes from last year’s Palm Sunday Mass—”

    “Imagine the shape of the cross on so many foreheads—”

    “Imagine the shape of the cross, all across town—”

    +

    [The priest at The Work said we crucify Christ, because we sin still.]

    I say it now, muttered under my breath, to acknowledge our culpability.

    —————————————————–How guilt-smeared
    —————————————————–our collective culpability.

    I told the priest how hard it was to live by the eight Beatitudes each day.
    Every confession, there are some of the same sins, like a stubborn stain.
    This, not the kind of iteration—of aesthetic—I used to like. It is not
    the sort of story rhythm I’d like to remember. I remember to confess
    the sins I can’t remember, that these have to be washed away too.

    It seems nowadays, I wait for the pews to empty. I sit for about an hour more.
    I take out the prayer leaflet, A Quarter Hour Before the Blessed Sacrament,
    and contemplate each item in the five small pages. Sometimes, I start with
    the rosary first, which also takes a quarter hour. Then, I rise and walk
    to the tabernacle. I kneel on the marble, and bring my forehead to the floor.

    ——————————————-Three times,
    ————————————————————-and every time,
    ——————————————-the same love profession.

    ——————————————-That’s what love looks like,
    ———————————————————————talking to Jesus
    ———————————————————————in the tabernacle.

    Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.

    Then the keys, then the rock,
    ————————–given to the loving disciple,
    ————————–the one who loved him most.

    —————-Then,
    —————-Jesus said to Saint Peter:

    ——————————————-“Feed my sheep.”

    Desmond Kon is the Singapore author of eighteen books, including his memoir The Good Day I Died and creative guided journal Depth of Field, both from Penguin Random House. He teaches creative writing at Nanyang Technological University, and can be found at: desmondkon.com. This poem is inspired by Ephesians 2:4-5.

    Posted: 14 February 2024

  • Sunset by Nellie deVries

    Sunset

    Ephesians 4:26

    Sand singing beneath her feet,
    she meant to pose with the setting sun
    cupped in the palm of her hand.

    Gulls stood silent
    at the waveline,
    bickering done for the day.

    She raised her hand
    to hold up the glowing orb
    but his camera angle was always off.

    There’s no stopping sun’s setting;
    anger is the variable
    to be washed out like footprints in sand.

    Gulls, too, had been waiting.
    They rise in unison at sunset—
    fading commas in silhouette.

    Nellie deVries is a retired nurse, living in Michigan. Her poems have appeared in such places as Peninsula Poets, The 55 Project, Exhale, Heart of Flesh, and in the anthologies Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse; and Michigan Roots.

    Posted: 07 February 2024

  • The Grasshopper Heart by Andrew Lansdown

    The Grasshopper Heart

    the Father, from whom every fatherhood
    in heaven and on earth is named – Ephesians 3:14-15

    That man with the cowboy hat and tan and tattoos
    is holding his little white-skinned daughter
    very gently in the shallow water. Now he is
    zooming her along, but not too quickly
    for fear of her fear. He tosses her up,
    catches and hugs her, holds in check
    the fierce tenderness that craves to crush her.
    Her father. His wholly holy love. He is smiling
    and I know his heart is like a grasshopper—
    leaping and landing spring-loaded to leap again.

    Andrew Lansdown is the author of 15 poetry books; this poem appears in his book, Abundance: New & Selected Poems (2020, Poiema/Cascade). He and his wife live in Perth, Australia; they have five adult children.

    Posted: 17 January 2024

  • The Man Who Stepped Out by Pamela Mordecai

    The Man Who Stepped Out

    … who is over all and through all and in all…
    ————————————Ephesians 4:6

    I heard the story
    of a man who one
    day felt and saw

    a world of awe
    and let himself step in
    to sudden radiance

    it lit him
    and his children
    and the world

    the glow
    stayed all day
    and the next

    then
    he shut eyes
    against the light

    he’d glimpsed
    Elohim dancing
    giddy in sand and sea

    pervasive
    in each cell
    atomic in all things

    small stones
    blue air we shudder
    that he’s everywhere

    but that
    to him is mere
    save always care

    the story on
    a page drawing
    a man’s soft rage

    Pamela Mordecai is a Jamaican-born poet who lives in Toronto. Her A Fierce Green Place: New and Selected Poems appeared from New Directions in 2022.

    Posted: 03 January 2024

  • Holy and Blameless by Tania Runyan

    Holy and Blameless

    Eph. 1:4

    Before the world was made.
    Your nebula of breath.
    Yin-yangs of tadpole eggs
    frozen inside a star.

    I was just a dream, a single
    neuron firing. But there was
    something I wanted to say
    to you, something like

    I won’t be saved,
    my invisible fists rising.
    The world did not deserve
    my mercy, other that it was.

    You knew then
    that I would return, standing here
    at the kitchen sink:
    I can’t scrub a pan without you.

    Let there be light, you said,
    And I hid my face.
    I can see you,
    And you are good.

    Tania Runyan is the author of several poetry collections, including Second Sky (Poiema/Cascade) from which this poem comes. Her latest book is an autobiography, Making Peace With Paradise: an autobiography of a California girl published by T.S. Poetry Press.

    Posted: 20 December 2023

  • A House Like a Shawl by Laurie Klein

    A House Like a Shawl

    Of course, we must all
    unravel, as we gravely
    mouth the verbs of change,
    until ego resists no more
    than a garment,

    sloughed. May our souls,
    exposed, finally forgo
    shoring up gaps,
    as if we can somehow
    repair one blessèd thing. Maybe

    these closet selves, no more
    substantial than April air
    crocheted into a shawl,
    only need to be shouldered,
    held again to the breastbone.

    Ephesians 2: “[Y]ou too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

    Laurie Klein is the author of Where The Sky Opens (2015), and the forthcoming House of 49 Doors ― from which this poem is taken; both are part of the Poiema Poetry Series from Cascade Books.

    Posted: 06 December 2023

  • Each Step I Take is Like a Little Death by Rena Ong

    Each Step I Take is Like a Little Death

    The narrow path where sometimes I can skip
    can be the steep track of my weary trudge,
    where jutting roots and stones cause me to trip
    while bold mosquitoes follow for my blood.

    Each morning when I change my pus-stained bandage
    so blood won’t seep, infection creep and cause
    distress to excised flesh and increase damage
    to new emergent skin as old withdraws.

    My daily restoration, Spirit-kindled,
    a spark from dead wood , bears an inward flame
    to light my forward steps before they’ve dwindled
    my confidence, so now I can again

    with purpose, tread along the guided paths,
    reaching the promised mansion, home at last.

    Rena Ong is from England, yet has lived in Singapore for 37 years. Her poetry and other writing has appeared in Studio, Ekstasis, Proverse, The Englewood Review of Books, and A Given Grace. This poem arose from Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:22-24.

    Posted: 15 November 2023

  • Walking to Eternity by Philip C. Kolin

    Walking to Eternity

    ——-Ephesians 4:1-3; 17; 5:8

    The monks of Gethsemani Monastery
    avoid cold and vain stepping stones
    to eternity. Those inscribed with broken
    hearts, chiseled rose petals overshadowing
    locket long goodbyes, weeping angels.
    All for souls puffed up in finery and
    encased in their tarnished bronze boudoirs.

    But lain between sheets of soil,
    with only a cypress cross above.
    the monks are caressed in light
    even as their bodies lie unadorned,
    faces cowled and arms stripped,
    lest they enter eternity too worldly.

    Their sandaled feet walk east.

    Philip C. Kolin is Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus at the University of Southern Mississippi, and Emeritus Editor, of The Southern Quarterly. He has published 15 collections of poems including Reaching Forever (Poiema/Cascade, 2019), Delta Tears (Main Street Rag, 2021), and forthcoming Black Trauma: Resistance Poems about Black History (Third World Press, 2024).

    Posted: 01 November 2023

  • The New Self by Shane Schick

    The New Self

    “Put off your old self, which is corrupted
    by its deceitful desires . . . and to put on
    the new self, created to be like God.”
    – Ephesians 4:22-24

    The street, I eventually decide,
    is as good a dressing room as any.

    After another financial setback
    and a client who’s never happy

    I didn’t even feel embarrassed
    about the holes that had worn

    through my ideals, like when I
    pocketed coins someone dropped.

    The temptation to cut corners
    was loosed in me like a thread

    that, if pulled rather than cut,
    can unravel the entire sweater.

    Fortunately St. Paul’s Bloor St.
    keeps its chapel open at noon.

    There’s only me and two others,
    but we all sit in a naked silence.

    When my lunch hour has ended
    and I stand up, it’s not cold out

    but my resolve pulls together,
    like teeth on a zipper’s slider.

    I pass through the glass doors,
    fastening the promises I’ve made

    as if they were a series of snaps.
    Moving slowly along the sidewalk,

    nobody even notices how I
    wrap my fear of failure tighter

    around my waist, the cinching
    making me more aware of it

    but also a bit easier to carry.
    While waiting for the walk sign

    I wonder what other eyelets,
    buckles, pins, grommets or

    hook-and-loops I’ll need to
    figure out before I’ve done

    changing, and even then,
    how long it’s going to take

    to break all this in, until
    it finally feels like it fits.

    Shane Schick is a journalist and content marketer whose poems have been featured in Macrina Magazine, Ekstasis, Amethyst Review and many other publications. He lives with his wife, an Anglican priest, and their three children in Whitby, Ontario. ShaneSchick.com/poetry. Twitter: @ShaneSchick

    Posted: 18 October 2023

  • Ephesians by Trey Dunham

    from Ephesians [We Are Children]

    We are children
    Upon the sea
    Adrift
    In the swells
    The ebbs
    And flows
    The crests and valleys
    Of waves
    Tossing us
    The winds
    And salt spray
    Blinding us
    Infants
    Deceived
    And drowning
    The schemes
    Of the crafty
    The deceitful
    Rising like towers
    Above us
    Cresting
    Breaking
    Falling
    On our heads
    Filling our lungs
    Until by some grace
    And against all hope
    We are blown
    Onto some mysterious
    Shore

    And there
    We catch our breath
    The first ray of morning
    Warming our skin
    The largeness
    Of the world
    And us growing
    In it
    Like wheat
    Filling fields
    Mature and golden
    Adorned with
    Thickening crowns
    Kings and queens
    Of glory
    Joined
    Held together
    By a billion
    Shafts stacked
    So close
    That one
    Cannot push
    Through
    The ligatures
    Binding us
    A whole body
    Shaken
    Ebbing a flowing
    In the wind
    The spirit
    Joining ours
    Each stalk
    Holding
    One another
    Working
    Towards fulness

    Trey Dunham is a poet living in West Virginia. His books, including Ephesians: Poems, are available through Amazon. The above is his poetic rendition of Ephesians 4: 14-16.

    Posted: 04 October 2023

  • How to Look for a Church by Violet Nesdoly

    How to Look for a Church

    Pretend you’re visiting
    a family of distant relatives.

    Of course you don’t expect
    —-to get an invitation for lunch
    —-and all your social needs met
    —-by a bunch of third cousins.
    And it doesn’t matter
    —-that the stairs smell of mildew
    —-and water stains the ceiling
    or that amongst themselves
    —-they’re way too happy and loud
    —-and hug a lot.

    What may catch you by surprise
    —-even make you want to return
    is how the Father you share
    —-meets you there
    puts His gentle but persistent hand
    —-under your chin
    —-to raise your face
    and meet His eyes.

    Violet Nesdoly is a poet and novelist living in British Columbia. Her poetry collection Borrowed Gardens appeared from SparrowSong Press in 2014. This poem connects with the common bond of believers Paul speaks of in Ephesians 4:4-6.

    Posted: 20 September 2023

  • Lying in Wait to Deceive by Marjorie Maddox

    Lying in Wait to Deceive

    ——-Ephesians 4:14

    To deceive, he lies in wait
    in plain view upon the pews.
    He watches sinners congregate,

    then nods his head to validate
    the pain of “penitents” who choose
    deceit. He lies. He waits

    while the priest exonerates
    the un-felt list, the false excuse,
    watching sinners congregate

    to clear their conscience, obviate
    their guilt. What tool to use?
    Deceit. They lie. He waits.

    They check their lists, accelerate
    their sense of good, and yet refuse
    to watch their own sins congregate.

    In time, all sorrows propagate
    and spread the falsehoods that he spews.
    To deceive, he lies in wait.
    He watches sinners congregate.

    Marjorie Maddox is director of Loch Haven University’s Creative Writing Program. Her most-recent poetry books include In the Museum of My Daughter’s Mind (2023, Shanti Arts), and Begin With a Question (2022, Iron Pen/Paraclete). This poem previously appeared in Mezzo Cammin.

    Posted: 06 September 2023

  • With My Mother Dying by Brad Davis

    With My Mother Dying

    ——-Ephesians 2:10

    A stalk of wheat cannot bear figs,
    nor an orca a litter of seal pups.

    Would that it were a simple thing
    to know the fruit one’s meant to bear

    into the world, easy as an apple tree
    her coy blossoms, then her apples.

    There is an ache within the dearest
    deep down stuff of earth that begs

    for our deliberate, healing gaze—
    the handiwork of compassion.

    Why then a quandary what to bear?
    All good work bends in one direction.

    Yet as with debt, there are no rules
    but this: to love—with all of love’s

    improvisations. Which is itself a call
    for wisdom. Patience, too. And lacking

    answers for another’s pain, to being
    free to bear the suffering without words.

    Brad Davis is a California-born Canadian living in northeastern Connecticut. His most recent collection is Trespassing on the Mount of Olives (Poiema/Cascade, 2021). His poems have appeared in Paris Review, Poetry, Image, Michigan Quarterly Review, Spiritus, JAMA, Brilliant Corners, Connecticut River Review, and many other journals.

    Posted: 16 August 2023

  • Ephesians by Ryan Teitman

    Ephesians

    Beloved,
    Remember what we used to know: the owl perched in the barn rafters with a kitten dangling from its beak, the summers so dry that the wheat withered underfoot as we walked through the field with ice-cream-coated hands. I remember the day you went crazy with fever and took a hatchet to the hives in the apiary. You stood in the swarm and shouted, “I am the Lord God of all creation!” before your father ran in and cradled you to the house. That night, the doctor dipped bandages in honey and wrapped your welted limbs, while your father read to you from Aesop’s Fables. You opened your mouth and let the doctor reach in with pliers, let him pull one bee after another from under your swollen tongue, and let him hold each corpse—glistened with spit—up to the windowpane, before dropping it in a jar at your bedside. You carried that jar with you always, half-filled with their dried bodies, like kernels of corn. On the last night of summer, we fell asleep in the hayloft. In your dream, you whispered, wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead. In the morning, the jar was empty, and our eyes were the color of nectar.

    Ryan Teitman is a poet living in Pennyslvania, and the author of Litany for the City (BOA Editions, 2012) from which this poem is taken. The scripture reference included is from Ephesians 5:14.

    Posted: 02 August 2023

  • By love are we thus bound by Joanne Epp

    By love are we thus bound

    Think breath: how long to hold the chord,
    how to release it, how to lead them
    to breathe with you, all drawing air
    at once, exhaling in tune.

    Think of time, of echo: how voices reverberate
    off hard pews, varnished floor, enlarged
    by the space that contains them. Think
    of the half beat it takes for the sound
    from the farthest rows to reach you.

    Think encouragement. To hold up
    the voices, not drown them. Pronounce
    the rhythm with such clarity that no one
    can help but feel its hearbeat.

    Think contrast, penultimate
    to final verse: signal a new thing
    coming. Lead them from four-part to unison
    with bigger pedal stops, more reeds
    in the manuals. Feel your neck hair
    stand on end as every mouth in every
    pew unites on the melody. Becomes
    one instrument.

    Joanne Epp is a Winnipeg poet whose most recent collection is Cattail Skyline (2021, Turnstone Press).This poem arose from the poet’s reflections on Ephesians 4; the title comes from the hymn “Where charity and love prevail”; its 9th-century Latin text was translated by Omer E. Westendorf.

    Posted: 19 July 2023

  • Being is Good by Ryan Keating

    Being is Good

    Be yourself is the worst
    advice that ever went viral,
    as if being someone else could be
    a real option let alone the default ―
    as if you were a static set
    of style, capacity, and preference
    unable to change and grow ―
    as if you were an ideal type
    of a particular breed whose traits
    you must exemplify or risk
    betraying yourself ―
    as if we should all sacrifice ourselves
    on the altar of authenticity
    or someone’s idea of it.
    You will keep being yourself,
    but you might also consider
    being good
    and even
    being better.

    Ryan Keating is a pastor, poet, and winemaker on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. His poetry can be read at Foreshadow magazine and other outlets. This poem arose through reflection on Ephesians 4:22-24.

    Posted: 05 July 2023

  • The Space Between by Eric Forsbergh

    The Space Between

    Jesus is walking down a road, as he often will.

    From a side path emerges a centurion,
    nodding at the distance of a plea.

    My servant lies at home, paralyzed.

    Surely Jesus smells the Roman’s leather battle straps,
    sees their frost of dried sweat salt, their earth-like stains and cuts,
    yet hears a brittle syllable in the commander’s voice.

    Just say the word. My servant will be healed.

    Bound at the hip, the soldier’s sword
    cannot divide the space between.

    Just as you believed it would, says the Jew.

    Back up the path, bending into shade of a low lintel,
    striding through a rising rag of oven smoke
    the Roman offers a clean robe, sits in the shadows,
    and waits beside his ashen man for sweat to break.

    Eric Forsbergh is a Virginia poet, retired dentist, and Vietnam vet. He has just completed the necessary training to allow him to teach creative writing in prisons. He relates this poem to Ephesians 4:32

    Posted: 21 June 2023

  • Prayer 46 by Gregory of Narek

    Prayer 46

    Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

    A
    Now I am lost, forever punishable,
    always immoral,
    condemning myself to death,
    shepherd of a flock of fetid sin, a flock of wild boars,
    a despicable mercenary,
    a shepherd watching a flock of desert goats.
    The image of the shepherds’ tent in the Song of Songs
    aptly applies to me,
    for I do not know or understand,
    by whom, in whose image or why I was created.

    B
    Behold, you were formed like an angel,
    on two feet that take and bring you,
    as if in flight on two wings lifting you upward,
    to gaze down on my fatherland.
    O fool, why did you choose to be earthbound,
    always preoccupied with the worldliness of
    the here and now,
    carrying on like wild asses in the desert?
    On the lamp stand of your body, encircling your head,
    a chandelier with many arms was placed,
    so that by its light you might not stray and might
    see God and know what is everlasting.
    You were doubly endowed in the womb of reason,
    so that you might speak with an unfettered tongue
    of the victory of the good things given you.
    And you were endowed with artful hands and
    nimble fingers
    to carry out the practical affairs of daily life
    like the all-giving right hand of God,
    that you might be called God.
    You are assembled of 360 parts and five senses,
    the number of the days of the year,
    and no aspect of your physical being remains invisible
    to your sight or unstudied by your mind.
    For some parts are thick and strong,
    some are small and others necessary,
    some are sturdy but sensitive,
    some are sublime, important and noble,
    some are necessary but humble,
    and the explanation of the image of these things is engraved on you
    as on an uneraseable monument, wretched soul of mine,
    so that like the elements of time
    and the continuous train of days around the year
    by some inner law these parts function
    in unerring and inalterable order.

    C
    And now another spiritual image,
    tied to the bonds of love uniting the church,
    is also reflected within you.
    Like the yoke that mediates between the great
    and the lowly,
    the assembled body
    established in the name of Christ is sometimes impaired,
    as with the cutting off or loss of an unruly organ,
    infecting the body.
    Something is lost in your mortal structure,
    feeling abode of mankind,
    and the usual shape of the person undergoes
    some disfigurement.
    And now when the uniquely miraculous structure
    in the living image of God,
    is completely condemned, my enslaved soul,
    that original likeness is stolen from you as
    by breaking the law in the Garden of Eden.
    But by the light of the baptismal font
    the breath of the Holy Spirit is received and
    the image is restored to God’s likeness.

    D
    And now, why did you give up heavenly glory
    like the original man Adam did in the earthly
    Garden of Eden?
    Why did you yourself close heaven and lock
    the door to ascent?
    Why did you mix the clean water with
    impurities of bitter tears?
    Why did you soil newly washed clothes with dirty work?
    Why did you put off the clothes given you
    and put on the cloak of sin?
    Why did you infect the purity of your feet
    by taking the path of the fallen?
    Why did you repeat the violation of just vows of
    the Old Testament?
    Why did you refuse the fruit of grace, as Adam did
    the tree of life?
    Why did you willfully lose the unshadowed hope
    of eternity?
    Why did you cover your face with brazen shame?
    Why did you arm your enemies against you,
    repository of stupidity?
    Why did you venture into the snares of death,
    abandoning the way of faith?
    Why did you get caught on the fishhook of deception,
    you who share the body of the life giver?
    But again, relying upon him, call to him,
    the redeemer of those seeking refuge, renewer,
    savior, life maker and life giver,
    merciful, caring, lover of humanity,
    ungrudging, generously compassionate,
    blessed forever.
    Amen.

    Gregory of Narek (c. 950–1003/1011) was an Armenian theologian, priest, monk and poet. Thank you to the translator of this poem, Thomas J. Samuelian, for his permission to include it here. It is from the new anthology To Heaven’s Rim: The Kingdom Poets Book of World Christian Poetry Beginnings to 1800, in English Translation (edited by Burl Horniachek). It relates to several themes in Ephesians, including the parts of Christ’s body, the church, in Ephesians 1:23, 4:16, and 5:29.

    Posted: 07 June 2023

  • That Birthday Present by Grace Constable

    That Birthday Present

    ——-Ephesians 2:8-10

    He is a father,
    chose the gift
    planned its execution
    before you had breath.

    He is a carpenter,
    secured the gift
    with his
    pierced hands.

    He is an advocate,
    keeps at bay the lie
    denying
    this gift was made for you.

    He is who he is,
    ever-patient
    for his children
    created anew.

    Grace Constable is graduating from Redeemer University this May with a double major in Psychology and English. She served this year as Chief Editor of Quest ― Redeemer’s literary journal ― and received the Rotary Club of Hamilton Amateur Young Writers Award for Fiction in 2021.

    Posted: 17 May 2023

  • Pain by Andrew Lansdown

    Pain

    ——-Look carefully then how you walk …
    ——-making the best use of the time – Ephesians 5:15-16

    Yesterday, when I woke early
    with that pain and got up and got
    no relief, I thought of death,
    my death. This is it, I thought.

    And I felt grief for my family
    and friends. My two young sons
    especially—fatherless in their
    formative years. But mostly

    I felt shame, an overwhelming
    shame that I would soon meet
    my Saviour with so little to give
    in thanks. Inexcusably little.

    Today the pain has gone, but
    not the shame. Oh, dear Jesus!

    Andrew Lansdown is the author of 15 poetry books ― most notably Abundance: New & Selected Poems (2020, Poiema/Cascade). He is one of Australia’s most-significant poets.

    Posted: 03 May 2023

  • Bowl of Strawberries, Bowl of Milk by Steven Peterson

    Bowl of Strawberries, Bowl of Milk

    ——-Ephesians 4:22-23

    It probably wasn’t my best idea,
    during the worst of COVID,
    to stream Ingmar Bergman’s
    1957 film The Seventh Seal
    set during the 1350 bubonic plague,
    because nearly every character dies—
    in black and white and in Swedish.

    But then I reached the scene
    where a grim medieval knight
    encounters a poor traveling family—
    mother, father, and infant—
    who share their simple supper:
    a bowl of strawberries
    and a bowl of milk.

    The knight takes what he is offered,
    then says, according to the subtitles:
    I shall remember this moment,
    your faces in the evening light,
    and carry this memory between my hands
    as carefully as if it were a bowl
    filled to the brim with fresh milk.
    It will be a sign; it will be enough for me.

    Steven Peterson writes poems and plays in Chicago. His poems appear in The Christian Century, Dappled Things, First Things, and elsewhere. Several of his poems are in the anthology Taking Root in the Heart (2023, Paraclete Press).

    Posted: 19 April 2023

  • love by Jonathan Chan

    love

    what lays outstretched in shades beyond a hill,
    the silent trickling, stains upon a tree.
    what every whispered prayer could fulfil
    that transforms hidden shame to dignity.
    to deal in glances and not platitudes,
    a tight embrace and fingers intertwined.
    to catch the words that tumble raw and lewd,
    and tame the rudder should it steer the mind.
    for love is in the poems that we give,
    the conversations shared in evening rides,
    the spoons of broth that nourish dreams to live,
    the tender pixels laid in soft asides.
    to see the mystery of a cosmic trace
    within the beauty of another’s face.

    Jonathan Chan lives in Singapore and is the author of the poetry collection Going Home (2022, Landmark Books) This poem is from his series on the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) yet relates to many verses in Ephesians, including the beginning of chapter five. It first appeared in A Given Grace, and is in his new book.

    Posted: 05 April 2023

  • Amidst Compline and Prime by Desmond Kon

    Amidst Compline and Prime

    If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on,
    he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.

    ————————-― Saint John of the Cross

    as much as this lyric seems so far away
    inasmuch as distance is nearness

    as much as that night seems as removed
    inasmuch as tomorrow’s dawn is arrival

    as much as this utterance feels out of reach
    inasmuch as love demands an idiom

    as much as that sufferance feels impassable
    inasmuch as hope rests on our faith

    Desmond Francis Xavier Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé is the Singapore author of eighteen books, including his memoir The Good Day I Died and creative guided journal Depth of Field (both from Penguin). He teaches creative writing at Nanyang Technological University. This poem is inspired by Ephesians 2:13.

    Posted: 22 March 2023

  • Potato Harvest by Janet Smith Post

    Potato Harvest

    . . .you. . .were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
    which is the guarantee of our inheritance. ..
    Ephesians 1:13-14

    High mountain desert, birthed
    from old fractures, old faults,
    an ancient basin for an ancient lake,
    whose slow drain left a hundred miles
    of shrub brush, sage, and yucca.
    Nurtured by the Rio Grande,
    the river mother, sending veins of life
    to scattered plots of produce—especially
    potatoes, their leaves blossoming white near fall
    then turning brown to dead, a signal
    of waiting harvest beneath the ground.
    In the fifties, school dismissed to send
    us to join the work in the fields,
    already filled with men and women,
    bent over the blessing of the soil.
    Burlap bags spread across the rows.

    Women, bandanas tied round their hair
    to fend off flinging vines of dirt,
    —their broad aprons, filled with potatoes
    to tumble into crates; later into burlap bags.
    Old men, old shoes, furrowed like the field.
    Barefoot, we worked on our knees—good
    knees—and closer to the ground.
    Hands, faces and clothes congealed with dirt,
    as we became one with the potatoes.
    Tractor-digger filled the air with dust,
    the old women called it El dolor—sorrow cloud.

    We caught up potatoes—fast—in each hand
    upturned from their womb of soil, sometimes
    throw-away-rocks, or impostor-balls of dirt.
    Beside me, Alejandro’s dark eyes above his crate. And above
    his head, the jagged peaks of Sangre de Cristo, the “Blood of Christ.”
    Beneath us the strong smell of earth, microbes, interred in the soil.
    Our pencils scratched marks, to tally crates.
    Alejandro told me his Madre delivered a baby–
    sister—the first child to live, since his own birth.
    Alejandro and I nodded heads in rhythm
    to the clink of coins counted out upon our palms.
    We saw the buyer in his suit, close-surveying the field.
    The farmer presented him one, small bag. “These potatoes,” he said
    “are a guarantee of purchased quality.” Then a grin,
    “Sweet taste of your field to come.”

    And then that Sunday, Alejandro’s dark eyes moist,
    The baby sister—herself the size of a small bag of potatoes.
    The priest drew a tiny cross of oil upon her head and said,
    “Sealed with the Holy Spirit; marked as Christ’s own forever.”
    The Holy Spirit—a force unseen. Believed, like the light,
    splintered from the stained glass window above our heads.
    The priest in scarlet robe—ambassador of guaranteed inheritance.
    The farmer in his coveralls–the promise of the field to come.
    The baby baptized—then dead within a month.

    Janet Smith Post is a writer, and musician who has written children’s books, fiction, and the self-published poetry collection Eyes of the Heart (2022). She is a member of the Colorado Authors League.

    Posted: 08 March 2023

  • A Hymn to the Evening by Phillis Wheatley

    A Hymn to the Evening

    Soon as the sun forsook the eastern main
    The pealing thunder shook the heav’nly plain;
    Majestic grandeur! From the zephyr’s wing,
    Exhales the incense of the blooming spring.
    Soft purl the streams, the birds renew their notes,
    And through the air their mingled music floats.
    Through all the heav’ns what beauteous dies are spread!
    But the west glories in the deepest red:
    So may our breasts with ev’ry virtue glow,
    The living temples of our God below!
    Fill’d with the praise of him who gives the light,
    And draws the sable curtains of the night,
    Let placid slumbers sooth each weary mind,
    At morn to wake more heav’nly, more refin’d;
    So shall the labours of the day begin
    More pure, more guarded from the snares of sin.
    Night’s leaden sceptre seals my drowsy eyes,
    Then cease, my song, till fair Aurora rise.

    Phillis Wheatley (circa 1753—1784) is a black American poet who, as a child, was taken to be a slave. Her collection Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral was published in 1773. This poem reflects what Paul says in Ephesians 2:21.

    Posted: 22 February 2023

  • Ephesians 1:23 by Sarah Olivo

    Ephesians 1:23

    body means to be earthside—
    our maker roams this barren ground

    where wild prophets are buried
    headless, and temples teem with gentiles

    cleansed, and appointed to wash
    millennia of grime from the inner sanctuary.

    we are the swelling wineskins
    made of new lamb’s hide and stitched at the throat;

    we are baskets of fish, passed hastily about
    in a crowd that doesn’t know its own hunger.

    driven by the visions of a shepherd king
    and burdened by the right to speak them,

    we press our feet to a road we did not pave
    and feel the desert stir beneath us

    at the will of him who wanders there
    and calls forth heirs from stone.
    Sarah Olivio is a fourth-year honours writing major at Redeemer University in Ancaster, Ontario. She is on the editorial team for Quest, the student literary journal.

    Posted: 01 February 2023

  • Thanksgivings for the Soul by Thomas Traherne

    from Thanksgivings for the Soul

    —–Blessed be the Lord,
    ———Whose Understanding is infinite,
    —–For giving me a Soul
    ———-Able to comprehend with all Saints the length, and breadth,
    and depth, and height of the Love of God, which passeth
    knowledge that I might be filled with all the fullness of God.

    ———Unsatiable is my Soul,
    ————–Because nothing can fill it.
    —–A living Centre, wider than the Heavens.
    ————–An infinite Abyss,
    —–So made by the perfection of they Presence,
    ———Who art an infinite KNOWLEDGE in every Centre;
    ———Not corporeal, but simple Life;
    ———Wonderfully sufficient in all its Powers…

    Thomas Traherne (1637—1674) is an English writer whose poetry has been known for less than 150 years. This section of “Thanksgivings for the Soul” — which is from his book Thanksgivings — includes lines from Ephesians 3:18-19.

    Posted: 18 January 2023

  • Guilty Feet by Rochelle Watt

    Guilty Feet

    Might I timidly tiptoe toward
    a glassy sea,
    or are my slippers
    too tattered for holy ground?
    Would the Trinity be dishonoured
    by pirouettes of praise
    from one wearing a ragged,
    stained tutu?
    I used to only peek
    into your sanctuary.
    Wings of a seraph
    veiling my frame,
    tongue too ashamed
    to bless your name.

    But now,

    clothed in confidence,
    stenched garments of
    insecurities and fear
    surrendered.
    Freedom found
    through faith
    in you,
    guilty feet given rhythm.
    Forgiveness allowing me to dance,
    undignified in your presence.
    Finally,
    in your presence.

    Rochelle Watt lives in Toronto, and enjoys experiencing beauty in art, music, dance, theatre, and nature. She recently self-published her first poetry collection, Eden. This poem relates to Ephesians 3:12.

    Posted: 04 January 2023

  • Ephesian Villanelle by Edward Clarke

    Ephesian Villanelle

    With psalms and hymns and odes the heart could bless,
    But I must write and re-write lines I’ve read:
    Do not get drunk on wine, wherein’s excess.

    The vodka at the fair made me legless.
    My mother feared she’d wake and find me dead.
    With psalms and hymns and odes the heart could bless.

    In Florence we styled ourselves young Bacchuses,
    My mouth stained purple, but our teachers said:
    Do not get drunk on wine, wherein’s excess.

    I sat collections in the hall, feckless,
    High from the night before, and the gods fled
    With psalms and hymns and odes the heart could bless.

    At Trinity we knocked back Guinnesses
    And ate mixed grills looking like the undead:
    Do not get drunk on wine, wherein’s excess.

    This tale’s the consort to a great goddess
    Who’d have me stop and write the tune in my head.
    With psalms and hymns and odes the heart could bless:
    Do not get drunk on wine, wherein’s excess.

    Edward Clarke lives in Oxford, England, and is the author of A Book of Psalms (2020, Paraclete). This poem relates to Ephesians 5:18.

    Posted: 21 December 2022

  • Lament for a Holy People by David Doherty

    Lament for a Holy People

    Of the Methodists of Ontario in the middle of the nineteenth century

    Beloved ones, light-footed, rising from
    your pews like calves emerging from their stalls,
    your hearts not soured by the gall of wine,
    you seek, with opened lungs, the rushing wind.

    Redeemed from Adam’s twisted heart you bless
    the hills and falling rivers as your Eden.
    But each year harvest yields a grander heap,
    and your ever-bigger barns blunt autumn’s breeze.

    And soon your children, playing in the orchard,
    will prod a serpent coiled upon a branch.

    David Doherty is a graduate of McMaster Divinity College, an adjunct professor at Emmanuel Bible College, and an Anglican pastor in Oakville, Ontario. He says, “The poem refers to old-time Methodism’s famous emphasis on the apostle Paul’s twofold teaching in Ephesians 5:18.”

    Posted: 07 December 2022

  • Ambassador by Mischa Willett

    Ambassador

    I am writing —-              ——–to you dear brothers
    from the foundation ————of the blamelessness
    I am writing —-              ——–He who first began
    dear ones ——                —–   the blameless to become
    were later —–                —–  –that is to say
    after the adoption —-   —– —us of all people
    poised cliffside ——      —–   –those who
    he saw and said —-        ——–through whom
    earnest after inheritance ——-He that is the acceptance
    who put together ———-      –the foundation I was
    referencing earlier ——–  – —actually is
    the greeting I send ———-   —dear Ephesus

    Mischa Willett is the author of two poetry collections Phases (Poiema/Cascade) and The Elegy Beta (Mockingbird). He teaches at Seattle Pacific University. This poem arises from Ephesians 1:3-11.

    Posted: 16 November 2022

  • Ephesians 4:32 by Steven Searcy

    Ephesians 4:32

    Be kind as springtime sun to slender shoots,
    as kind as April rain to stretching roots.
    Be tender as a mother robin on
    her nest, as tender as the dew at dawn,
    as dogwood petals starting to unfold.

    But how can we be kind when hearts are cold
    and shriveled? How can we be tender when
    we’re filled with thorns and brittle stems, so thin
    and barren that it seems nothing could save us?
    He forgave us. He forgave us. He forgave us.

    Steven Searcy lives with his wife and three sons in Atlanta. He is an engineer in fiber optic telecommunications.

    Posted: 02 November 2022

  • Poetics of Faith by Denise Levertov

    Poetics of Faith

    ‘Straight to the point’
    ——-can ricochet,
    ————–unconvincing.
    Circumlocution, analogy,
    ——-parable’s ambiguities, provide
    ————–context, stepping-stones.

    Most of the time. And then

    the lightning power
    ——-amidst these indirections,
    ————–of plain
    unheralded miracle!
    ——-For example,
    ————–as if forgetting
    to prepare them, He simply
    ——-walks on water
    ————–towards them, casually –
    and impetuous Peter, empowered,
    ——-jumps from the boat and rushes
    ————–On wave-tip to meet Him –
    a few steps, anyway –
    ——-(till it occurs to him,
    ————–‘I can’t, this is preposterous’
    and Jesus has to grab him,
    ——-tumble his weight
    ————–back over the gunwale).
    Sustaining those light and swift
    ——-steps was more than Peter
    ————–could manage. Still,
    years later,
    ——-his toes and insteps, just before sleep,
    ————–would remember their passage.

    Denise Levertov (1923—1997) is a British-born American poet. This poem is from her collection The Stream and the Sapphire and speaks of experiential ways of knowing as suggested in Ephesians 1:8-10.

    Posted: 19 October 2022

  • Faithfulness by Jonathan Chan

    faithfulness

    “Jesus holding my hand has been the most powerful force in my life”
    —————― Revd. Marcus Green

    in open air by complineʼs candlelight
    where dust and darkness mingle in the mind,
    i had a quiet glimpse of love divine,
    of images that dance in warmer nights.
    descending from the dusk in paler glow,
    an arm outstretched, unknowable abyss,
    a comfort laced in having every wish
    step out from sinking sand to glistening flow.
    just as was done in sentul pasarʼs shade,
    through streams that ran by street and cul-de-sac,
    the careful walks that curve through waxy leaves.
    just as was done in lives made and remade,
    in every hug that brings the conscience back,
    and messages by night to wait, to breathe.

    Jonathan Chan lives in Singapore and is the author of the poetry collection Going Home (2022, Landmark Books) This poem is from his series on the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) and it relates to the first verse in Ephesians.

    Posted: 05 October 2022

  • Honoring the Dishonorable Emperor by Garrett Soucy

    Honoring the Dishonorable Emperor

    Teetering on the porch,
    On the edge of another divorce,
    He wielded the pages of Scripture
    Like they were the hexagrams of the I Ching.
    Hemmed in on either side
    By a parapet of two lines
    Desperately needing to be proven complementary
    Or the relationship must end
    Or the furthering of the universe
    Would be threatened.
    How did the vertical and horizontal
    Beams of the cross not harmonize
    Opposing forces?
    Might not husbands now love unloveable wives?
    Might not Holiness reconcile sinners?
    Railing against the thought,
    He moved to the ground.
    Are you suggesting that I stand there
    And let her crucify me?
    Are you?

    Garrett Soucy is a pastor at Christ The King Church in Belfast, Maine. This poem relates to Ephesians 5:25.

    Posted: 21 September 2022

  • Chancery by John Vigren

    Chancery

    Ephesians 1:4-5

    The Giver of life comes to you (or not)
    like a stray mortar round with your name on it:
    not fair, like family wealth or a cleft palate.
    Einstein put omnipotent God in the dock,
    a Judge of deeds who brings all deeds about.
    That genius, who saw in each planetary curve
    a dimple in smiling space, could not see love
    in the Light that foreordained the ruling light
    if God knew all along how horribly
    few of His children will not suffer always.
    Unwilling to lose any, yet He craves
    true friendship more than we crave certainty:
    random, run-dom, deliberate luck of the draw
    when Love decrees a law beyond the law.

    John Vigren is a New Jersey poet, landscape photographer, and a recovering addict. His verse has won awards, including the Utmost Christian Rhyming Poetry Prize.

    Posted: 07 September 2022

  • Sometimes, at 3:00 a.m. by Laurie Klein

    Sometimes, at 3:00 a.m.

    —–. . . night is a rosary
    —–of unanswered hours . . .

    ——————Ariel Francisco

    One airless jolt—
    —–breath, a spasm,
    shaking me wakeful—
    —–& then what? Lie
    still, if I can;
    —–try not to obsess
    over feeling shaken
    —–in a realm
    resoundingly shrill,
    —–where foreboding
    abets chaos. Alone,
    —–in the starless hours,
    the body flails, unfit
    —–for the rugged soles
    an ascent requires,
    —–among the crags.
    Still, I muster
    —–the trusted ropes
    & pitons: psalms,
    —–hymns, my belief
    that truth begets
    —–traction, lest reason
    shear, lest the cliff
    —–where I anchored
    my little flag
    —–crumble. Rattle-shot
    thoughts collide,
    —–sinew & muscles
    seize. Tell me,
    —–who among us
    can swallow
    —–the flaring coal,
    wedged in the bell
    —–of the throat
    when love & dread
    —–liquesce, distilled
    to raw vowels? All is
    —–raveling sinus,
    the jaws, unslung.
    —–Come down,
    ageless Waker of Rain!
    —–Commandeer
    lightning’s stilts
    —–amid the reckless
    thunders we’ve loosed
    —–on your world.
    I am so small.
    —–So sorry & scared.
    Absorb & absolve
    —–my gibbering Whys,
    aimed headlong,
    —–into the gale. Come
    because heard,
    —–I can endure, graced
    for the breaking
    —–eventual dawn when
    divinely unsteadied,
    —–I kneel again,
    knowing myself
    —–saved, summoned,
    in all ways met.

    Laurie Klein is the author of the poetry collection Where The Sky Opens (2015, Poiema/Cascade). This poem arises from Ephesians 3:14, where Paul speaks of coming before the Father in prayer.

    Posted: 17 August 2022

  • Prayer (I) by George Herbert

    Prayer (I)

    Prayer the church’s banquet, angel’s age,
    God’s breath in man returning to his birth,
    The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
    The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth
    Engine against th’ Almighty, sinner’s tow’r,
    Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
    The six-days world transposing in an hour,
    A kind of tune, which all things hear and fear;
    Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,
    Exalted manna, gladness of the best,
    Heaven in ordinary, man well drest,
    The milky way, the bird of Paradise,
    Church-bells beyond the stars heard, the soul’s blood,
    The land of spices; something understood.

    George Herbert (1593—1633) is one of Britain’s great metaphysical poets. The line “Heaven in ordinary, man well drest,” has been explained to mean that in prayer God reaches down, and we, as in Ephesians 4:22-24, have put on the new self.

    Posted: 03 August 2022

  • The Chapel by R.S. Thomas

    The Chapel

    A little aside from the main road,
    becalmed in a last-century greyness,
    there is the chapel, ugly, without the appeal
    to the tourist to stop his car
    and visit it. The traffic goes by,
    and the river goes by, and quick shadows
    of clouds, too, and the chapel settles
    a little deeper into the grass.

    But here once on an evening like this,
    in the darkness that was about
    his hearers, a preacher caught fire
    and burned steadily before them
    with a strange light, so that they saw
    the splendour of the barren mountains
    about them and sang their amens
    fiercely, narrow but saved
    in a way that men are not now.

    R.S. Thomas (1913-2000) has been called “the pre-eminent, Welsh poet writing in English in the second half of the twentieth century.” He served as an Anglican priest in rural Wales. This poem touches on Paul’s words concerning God mysteriously revealing himself through the church in Ephesians 3:10 & 11.

    Posted: 20 July 2022

  • Mindfulness by Violet Nesdoly

    Mindfulness

    I have brightened the walls
    and enhanced the lighting
    in the rooms of my mind
    in order to see clearly
    the thoughts that come and go.

    I have put up surveillance cameras
    in each room and at the door.
    At the end of the day
    I replay the scenes
    to better understand the role
    of my thoughts in the day’s happenings.

    When doubt, fear, criticism
    self-pity, pride and all their siblings
    manage to slip in (and they do)
    I freshen the atmosphere
    With scripture balms
    of faith, hope, and love.
    The interlopers cannot stand
    the fragrance and quickly leave.

    I am working on using
    my single-purpose cubicles
    (where no media is allowed)
    for reading, listening, and praying.

    Violet Nesdoly is a poet and novelist living in British Columbia. She contributed poetry to the Crossings: A Journey to Easter catalogue and outdoor art exhibit in Toronto, 2022. This poem connects with Ephesians 5:20-24 ― especially with verse 23: “and be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (NKJV).

    Posted: 06 July 2022

  • Children of Wrath by Brian Volck

    Children of Wrath

    ———–…tossed to and fro and blown about
    ———–by every wind of doctrine. – Ephesians 4:14

    The peace Christ preached demolished massive walls,
    sent great blocks tumbling as from a temple
    laid waste, not one stone left upon another.

    But we, who covet defensible positions
    in our bitter quarrels amid the rubble,
    rebuild the ramparts, making us aliens

    and strangers once more. That heretics thrive,
    I have no doubt, having heard my share
    in church preaching a merciless god

    in a graceless world, and if they speak
    the truth, it seems done less in love
    than in some desperate need to be right.

    Yet even these love God in their fashion,
    shaming me with the fervor of what seems
    misguided witness, and as we’re gathered

    in one body, Spirit, Lord, and faith,
    I hope to find ample forgiveness
    in the furnace of Divine mercy

    to burn away not only their
    overprized virtues and opinions
    but the several I hold far too dear.

    Brian Volck is a pediatrician, and a writer whose poetry collection Flesh Becomes Word (2013) was published by Dos Madras Press.

    Posted: 15 June 2022

  • Predestination by Robert Herrick

    Predestination

    Predestination is the cause alone
    Of many standing, but of fall to none.

    Robert Herrick (1591―1674) served as vicar of Dean Prior in Devonshire, and is the author of Hesperides: Or, The Works Both Humane & Divine (1648). This epigrammatic poem relates to the first chapter of Ephesians.

    Posted: 01 June 2022

  • Καταβολής by John C. Mannone

    Καταβολής (kataboláys)

    Before the foundations of the Earth were laid,
    even before stardust settled from the heavens
    when a myriad of suns catastrophically cast off
    their fiery shells—after their luminous bloating
    or after glorious cataclysmic explosions, supernovas—
    even before the Big Bang when there was nothing:
    no space, no matter, no energy. Not even time. Yet

    before the attempted overthrow, catalyzed by pride
    when a third of the angels fell, their wings unfolded
    and proverbially stripped off, Lucifer catapulted,

    and even before conceived in my mother’s womb,
    ———God knew me and he loved me. I was cast
    ———in his own image.

    John C. Mannone is the author of four poetry collections, including the forthcoming Song of the Mountains (Middle Creek Publishing, 2023). He is a retired physics professor, living in Tennessee. The poem’s Greek title means an overthrow or a violent casting down but is typically translated as the foundations of the earth (Eph 1:4 and 1 Pet 1:20). The poem plays on other kata-words.

    Posted: 18 May 2022

  • And with what body do they come? by Emily Dickinson

    And with what body do they come?

    ‘And with what body do they come?’ –
    Then they do come – Rejoice!
    What Door – What Hour – Run – run – My Soul!
    Illuminate the House!

    ‘Body!’ Then real – a Face and Eyes –
    To know that it is them!
    Paul knew the Man that knew the News –
    He passed through Bethlehem –

    Emily Dickinson (1830–1886) is a poet who always wrestled with scripture. Here she is drawing hope from the promise of a physical resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:35; This relates to passages such as Ephesians 2:6. She once wrote to a friend, “We both believe and disbelieve a hundred times an hour, which keeps Believing nimble.”

    Posted: 04 May 2022

  • Love’s As Warm As Tears by C.S. Lewis

    Love’s As Warm As Tears

    Love’s as warm as tears,
    Love is tears:
    Pressure within the brain,
    Tension at the throat,
    Deluge, weeks of rain,
    Haystacks afloat
    Featureless seas between
    Hedges, where once was green.

    Love’s as fierce as fire,
    Love is fire:
    All sorts—infernal heat
    Clinkered with greed and pride,
    Lyric desire, sharp-sweet,
    Laughing, even when denied,
    And that empyreal flame
    Whence all loves came.

    Love’s as fresh as spring,
    Love is spring:
    Bird-song hung in the air,
    Cool smells in a wood,
    Whispering ‘Dare! Dare!’
    To sap, to blood,
    Telling ‘Ease, safety, rest,
    Are good; not best.’

    Love’s as hard as nails,
    Love is nails:
    Blunt, thick, hammered through
    The medial nerves of One
    Who, having made us, knew
    The thing He had done,
    Seeing (with all that is)
    Our cross, and His.

    C.S. Lewis (1898—1963) is the author of The Narnia Chronicles and dozens of other books including Poems (where this poem may be found). This poem reflects the truth Paul expresses in Ephesians 3:17-19.

    Posted: 20 April 2022

  • The Living Flame of Love by John of the Cross

    The Living Flame Of Love

    O living flame of love
    that tenderly wounds my soul
    in its deepest center! Since
    now you are not oppressive,
    now consummate! if it be your will:
    tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!

    O sweet cautery,
    O delightful wound!
    O gentle hand! O delicate touch
    that tastes of eternal life
    and pays every debt!
    In killing you changed death to life.

    O lamps of fire!
    in whose splendors
    the deep caverns of feeling,
    once obscure and blind,
    now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely,
    both warmth and light to their Beloved.

    How gently and lovingly
    you wake in my heart,
    where in secret you dwell alone;
    and in your sweet breathing,
    filled with good and glory,
    how tenderly you swell my heart with love.

    John of the Cross (1542–1591) is a Spanish poet, known for his mystical poetry. He was a Carmelite friar. The final stanza of this poem reflects Paul’s words in Ephesians 3:16 & 17.

    Posted: 06 April 2022

  • The Apostle Paul Extends a Metaphor by Graham Hillard

    The Apostle Paul Extends a Metaphor

    ———–Ephesians 2:19-21

    The language seems to gather force and leap
    Into the air: divine analogy
    As spinning top. We, all of us, are those
    Whom God has “fitly framed together” as
    His holy temple. Still, Paul wonders if
    The metaphor is incomplete, as though
    A Roman mile had lost its thousandth pace.
    Might masonry alone suggest a torpor
    Or stillness unbecoming of the bride
    Of Christ? Are we not rather restive deer,
    Great leopards in a pack, or mourning doves
    Lamenting these long lives? The great man knows
    His art will be declined. Best close the scroll.
    There will be time for craft another day.

    Graham Hillard is the editor of The Cumberland River Review and an associate professor of English at Trevecca Nazarene University. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife and children.

    Posted: 16 March 2022

  • Collage by John Robert Lee

    Collage

    ―for Ann-Margaret Lim

    “To the saints who are in Ephesus…” (Ephesians 1:1)

    Gospelling yellow-breasts among avocado blossoms,
    butterflies cavorting round the Rose of Sharon
    a clean white flower in the morning
    tinged at noon with pink changings,
    hummingbirds probing under grapefruit,
    hens and chicks foraging brown fallen leaves,
    children on this Sabbath chanting hymns from their verandah,
    and palm tree like a winged angel under the blue, sparse-cloud sky —

    who would think
    that pestilence is ravaging our world?

    No safe zone on continent or island,
    regular routines locked-down,
    family, friends, lovers masked, distanced,
    networks obsessed with flattening curves, death statistics,
    churches and mosques closed, except for fanatics,
    beaches, bars, brothels shut, except for skeptics
    or those who want normal here, now,
    and there are us crowding long lines outside shops —

    who wrote the script
    who configured this incredible dystopia?

    Skies are clearing over megalopolitans everywhere
    Himalayas in view after decades
    I hear canals in Venice and Amsterdam are clean these days;
    in neighborhoods under curfew,
    wood-doves, various warblers clock quick-passing hours;
    crickets, breezes soughing through leaves, are the night sounds,
    no backfiring bikes or late-night dj’s. Judgement is dropping abroad
    from our mouths, our hands —

    what unbelievable drama is rolling out behind the scenes,
    Who is moving, Ephesians, to centre-stage of this cosmic scenario?

    John Robert Lee is a Saint Lucian writer. His Collected Poems 1975-2015 (2017) and his most-recent book Pierrot (2020) are published by Peepal Tree Press.

    Posted: 02 March 2022

  • Artemis of Ephesus by Tania Runyan

    Artemis of Ephesus

    Acts 19: 23-29

    Jesus would have just smiled
    at the cluster of breasts
    cascading down her torso
    like grapes: It is true

    you have not two, but forty.
    Return to the meteor
    from which you were carved
    and fertilize no more.

    And she would start over
    as a space rock fallen
    from the sky―untouched―
    and all her silver cousins

    rescued from those sweaty
    pilgrim hands he would melt
    back to the ground where they lived
    before slaves shimmied

    down shafts to separate
    the lead from the luster
    veining the earth, running
    in the stones like his blood.

    Tania Runyan is the author of five poetry collections, including What Will Soon Take Place (Paraclete) and Second Sky (Poiema/Cascade). She was the first poet featured on Poems For Ephesians.

    Posted: 16 February 2022

  • Pictures by Sarah Klassen

    Pictures

    Ephesians 6:13-17

    Picture the recommended pieces
    of protective armor: belt, breastplate, boots,
    shield, helmet. Objects of leather and metal,
    hand-crafted by artisans, moulded to fit.
    And also, of course, a sword. Implements
    Long since replaced–except in movies—
    by technically superior methods of defence
    and attack, all more or less amenable to metaphor,

    a poetic tool that connects what’s not connected
    as a rule. In other words, the apostle was a poet.
    So was David, who picked up from the wadi
    five smooth stones. With one he slew a giant.
    His poems picture God as Rock. As fortress.
    Shield. As shepherd with both rod and staff.

    Sarah Klassen is a Winnipeg poet whose eighth poetry collection is The Tree of Life (2020, Turnstone Press). Her first collection, Journey to Yalta (1988), won the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award.

    Posted: 02 February 2022

  • And That Will Be Heaven by Evangeline Paterson

    And That Will Be Heaven

    and that will be heaven

    and that will be heaven
    at last the first unclouded
    seeing

    to stand like the sunflower
    turned full face to the sun drenched
    in light in the still centre
    held while the circling planets
    hum with an utter joy
    seeing and knowing
    at last in every particle
    seen and known and not turning
    away
    never turning away
    again
    Evangeline Paterson (1928—2000) is a poet who lived at various times in Ireland, Scotland and England. Her New and Selected poems, entitled Lucifer, with Angels was published by Dedalus in 1994. She expresses in the above poem the confidence Paul speaks of in Ephesians 3:12.

    Posted: 19 January 2022

  • Lamentation by Marjorie Garvey

    Lamentation

    Your roomy leather chair, Anne,
    is being pushed and pulled
    into the buyer’s van;
    even the couch I sat on
    is sold, where I told you
    —again and again—
    my visits weren’t for money.

    Our lunch at DiCarlo’s, the same:
    I tried to connect but your
    regal moves blocked me—
    an inconsequential pawn.
    Always bad at chess, I stopped
    the clock, abandoned your game.

    Each piece you possessed
    and prized is sold off.
    The porcelain roosters
    watch the parade,
    then are swept up.

    Petals from your tired,
    red-tipped begonias fall
    to the ground as one more
    buyer brushes by
    bearing the wooden case
    of silver visitors seldom saw.
    I breathe in the emptiness.

    A tough winter rose traps
    the straggling rays of light.

    Marjorie Garvey is a Child Neurologist living in Washington, DC. She received her medical degree from Trinity College, Dublin. One early inspiration was hearing Seamus Heaney read his poetry to her high school class. “Lamentation” arises from the poet’s reading of Ephesians 4:25-32.

    Posted: 05 January 2022

  • Light Is His Shadow by Peter Venable

    Light Is His Shadow

    I pause in the sanctuary, beholding
    a huge stained-glass window . . .
    Joseph leaning, watching—
    Mary in blue, sitting, cradling her baby—
    sunlight blazes through Jesus’ head,
    searing my eyes. I slam shut
    a fiery brand on my retina—

    His light so bright
    I cannot gaze upon Him.

    Must step aside
    and adore Him
    in sanctuary shade.

    Peter Venable lives in Winston-Salem, South Carolina, and has had poetry appear in such publications as Anglican Theological Review, Christian Century, and Ekstasis. This poem is drawn from the poet’s reflections on Ephesians 5:13.

    Posted: 15 December 2021

  • The Idea of It by Brad Davis

    The Idea of It

    Ephesians 4:10

    What is good beyond
    measure has begun, is now

    and ever shall be good
    beyond all math and music, dance

    and words and drama—beyond all smoke
    and mirrors and manual acts.

    The crack in the air
    where the light shines through

    is the body of Immanuel—
    changed and raised, ascended, new—

    and in this light we see the very
    good made good beyond even all imagining.

    Brad Davis lives in Putnam, Connecticut. His latest book is Trespassing on the Mount of Olives (2021, Poiema/Cascade), which includes a poem which first appeared in Poems for Ephesians.

    Posted: 01 December 2021

  • When Two Become One by Anne Laidlaw

    When Two Become One

    Like Mary, a woman caught slacking in serving skills, accused by assumption
    that she lost the home-coming role.

    Like she, who is bruised, so politely, behind closed doors, unable to genuflect
    on cue and her tongue bitten dry with silence.

    When two become one, he surrenders first ― his body to me and crosses my
    frozen precipice of fear and his self-death invites our vow.

    Then the loom of love weaves warp and weft. Two candles lean in and the
    kisses of our flames fuse.

    He genuflects to wash my feet and gives me time to gather what music I need
    to step towards him in our dance.

    Our melody is a waltz for two. His leading yields my feet in reassurance across
    the marriage floor.

    Anne Laidlaw is an artist, poet, and writer ― originally from Edinburgh, Scotland ― who lives in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. She has taught art intermittently at the Art Gallery of Algoma. This poem relates to Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 5.

    Posted: 17 November 2021

  • In Praise of the Light by Maryanne Hannan

    In Praise of the Light

    ———–Ephesians 5:13-14

    Wait for the Pauline paradox:
    All things that are reproved are made manifest by the light
    Breathe deep its depth:
    For whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
    The rounds of linguistic richness
    Which steady our shadow dwelling ways
    These words- let’s remember-
    Fishermen diction, a small supply,
    The common, vernacular, koiné
    Used and reused,
    A scarcity for the work at hand,
    Laying in layers, the paradox
    We ponder now, with fragile
    Well-worked nets, breaking under the weight
    Of subtle Substance. As we waken
    Into the light, Paul needs few words:
    ἐπιφαύσει, epiphanies on you, σοι
    ὁ Χριστός: The Christ.

    Maryanne Hannan is a former Latin teacher, and the author of Rocking Like It’s All Intermezzo: 21st Century Responsorial Psalms (Resource Publications, 2019).

    Posted: 03 November 2021

  • Ephesus at Sunset by Paul J. Pastor

    Ephesus at Sunset

    1.
    Alkaline song in my acid mouth,
    the Christ-hymn spills, a dear free
    going of words, of praise-barks
    slung slobberwise, as if I am a dog
    who’s caught his master’s scent:
    you came you came you came,

    and I have gone all clumsy in the tongue,
    gone flop, gone adolescent in my joy, every
    limb tripping every other limb

    because I see a star come over the horizon
    just now, a star that speaks only its own name
    then mine, each syllable a prism of ground glass,
    slinging light, each syllable a humming crystal egg, a snapping diode,
    an alkaline song.

    2.
    Then I was elbow-deep in dishwater.
    I looked up
    as sunset light just caught
    a spider on her window-web, as she
    (backlit) tiptoed up her tightrope
    to a sac of eggs just at the hatch, where
    silhouetted like a shadow puppet
    from the mahogany islands, she waved
    her frontward legs, welcoming
    her dear immortal young who spilled out
    the worn and flattering bag, rejoicing, rejoicing
    we came we came we came,
    “and this,” I thought (all soapy at the wrists),
    “is a type, a revelation, this” (rinsing a chipped bowl)
    “is Christ.”

    3.
    In other ages this was not known,
    and even now is quite forgotten (how few
    words it takes to tell the Mystery),
    but it is all here, all in this first love
    from which we either fall
    or trip upon, trip on upward,
    all us eight-legged puppies come happy to the hatch,
    to our first boad glimpse of Mother-master, that star in burning web,
    that maiden-cry, that blossom and that slit,
    that sword dragged sharp on sidewalk brick,
    that soap froth shaken in a filthy cup,
    that sunset for the world, which shall turn to
    our last and backward dawn:
    ————————————————become become become.

    Paul J. Pastor is an Oregon writer, and author of the poetry collection Bower Lodge which will be launched by Fernwood Press in December. This poem, which first appeared in Solum, is influenced by what Pastor calls, “Paul’s colossal run-on sentence in the Greek” of  Epheisans 1:3-14.

    Posted: 20 October 2021

  • Stillborn by Margo Swiss

    Stillborn

    Awake thou that sleepest. Arise from the dead,
    and Christ shall give thee light.
    (Ephesians 5.14)

    One dark night
    I heard You speak and knew
    that voice was none but You.
    But so dog-tired and too far gone to rise
    I beggared off pledging to write
    another night.

    Days then passed and only now
    Do I recall what I forgot that
    You so kindly all for-
    ————————-gave those precious words spilling into
    ————————-lines a little poem let go
    ————————-come to not or even worse
    ————————-what might have been in time
    ————————-a sacred verse mis-
    ———————————————–carried now
    ———————————————–your stillborn art
    ———————————————–bleeds away in tears

    ———————————————–my heart cries
    ———————————————–to rouse itself
    ———————————————–awake.

    Margo Swiss is a Toronto poet whose most-recent poetry book is Second Gaze (2020, St. Thomas Poetry Series). This poem is from this new collection.

    Posted: 06 October 2021

  • A Dialogue, between the Resolved Soul and Created Pleasure by Andrew Marvell

    A Dialogue, between the Resolved Soul and Created Pleasure

    Courage, my Soul, now learn to wield
    The weight of thine immortal shield.
    Close on thy head thy helmet bright.
    Balance thy sword against the fight.
    See where an army, strong as fair,
    With silken banners spreads the air.
    Now, if thou be’st that thing divine,
    In this day’s combat let it shine:
    And show that Nature wants an art
    To conquer one resolvèd heart.

    PLEASURE
    Welcome the creation’s guest,
    Lord of earth, and heaven’s heir.
    Lay aside that warlike crest,
    And of Nature’s banquet share:
    Where the souls of fruits and flowers
    Stand prepared to heighten yours.

    SOUL
    I sup above, and cannot stay
    To bait so long upon the way.

    PLEASURE
    On these downy pillows lie,
    Whose soft plumes will thither fly:
    On these roses strewed so plain
    Lest one leaf thy side should strain.

    SOUL
    My gentler rest is on a thought,
    Conscious of doing what I ought.

    PLEASURE
    If thou be’st with perfumes pleased,
    Such as oft the gods appeased,
    Thou in fragrant clouds shalt show
    Like another god below.

    SOUL
    A soul that knows not to presume
    Is heaven’s and its own perfume.

    PLEASURE
    Everything does seem to vie
    Which should first attract thine eye:
    But since none deserves that grace,
    In this crystal view thy face.

    SOUL
    When the Creator’s skill is prized,
    The rest is all but earth disguised.

    PLEASURE
    Hark how music then prepares
    For thy stay these charming airs;
    Which the posting winds recall,
    And suspend the river’s fall.

    SOUL
    Had I but any time to lose,
    On this I would it all dispose.
    Cease, tempter. None can chain a mind
    Whom this sweet chordage cannot bind.

    CHORUS
    Earth cannot show so brave a sight
    As when a single soul does fence
    The batteries of alluring sense,
    And heaven views it with delight.
    Then persevere: for still new charges sound:
    And if thou overcom’st, thou shalt be crowned.

    PLEASURE
    All this fair, and soft, and sweet,
    Which scatteringly doth shine,
    Shall within one beauty meet,
    And she be only thine.

    SOUL
    If things of sight such heavens be,
    What heavens are those we cannot see?

    PLEASURE
    Wheresoe’er thy foot shall go
    The minted gold shall lie,
    Till thou purchase all below,
    And want new worlds to buy.

    SOUL
    Were’t not a price, who’d value gold?
    And that’s worth naught that can be sold.

    PLEASURE
    Wilt thou all the glory have
    That war or peace commend?
    Half the world shall be thy slave
    The other half thy friend.

    SOUL
    What friends, if to my self untrue!
    What slaves, unless I captive you!

    PLEASURE
    Thou shalt know each hidden cause;
    And see the future time:
    Try what depth the centre draws;
    And then to heaven climb.

    SOUL
    None thither mounts by the degree
    Of knowledge, but humility.

    CHORUS
    Triumph, triumph, victorious Soul;
    The world has not one pleasure more:
    The rest does lie beyond the Pole,
    And is thine everlasting store.

    Andrew Marvel (1621—1678) is an English Metaphysical poet. The shield, helmet and sword in the opening of this poem, and the conflict throughout, relates to Ephesians 6:13-17.

    Posted: 15 September 2021

  • Blessing For Humanitarian Disaster Relief by Karen An-hwei Lee

    Blessing For Humanitarian Disaster Relief

    Dear Jesus, we survived a year in a world weary
    of its capacity for disaster— economic recession,
    a pandemic of asphyxiation, the loss of millions—
    no one knew how it began, how it would ever end,
    whether we might vanquish a virus with variants
    when our makeshift clinics run out of ventilators.
    The world and its catastrophes tilts in darkness:
    Every solo hour of the day yields enough trouble—
    we need not ever seek flame: there is famine and fire
    throughout the land flooded by a ruthless storm
    of unknowing that arrives with misery in the night.
    God put the world on pause— and for what purpose?
    To draw near to Christ, who draws near to suffering,
    who endured afflictions while ministering on earth.
    Say there comes a day after a year in the anthropause
    when Jesus shows up, yet no one is watching? Maybe
    the world will pay attention at last: righteousness
    shall blossom: the oppressor will no longer oppress:
    hungry hearts shall be fed by an avalanche of love,
    as the apostle says: for we wrestle not against flesh
    and blood but against principalities, against powers,
    against the rulers of the darkness of this world.
    We shall serve as humble agents under the mercy,
    spreading the fragrance of Christ wherever we go.
    Bless our eyes to see, our tongues to sing, our ears
    to listen, our hands to heal, and soles of our feet
    going into this world of tumult, war, and disaster.

    Karen An-hwei Lee is the author of Rose is a Verb: Neo-Georgics (2021, Wipf & Stock/Slant Books). The scriptural quote in this poem is from Ephesians 6:12. Her work has recently been featured on Kingdom Poets.

    Posted: 01 September 2021

  • Tenebrism Again, In Relief by Desmond Kon

    Tenebrism Again, In Relief

    “Love is not consolation. It is light.”
    ——————————-― Simone Weil

    In Caravaggio’s own words: Amor Vincit Omnia.

    It must have been an ode to Virgil’s Eclogue X,
    how Virgil has returned to his home village, Andes.

    Look at the different cut and strain of logic here.

    Fact is: the unilinear is an unreasonable expectation of art.

    Virgil was his own guide,
    the long trek from Milan up north to the flatland of Mantua.

    The Latin in translation: [That] Love conquers all.

    The love has remained capitalized,
    an effect I find something of an earned appearance
    and purchase for my poetry these days.

    Did I actually just confess
    that remote intentionality, that aesthetic
    ——————denial-and-removal-turned-allowance?

    Look at Caravaggio’s Deposition of Christ.
    It hangs, like history, in the Vatican Pinacoteca.

    ———Christ’s body,
    ———luminous skin defying every working
    ——————of light, its effortless rise and fall
    ——————like nature,
    ——————its owned and abstract rhythms,
    ———the way light travels in logical directions.

    [I never minded the monologic, if it brought me Truth.]

    The fourth wall breaks,
    entire scene—descent from the Cross—foregrounded.

    Foreshortened tomb ledge, and bent elbow.

    These Baroque artists knew how to collapse
    the inside-outside within canvas
    ———with the real outside—of our evolving world.

    We watch tradition, animated through light and dark.

    Willing or not, we are involved
    ——————vis-à-vis our closed-in gaze.

    What character do we allow ourselves to become thus?

    What narrator, what person beyond the mouthed,
    the made known?

    Mere accessory-in-waiting, ready to help.

    —————————God forbid, an antagonist.

    ——————Maybe adherent and aide;
    ——————spreader of the faith
    —————————like in the good old days.

    ——————What beloved, given apostolate then?

    ——————What lyric calling for today?

    Desmond Francis Xavier Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé is the Singapore author of eighteen books, including his memoir The Good Day I Died (Penguin) and his most recent poetry collection Found Texts of the AAI Anon, Circa 3119 (Ethos Books, 2020). He helms Squircle Line Press, and can be found at: desmondkon.com. This poem is inspired by Ephesians 1:18-23.

    Posted: 18 August 2021

  • The Loadstone by Francis Quarles

    The Loadstone

    Eternal God! O Thou that only art
    The sacred fountain of eternal light,
    And blessed loadstone of my better part,
    O Thou my heart’s desire, my soul’s delight!
    Reflect upon my soul, and touch my heart;
    And then my heart shall prize no good above Thee,
    And then my soul shall know Thee; knowing, love Thee;
    And then my trembling thoughts shall never start
    From thy commands, or swerve the least degree,
    Or once presume to move, but as they move in Thee.

    Francis Quarles (1592–1644) was appointed cupbearer to Princess Elizabeth — the daughter of England’s James I in 1613. The poet here expresses what is in his heart, which is what Paul desires for the church in Ephesians 3:17.

    Posted: 04 August 2021

  • Apples by Andrew Lansdown

    Apples

    and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound ― Ephesians 5:31-32

    She lifts her long skirt
    to cradle the windfalls.
    Her legs are very white,
    like the flesh of apples.

    Some things about women
    a woman can never know.
    Else she would not stand
    with her skirt caught up.

    Or she would more often.
    She stands in the shade
    of the laden tree, unaware
    I am aware of her legs.

    Beloved, even the apples
    are blushing in your lap.

    Andrew Lansdown is the author of 15 poetry books ― most recent of which is Abundance: New & Selected Poems (2020, Poiema/Cascade). He is one of Australia’s most-significant poets.

    Posted: 21 July 2021

  • Church by Les Murray

    Church

    i.m. Joseph Brodsky

    The wish to be right
    has decamped in large numbers
    but some come to God
    in hopes of being wrong.

    High on the end wall hangs
    the Gospel, from before he was books.
    All judging ends in his fix,
    all, including his own.

    He rose out of Jewish,
    not English evolution
    and he said the lamp he held
    aloft to all nations was Jewish.

    Freedom still eats freedom,
    justice eats justice, love –
    even love. One retarded man said
    church makes me want to be naughty,

    but naked in a muddy trench
    with many thousands, someone’s saying
    the true god gives his flesh and blood.
    Idols demand yours off you.

    Les Murray (1938—2019) is considered the leading Australian poet of his generation. This poem relates to the truths found in Ephesians 4:17—24.

    Posted: 07 July 2021

  • Praying by Mary Oliver

    Praying

    It doesn’t have to be
    the blue iris, it could be
    weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
    small stones; just
    pay attention, then patch

    a few words together and don’t try
    to make them elaborate, this isn’t
    a contest but the doorway

    into thanks, and a silence in which
    another voice may speak.

    Mary Oliver (1935—2019) is one of the best-selling contemporary poets in the United States. This poem, which is from her collection Thirst (2006,Beacon Press), works as a fine companion piece to Ephesians 3:12.

    Posted: 16 June 2021

  • Paradiso by Dante Alighieri

    from Paradiso―Canto XXVIII

    (The Ninth Heaven: the Primum Mobile. The nine luminous circles of the angelic hierarchies. Their revolutions around a Point. Beatrice’s explanation. The celestial hierarchy. The correct angelology of Dionysius and the mistake of St. Gregory.)

    And she who saw my mind’s perplexities
    said: “The first circles have displayed to you
    the Seraphim and Cherubim. They follow

    the ties of love with such rapidity
    because they are as like the Point as creatures
    can be, a power dependent on their vision.

    Those other loves that circle round them are
    called Thrones of the divine aspect, because
    they terminated the first group of three;….

    The second triad—blossoming in this
    eternal springtime that the nightly Ram
    does not despoil—perpetually sings

    ‘Hosanna’ with three melodies that sound
    in the three ranks of bliss that form this triad;
    within this hierarchy there are three

    kinds of divinities: first, the Dominions,
    and then the Virtues; and the final order
    contains the Powers. The two penultimate

    groups of rejoicing ones within the next
    triad are wheeling Principalities
    and the Archangels; last, the playful Angels.

    These orders all direct—ecstatically—
    their eyes on high; and downward, they exert
    such force that all are drawn and draw to God.

    Dante Alighieri (1265—1321) has laid out here the nine ranks of angelic beings, which comes from the medieval interpretation of Ephesians 1:21, and Colossians 1:16. This translation of Paradiso is from Allen Mandelbaum.

    Posted: 02 June 2021

  • The Bat by Jane Kenyon

    The Bat

    I was reading about rationalism,
    the kind of thing we do up north
    in early winter, where the sun
    leaves work for the day at 4:15

    Maybe the world is intelligible
    to the rational mind;
    and maybe we light the lamps at dusk
    for nothing…

    Then I heard the wings overhead.

    The cats and I chased the bat
    in circles—living room, kitchen,
    pantry, kitchen, living room…
    At every turn it evaded us

    like the identity of the third person
    in the Trinity: the one
    who spoke through the prophets,
    the one who astounded Mary
    by suddenly coming near.

    Jane Kenyon (1947―1995) is an American poet who was married to poet Donald Hall (1928―2018). She was Poet Laureate of New Hampshire when she died of leukemia. Every chapter in Ephesians speaks of the influence of the Holy Spirit, who both draws near, and yet remains a mystery.

    Posted: 19 May 2021

  • A Quintina Of Crosses by Chad Walsh

    A Quintina Of Crosses

    Beyond, beneath, within, wherever blood,
    If there were blood, flows with the pulse of love,
    Where God’s circle and all orbits cross,
    Through the black space of death to baby life
    Came God, planting the secret genes of God.

    By the permission of a maiden’s love,
    Love came upon the seeds of words, broke blood,
    And howled into the Palestine of life,
    A baby roiled by memories of God.
    Sometimes he smiled, sometimes the child was cross.

    Often at night he dreamed a dream of God
    And was the dream he dreamed. Often across
    The lily fields he raged and lived their life,
    And Heaven’s poison festered in his blood,
    Loosing the passion of unthinkable love.

    But mostly, though, he lived a prentice’s life
    Until a singing in the surge of blood,
    Making a chorus of the genes of God,
    Flailed him into the tempest of a love
    That lashed the North Star and the Southern Cross.

    His neighbors smelled an alien in his blood,
    A secret enemy and double life;
    He was a mutant on an obscene cross
    Outraging decency with naked love.
    He stripped the last rags from a proper God.

    The life of God must blood this cross for love.

    Chad Walsh (1914—1991) taught at Beloit College for more than 30 years, and authored more than 20 books. This poem expresses truths found in Ephesians 1:4-8. A quintina is a poetic form, similar to a sestina, but with five-line stanzas featuring five required end words.

    Posted: 05 May 2021

  • Siesta by George Whipple

    Siesta

    ——————― for Margaret Avison

    Infolded like a fieldmouse in warm hay
    while gnats negotiate the price of wheat,
    I grab a little shut-eye, drown
    in white delicious underworlds of sleep.

    Parched otiose two-legged lust-crazed spit,
    I whisper softly to sweet ears of corn,
    and enter ant hill churches with a slow
    sad eye explores the looking grass.

    Although I join my foster mother, earth,
    am pitchforked into dogbone-buried clay,
    I trust my rising to the Paraclete
    who mends the leaky milkpail of my soul

    ―as in some muddy ditch a shining frog
    slowly hatches in the tadpole mind of God.

    George Whipple (1927—2014) is a Canadian poet who authored many collections. His papers and other works are archived in the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. The turn in this sonnet draws its authority from Ephesians 1:13.

    Posted: 21 April 2021

  • Vegetable Patch by Luci Shaw

    Vegetable Patch

    “Rooted and grounded in love” ― Ephesians 3: 17

    Spring, and we are flush with the energy
    of hope. It’s growing season again, and this week,
    as I kneel in the soil next to a budding bulb,
    or even my ancient, perennial rhubarb, I find
    myself (and that word feels right: I find my self)
    as if I were as rooted and perennial as this
    living thing. When a minor underground upsurge
    shows a flourish of green leaves and stalks
    red as wine it’s as if I too am bursting free
    after a long, icy winter.

    Root is a word of promise, proof that life prepares
    to thrust itself up into the light, carrying
    the energy of hope. Jesus prefigured this
    miracle of rising—telling us that only as a small,
    dry seed dies will it thrust out its root tendril,
    its declaration of intent to grow and thrive.

    As those rhubarb stems yielded to the knife,
    may I now yield to the harvesting hand that has
    rooted me, and lifts me now from the earth.

    Luci Shaw is the author of 36 books ― 16 of which are her own poetry collections (by my count). She has been Writer-in-Residence at Regent College in Vancouver since 1986, and is the 2013 recipient of the Denise Levertov Award. Her most recent collection is The Generosity (2020, Paraclete Press).

    Posted: 14 April 2021

  • Anguish by Henry Vaughan

    Anguish

    My God and King! to Thee
    I bow my knee;
    I bow my troubled soul, and greet
    With my foul heart thy holy feet.
    Cast it, or tread it! it shall do
    Even what thou wilt, and praise thee too.

    My God, could I weep blood,
    Gladly I would,
    Or if thou wilt give me that art,
    Which through the eyes pours out the heart,
    I will exhaust it all, and make
    Myself all tears, a weeping lake.

    O! ’tis an easy thing
    To write and sing;
    But to write true, unfeigned verse
    Is very hard! O God, disperse
    These weights, and give my spirit leave
    To act as well as to conceive!

    ———O my God, hear my cry;
    ————–Or let me die!

    Henry Vaughan (1622―1695) is a Welsh metaphysical poet. He expresses his desire here, like in Ephesians 4:12 and the surrounding verses, that he would be equipped to serve God and his people through the gift God has given to him.

    Posted: 07 April 2021

  • On Old Women by Czeslaw Milosz

    On Old Women

    Invisible, dressed in clothes too big for me,
    I take a walk, pretending I am a detached mind.

    What country is this? Funeral wreaths, devalued medals,
    a general avoidance of remembering what happened.

    I think of you, old women, silently fingering past days
    of your lives like the beads of your rosaries.

    It had to be suffered, endured, managed.
    One had to wait and not wait, one had to.

    I send my prayers for you to the Highest, helped
    by your faces in old photographs.

    May the day of your death not be a day of hopelessness,
    but of trust in the light that shines through earthly forms.

    Czeslaw Milosz (1911—2004) is a Polish poet who won the Nobel Prize in 1980. This poem is from his collection Second Space and relates to Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:18.

    Posted: 31 March 2021

  • The Power to Grasp by Rena Ong

    The Power to Grasp

    The giant Octopus, tentacles unfolding
    in its inky blackness, dwells in
    the sonar-calculated depths, stretching its skin,
    umbrella-like as if towards infinity.

    The universe itself, with its cloak of stars
    expands throughout space, where Hubble’s law
    and telescope try to measure its height and breadth.

    How does one measure the unfathomable,
    the One with no beginning or end, with whom
    all known measurements are irrelevant, for whom
    time itself does not exist?

    Rena Ong is from England, yet has lived in Singapore for many years with her Singaporean husband. She has poetry forthcoming in Ekstasis. This poem arose from Paul’s words in Ephesians 3:18.

    Posted: 24 March 2021

  • Letter to Lewis Smedes about God's Presence by Rod Jellema

    Letter to Lewis Smedes about God’s Presence

    I have to look in cracks and crevices.
    Don’t tell me how God’s mercy
    is as wide as the ocean, as deep as the sea.
    I already believe it, but that infinite prospect
    gets farther away the more we mouth it.
    I thank you for lamenting his absences —
    from marriages going mad, from the deaths
    of your son and mine, from the inescapable
    terrors of history: Treblinka. Viet Nam.
    September Eleven. It’s hard to celebrate
    his invisible Presence in the sacrament
    while seeing his visible absence from the world.

    This must be why mystics and poets record
    the slender incursions of splintered light,
    echoes, fragments, odd words and phrases
    like flashes through darkened hallways.
    These stabs remind me that the proud
    and portly old church is really only
    that cut green slip grafted into a tiny nick
    that merciful God himself slit into the stem
    of His chosen Judah. The thin and tenuous
    thread we hang by, so astonishing,
    is the metaphor I need at the shoreline
    of all those immeasurable oceans of love.

    Adapted from an e-mail discussion, Summer 2002

    Rod Jellema (1927—2018) founded the Creative Writing Program at the University of Maryland, and is the author of Incarnality: The Collected Poems (2010, Eerdmans). This poem echoes Ephesians 2:4.

    Posted: 17 March 2021

  • The Other by R.S. Thomas

    The Other

    There are nights that are so still
    that I can hear the small owl calling
    far off and a fox barking
    miles away. It is then that I lie
    in the lean hours awake listening
    to the swell born somewhere in the Atlantic
    rising and falling, rising and falling
    wave on wave on the long shore
    by the village that is without light
    and companionless. And the thought comes
    of that other being who is awake, too,
    letting our prayers break on him,
    not like this for a few hours,
    but for days, years, for eternity.

    R.S. Thomas (1913―2000) is a Welsh poet and Anglican priest who spent his life in the rural parishes of the hill country in Wales. In 1964 he won the Queen’s Gold Medal for poetry. This poem reflects the truth of Ephesians 3:12.

    Posted: 10 March 2021

  • Some Words by Violet Nesdoly

    Some Words

    I can think a thing a long time
    with the words going
    round and round
    inside my head
    like the gray gruel
    mixing in a cement truck

    but once I say those thoughts
    once those words
    escape my mouth
    pour out
    become exposed to air
    everything changes.

    The minute they’re out
    they start to solidify.
    Too late now
    to scoop them up
    shove them back
    into the place they came from

    for they’ve already begun
    to work their alchemy
    changing the elements
    inside me, inside you

    hardening—
    a shameful statue
    a concrete wall
    a sad gray memorial
    between us.

    Violet Nesdoly is a poet, writer, and visual artist living in Langley, British Columbia. This poem is from her 2004 chapbook Calendar (now a free download from Smashwords). Ephesians 4:31 (NKJV) – “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” Violet’s newest novel Under the Cloud appeared in 2020.

    Posted: 03 March 2021

  • Apology by Vassar Miller

    Apology

    My mortal love’s a rabbit skin
    That will not reach around your bones
    To charm the chill, to wrap you in
    Against the wind whose undertones
    Are death, or snow whose flakes are stones.
    My word will never do for thread
    To knit you garments snug and tight
    Though I would fold you foot and head
    Against the frost-fangs of the night
    Killing whatever rose they bite.
    My will is not enough to stretch
    The tattered pelt around us two.
    Pity, with each of us a wretch,
    Comes dyed my hurt’s deceitful hue
    As rag for me, not robe for you.
    The only comfort under which
    Our naked souls may crouch together
    Only immortal love, all-rich
    In warmer wool than fleece, can stitch.

    Vassar Miller (1924–1998) twice served as Poet Laureate of Texas. She lived her whole life with cerebral palsy. This poem reflects scriptural teaching on love, including that in Ephesians 3:17-19. This poem is from her first book, Adam’s Footprint (1956).

    Posted: 24 February 2021

  • Love (1) by George Herbert

    Love (1)

    Immortal Love, author of this great frame,
    Sprung from that beauty which can never fade,
    How hath man parcel’d out Thy glorious name,
    And thrown it on that dust which Thou hast made,
    While mortal love doth all the title gain!
    Which siding with Invention, they together
    Bear all the sway, possessing heart and brain,
    (Thy workmanship) and give Thee share in neither.
    Wit fancies beauty, beauty raiseth wit;
    The world is theirs, they two play out the game,
    Thou standing by: and though Thy glorious name
    Wrought our deliverance from th’ infernal pit,
    Who sings Thy praise? Only a scarf or glove
    Doth warm our hands, and make them write of love.

    George Herbert (1593—1633) is an influential metaphysical poet, whose collection The Temple appeared shortly after his death. The word “workmanship” (the Greek word poiema meaning “the thing made”) refers to Ephesians 2:10 as it appears in the King James Version.

    Posted: 17 February 2021

  • Paul by Fred Allen

    Paul

    Crystalline intellect!
    Diamond sheer clarity!
    Dynamo-drive engine
    —————-of the Almighty!
    What forces intersect,
    What electricity,
    That you convulse to win—
    —————-no, to wrench us free?

    Magnificent torrent!
    Brilliant bright ascension!
    Incandescent cloudburst
    —————-of apprehension!
    Dazzling brainstorms torment
    Thorny flesh, spark tension—
    Turbulent truth dispersed
    —————-flaring like the sun!

    Such joy to be devoured
    By a voracious God!
    Wrung empty, shell shattered
    —————-by his ruthless claim!
    Broken and empowered,
    Budded like Aaron’s rod,
    You badger the scattered
    —————-felons toward the flame.

    Fred Allen lives in Salem, Oregon, and taught for many years at George Fox University. He has just published his new poetry collection Fool’s Gold through Lulu. This poem was inspired through the poet’s reading of Ephesians.

    Posted: 10 February 2021

  • Paul Discusses His Healings at Ephesus by Tania Runyan

    Paul Discusses His Healings at Ephesus

    Acts 19:11-12

    The dove that descended on Christ
    and now makes his nest in my body

    strains his wings against the walls
    of my chest. I coax him out

    of my fingertips―flight of heaven,
    come―until he blazes through

    with my skin on his claws.
    People thrust fabric before me,

    and when the Spirit sweeps down
    I feel myself enter the wave:

    the handkerchief a woman will wrap
    around her husband’s palsied hand,

    the blanket the mother will press
    to her baby’s violet lips. A child falls

    at my feet with his mother’s apron.
    She is trying to get the baby out

    but only blood is coming.
    I hold this cloth to my face and weep

    Into the birth fluid and blood,
    the smoke from last night’s meal.

    As night falls, I feel it is I in their home―
    not the apron, but my own hands draped

    over the whimpering pulse in her wrists
    as the baby screams in the corner for milk

    and the father splits me with his stares,
    wondering, Spirit, if we will come through.

    Tania Runyan is the author of five poetry collections, including What Will Soon Take Place (Paraclete) and Second Sky (Poiema/Cascade). She was the first poet featured on Poems For Ephesians.

    Posted: 03 February 2021

  • Blue Jay Scamper by Pier Giorgio Di Cicco

    Blue Jay Scamper

    Thank you for this day
    in which I am not dead

    but figuring
    how to be in a hostile world
    by an act of faith.

    Thank you then for ageing sunlight
    and dandelions that look northward to my eyes

    and for the plain look of me.

    Between gratitude and peacelessness I sally,
    abandoning one music for another.

    Though I seek to be safe in
    the furniture of the world,
    I wish to speak
    your heart;

    to know simply
    Your presence
    among us.

    Pier Giorgio Di Cicco (1949―2019) is the former Poet Laureate of Toronto. This poem is from his collection Names of Blessing, and reflects Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:4 ff.

    Posted: 27 January 2021

  • Come, My Soul, Thy Suit Prepare by John Newton

    Come, My Soul, Thy Suit Prepare

    Come, my soul, thy suit prepare;
    Jesus loves to answer prayer:
    He Himself has bid thee pray,
    Therefore will not say thee nay.

    Thou art coming to a King,
    Large petitions with thee bring;
    For his grace and power are such,
    None can ever ask too much.

    With my burden I begin;
    Lord, remove this load of sin;
    Let Thy blood, for sinners spilt,
    Set my conscience free from guilt.

    Lord, I come to Thee for rest;
    Take possession of my breast;
    There Thy blood-bought right maintain,
    And without a rival reign.

    As the image in the glass
    Answers the beholder’s face;
    Thus unto my heart appear,
    Print Thine own resemblance there.

    While I am a pilgrim here,
    Let Thy love my spirit cheer;
    As my Guide, my Guard, my Friend,
    Lead me to my journey’s end.

    Show me what I have to do,
    every hour my strength renew:
    let me live a life of faith,
    let me die thy people’s death.

    John Newton (1725–1807) wrote perhaps the world’s most-famous hymn, “Amazing Grace.” He went from being a slave ship captain to being a prominent abolitionist. The above hymn reflects Paul’s thoughts from Ephesians 3:8.

    Posted: 20 January 2021

  • Hierarchy by Marjorie Maddox

    Hierarchy

    ———-Ephesians 1:2; 3:7, 8, 13-15, 20

    Less than
    Paul’s less than
    the least of all saints,

    I full-swoon tribulations,
    melodramatically tumble off
    the pedestals of grace,

    arrive sprawled and spread-eagled
    in the Victorian-style parlor
    of “Peace be with you.”

    Cut off at my once-bowed knees,
    I’ve lost sight of any inner woman
    in need of strengthening what once

    was Sabbath-strong by the effectual power
    of His working but now in need
    of stones and less than

    ———-his less than
    ——————–the least of all saints
    full swoon——————tumbling

    ———-cut off
    less than
    ———-Paul’s less than

    unable to do exceeding abundantly
    ———-the least.
    ——————–Peace be with

    all the less than’s,
    grace fainting daily
    into Amen,

    ———-into above all
    that we ask,
    ———-cry, think;

    grace be to you the less-than’s, the
    broken, and daily pieces of peace.

    Marjorie Maddox is director of Loch Haven University’s Creative Writing Program. Her most-recent books include Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Reading Poems (2020, Kelsay), and the children’s book I’m Feeling Blue, Too! (2020, Wipf & Stock). This poem previously appeared in Mockingbird.

    Posted: 13 January 2021

  • Soldiers of Christ, Arise by Charles Wesley

    Soldiers Of Christ, Arise

    Soldiers of Christ, arise,
    and put your armour on,
    strong in the strength which God supplies
    through his eternal Son.
    Strong in the Lord of hosts,
    and in his mighty power,
    who in the strength of Jesus trusts
    is more than conqueror.

    Stand then in his great might,
    with all his strength endued;
    but take, to arm you for the fight,
    the panoply of God.
    Leave no unguarded place,
    no weakness of the soul;
    take every virtue, every grace,
    and fortify the whole.

    To keep your armour bright,
    attend with constant care;
    still walking in your Captain’s sight,
    and watching unto prayer.
    From strength to strength go on;
    wrestle and fight and pray;
    tread all the powers of darkness down,
    and win the well-fought day.

    Charles Wesley (1707–1788) was the most-popular hymn writer of his day. Together with his brother John, they were central figures in the Methodist movement which swept Britain. These lyrics rose out of Ephesians 6:10-18.

    Posted: 06 January 2021

  • O God Of Earth And Altar by G.K. Chesterton

    O God Of Earth And Altar

    O God of earth and altar,
    bow down and hear our cry,
    our earthly rulers falter,
    our people drift and die;
    the walls of gold entomb us,
    the swords of scorn divide,
    take not thy thunder from us,
    but take away our pride.

    From all that terror teaches,
    from lies of tongue and pen,
    from all the easy speeches
    that comfort cruel men,
    from sale and profanation
    of honour, and the sword,
    from sleep and from damnation,
    deliver us, good Lord!

    Tie in a living tether
    the prince and priest and thrall,
    bind all our lives together,
    smite us and save us all;
    in ire and exultation
    aflame with faith, and free,
    lift up a living nation,
    a single sword to thee.

    G.K. Chesterton (1874―1936) is an important Christian intellectual, known for his fiction including The Man Who Was Thursday (1908), and his popular mystery stories featuring Father Brown (a character misappropriated by a recent TV series). This poem echoes Ephesians 5:6-14, and many other passages.

    Posted: 30 December 2020

  • First Coming by Madeleine L’Engle

    First Coming

    He did not wait till the world was ready,
    till men and nations were at peace.
    He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
    and prisoners cried out for release.

    He did not wait for the perfect time.
    He came when the need was deep and great.
    He dined with sinners in all their grime,
    turned water into wine.

    He did not wait till hearts were pure.
    In joy he came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
    To a world like ours, of anguished shame
    he came, and his Light would not go out.

    He came to a world which did not mesh,
    to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
    In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
    the Maker of the stars was born.

    We cannot wait till the world is sane
    to raise our songs with joyful voice,
    for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
    He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

    Madeleine L’Engle (1918—2007) is best known for her Newbery Medal winning novel A Wrinkle in Time. Although she may not have been specifically thinking of Ephesians 3:4-6 when she wrote this poem, the “mystery” spoken of here is one and the same.

    Posted: 23 December 2020

  • Eternal by Pat Connors

    Eternal

    “…and grace will lead me home.”
    Amazing Grace, John Newton

    Under grey November skies
    which winter follows close behind

    the leader of the free world
    will not admit he lost the election

    the premier of Ontario sacrifices
    our health to feed the machine

    and a 12-year-old boy out with his mother
    is shot dead in gangster crossfire.

    For the love of God, which we can’t earn
    we must resist the powers of darkness

    until the end of their unfolding
    becomes the beginning of true light.

    In a world where a beautiful boy
    paid for sins he didn’t commit

    let us hold him close in our hearts
    and leave the rest to the Lord.

    Pat Connors’ first chapbook, Scarborough Songs, was published by Lyricalmyrical Press in 2013. His first full manuscript, The Other Life, is about to be released by Mosaic Press. He mentions several Ephesians passages as having influenced “Eternal” (1:7, 2:2, 4:18, 5:2, and 5:8).

    Posted: 16 December 2020

  • Prayer by Andrew Lansdown

    Prayer

    remembering you in my prayers – Ephesians 1:16

    Oh, for my mother in her pain,
    Almighty and all-loving Lord,
    I come to plead with you again.

    For years her body’s been a bane
    That’s put all gladness to the sword:
    Oh, for my mother in her pain!

    Too much misery makes a stain
    To black all light and block all laud:
    I come to plead with you again.

    Today at least relieve the strain
    And give reprieve as a reward,
    Oh, for my mother in her pain.

    I know there is no other Name.
    Despite the fact my faith is flawed,
    I come to plead with you again.

    Although my many sins maintain
    That I deserve to be ignored—
    Oh, for my mother in her pain
    I come to plead with you again!

    Andrew Lansdown is a major Australian poet. This poem appears in his new book Abundance: New & Selected Poems (Poiema/Cascade) which just appeared on December 1st. I am honoured to have worked with Andrew on editing this collection.

    Posted: 09 December 2020

  • Even So, God by Kaitlyn Hogeterp

    Even So, God

    am i dead,
    suffocated
    stiff &
    still?

    am i paralyzed,
    senseless
    stolid &
    enslaved?

    am i a stone,
    lifeless
    callous &
    chilled?

    full of error,
    empty of truth,
    a shrivelling shell—

    am i?

    even so, God breathes &
    lifeless souls
    waken,
    ready
    as he calls them
    by name.

    am i?

    Kaitlyn Hogeterp is a 4th year English Writing student at Redeemer University, in Ancaster, Ontario. She was born and raised in rural Nova Scotia ― and has been forced by the pandemic to pursue her studies online. “Even so, God” is based on Ephesians 2:1-6.

    Posted: 02 December 2020

  • Religio Laici by John Dryden

    from Religio Laici or A Layman’s Faith

    Dim, as the borrow’d beams of moon and stars
    To lonely, weary, wand’ring travellers,
    Is reason to the soul; and as on high,
    Those rolling fires discover but the sky
    Not light us here; so reason’s glimmering ray
    Was lent not to assure our doubtful way,
    But guide us upward to a better day.
    And as those nightly tapers disappear
    When day’s bright lord ascends our hemisphere
    So pale grows reason at religion’s sight:
    So dies, and so dissolves in supernatural light.
    Some few, whose lamp shone brighter, have been led
    From cause to cause, to Nature’s secret head;
    And found that one first principle must be:
    But what, or who, that Universal He;
    Whether some soul incompassing this ball
    Unmade, unmov’d; yet making, moving all;
    Or various atoms’ interfering dance
    Leapt into form (the noble work of chance;)
    Or this great all was from eternity;
    Not even the Stagirite himself could see;
    And Epicurus guess’d as well as he:
    As blindly grop’d they for a future state;
    As rashly judg’d of Providence and Fate:
    But least of all could their endeavours find
    What most concern’d the good of human kind.
    For happiness was never to be found;
    But vanish’d from ’em, like enchanted ground.
    One thought content the good to be enjoy’d:
    This, every little accident destroy’d:
    The wiser madmen did for virtue toil:
    A thorny, or at best a barren soil:
    In pleasure some their glutton souls would steep;
    But found their line too short, the well too deep;
    And leaky vessels which no bliss could keep.
    Thus anxious thoughts in endless circles roll,
    Without a centre where to fix the soul:
    In this wild maze their vain endeavours end:
    How can the less the greater comprehend?
    Or finite reason reach infinity?
    For what could fathom God were more than He.

    John Dryden (1631―1700), the leading poet and literary critic of Restoration England, in Religio Laici (1682) expresses our reason’s insufficiency to lead us to salvation, which is expressed well in Ephesians 1:9. These are the first 41 lines of Dryden’s 456-line poem.

    Posted: 25 November 2020

  • A Helpmeet For Him by Christina Rossetti

    A Helpmeet For Him

    Woman was made for man’s delight,―
    Charm, O woman! Be not afraid!
    His shadow by day, his moon by night,
    Woman was made.

    Her strength with weakness is overlaid;
    Meek compliances veil her might;
    Him she stays, by whom she is stayed.

    World-wide champion of truth and right,
    Hope in gloom, and in danger aid,
    Tender and faithful, ruddy and white,
    Woman was made.

    Christina Rossetti (1830—1894) is one of the best-known English poets of the nineteenth century. This poem embodies the poet’s wrestling with Paul’s teaching on women in Ephesians 5.

    Posted: 18 November 2020

  • The Whole Shebang by Helen Freeman

    The Whole Shebang

    Ephesians 1:9-10

    rococo sky puzzle
    with no missing pieces
    Grandma’s orange opals
    regathered and restrung
    all my broken bones
    fused into wholeness
    off-tone trombonist
    harmonious again
    in full-blown orchestra
    excelling in her solo
    savannah species
    at the waterhole lapping
    surprisingly together
    not red in tooth or claw
    tapestry threads sown
    knotted and turned
    over for the noble reveal
    a warm coat shackles
    sprung vision in focus
    clearer than a telescope
    the whole household
    aligned with places set
    not one missing not one
    tension cream lavished
    on exotic fruit salads
    no weeds in wheat fields
    no riverbanks bursting
    enemies shaking hands
    the entire world kneeling
    the whole-hearted yes

    Helen Freeman was born in Kenya and spent many years in East Africa and the Arabian Gulf. She recently moved to Durham, England. Her poetry has appeared in Red River Review, Barren Magazine, Ekphrastic Review and other publications. Her instagram page is @chemchemi.hf

    Posted: 11 November 2020

  • anniversary by Marianne Jones

    anniversary

    Ephesians 5:25

    his love
    the air I breathe
    permeates my clothing
    skin absorbs
    like perfume
    droplets cling, liquid
    and flesh commingling.
    he floats over me, wraps like warm mist.

    my house sings jazz.

    Marianne Jones lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and was named Christian Poet Laureate 2012 by Utmost Christian Writers. Her poetry collection Here, on the Ground was a winner at the 2011 Word Awards. Her literary novel, Maud and Me, is slated for publication in 2021 by Crossfield Publishing.

    Posted: 04 November 2020

  • This Present Darkness by Catherine Chandler

    This Present Darkness

    This present darkness
    has so far devoured three seasons.
    It hovers still. It looms.

    It is poised and ready
    to swallow another—
    the imminent winter.

    And so . . .

    I don the belt of truth
    and see grace
    in the geese’s awkward descent
    onto the sand-pit pond.

    I don the breastplate of righteousness
    and find harmony
    in the rusty-wheel screeching
    of the blue jays.

    I don the shield of faith
    and sense peace
    in the earthy smell
    of a leaf pile.

    I don the helmet of salvation
    and taste beauty
    in the first snowflakes melting
    on my tongue.

    I don the sword of the Spirit
    and feel the immeasurable love
    of a grandchild’s kiss
    through a cell phone screen.

    This present darkness
    cannot last forever.
    I have put on the full armor
    of God.

    — Saint-Lazare, Québec, October 26, 2020

    Catherine Chandler is a Canadian poet whose latest collection Pointing Home came out in 2019. She wrote this poem this week for Poems For Ephesians based on Ephesians 6. This week’s post at Kingdom Poets also features Catherine Chandler.

    Posted: 28 October 2020

  • The Puzzle by Tehillah Presado

    The Puzzle

    Sun beams
    into the living room
    where jigsaw pieces are scattered
    across the floor.

    Colour schemes and corners
    purposefully placed
    in sections where most
    understood.

    Some pieces have
    splashes of fuchsia, rose and golden yellow,
    others with hints of greens
    or stone silver with blues.

    A rich Victorian garden,
    abundant in daisies and lilies
    dances across the box cover.
    Vines have wrapped around benches,
    where a couple chats and laughs.

    A stone fountain stands center
    flowing diligently.
    The blues of the water
    reflect the fairness of the sky,
    without a cloud in sight.

    Each piece has its own place,
    contributing to the unity,
    the complete picture,
    like the body of Christ.

    Tehillah Presado is a recent graduate from Université de Saint-Boniface with a double major in French and Psychology. She lives with her family in Winnipeg. Her poem is based on Ephesians 4 emphasising the unity of the body of Christ. She completed a writing intensive in August through The Word Guild with D.S. Martin.

    Posted: 21 October 2020

  • Jerusalem ― The Emanation of the Giant Albion by William Blake

    from Jerusalem ― The Emanation of the Giant Albion

    I see the Four-fold Man. The Humanity in deadly sleep
    And its fallen Emanation. The Spectre & its cruel Shadow.
    I see the Past, Present & Future, existing all at once
    Before me; O Divine Spirit sustain me on thy wings!
    That I may awake Albion from his long & cold repose.
    For Bacon & Newton sheathd in dismal steel, their terrors hang
    Like iron scourges over Albion. Reasonings like vast Serpents
    Infold around my limbs, bruising my minute articulations

    I turn my eyes to the Schools & Universities of Europe
    And there behold the Loom of Locke whose Woof rages dire
    Washed by the water-wheels of Newton. black the cloth
    In heavy wreathes over every Nation; cruel Works
    Of many Wheels I view, wheel without wheel, with cogs tyrannic

    Moving by compulsion each other: not as those in Eden: which
    Wheel within Wheel in freedom revolve in harmony & peace.

    Awake! Awake O sleeper in the land of shadows, wake! expand!
    I am in you and you in me, mutual in love divine:
    Fibres of love from man to man thro Albions pleasant land.

    But the perturbed Man away turns down the valleys dark;
    Phantom of the over heated brain! Shadow of immortality!
    Seeking to keep my soul a victim to thy Love! Which binds
    Man the enemy of man into deceitful friendships;
    Jerusalem is not! Her daughters are indefinite;
    By demonstration, man alone can live, and not by faith.

    In this extended poem, Blake represents England as Albion ― a sleeper in the grips of industrialism and imperialism ― who needs to awake to Jesus. According to Malcolm Guite, this is a call for national repentance, which echoes Ephesians 5:14. However, at this point in the poem, Albion turns away. Later, it’s foretold how Albion repents and bows before Christ.

    Posted: 14 October 2020

  • Beloved by Bonnie Beldan-Thomson

    Beloved

    “…the riches of his grace that he lavished on us…” Ephesians 1:7b, 8a

    My friend’s garden rabbits were birthed
    behind her deck in the shelter
    of scented geraniums. She watched
    them, all eight of them, kicking
    their little legs as they nursed.

    Mine descended like a scruffy plague, eating
    my euonymous down to dry twigs,
    decimating emerging daffodils,
    stalking my bean stalks, waiting
    for a delicious surge of maturity
    before devouring, then
    waiting for leaves to grow
    into another good meal.
    I shouted Go away, envying
    Mr MacGregor’s solution.
    Finally, the plants gave up
    and so did I.

    But an adolescent amused me,
    practicing laps around my asparagus
    before taking off after a chipmunk.
    Others disarmed me, hopping, then stopping
    to be sure I was still chasing them.

    Babies snuggled under hosta leaves.
    Adults snoozed in my potato patch,
    shaded by gooseberry and josta,
    legs outstretched, head resting,
    rousing after awhile for a dirt bath,
    scattering earth onto the lawn.

    Then one evening, as I admired
    scarlet bee balm and a thicket
    of yellow, orange and red echinacea,
    planning plants to complete my creation,
    a young rabbit kept its eyes on me
    as it crept closer, then settled down,
    an arms’ length away, to nibble grass.
    I surrendered.

    Bonnie Beldan-Thomson lives near Toronto. Her poetry, fiction and non-fiction have appeared in a variety of publications throughout North America and internationally. She is a recent participant in a writing intensive with D.S. Martin, as part of The Word Guild’s annual conference ― Write Canada.

    Posted: 07 October 2020

  • Walking the Dog on Windy Night under a Full Moon by Susan Alexander

    Walking the Dog on Windy Night under a Full Moon

    The trees are wrestling.
    Their hinges creak open and closed.
    On the white road under our feet,

    shadows brawl and we are pushed
    towards the cul-de-sac –
    the turning point.

    What is it
    to fill, to be filled into fullness?
    Moon face glares down

    while a hundred arms thrash.
    Black fingers rake
    the lit road, search for troubled

    creeds to buffet and twist,
    to sift, rattle and split,
    to explode

    prodigiously –
    schema of sky littered
    on blacktop just behind.

    Susan Alexander lives on Bowen Island, B.C. Her second poetry collection, Nothing You Can Carry is newly launched this fall from Thistledown Books. In 2019 she won the prestigious Mitchell Poetry Prize. This poem arises from Paul’s phrase “every wind of doctrine” in Ephesians 4:14.

    Posted: 30 September 2020

  • This Battle Born by Lynne Collier

    This Battle Born

    Ephesians 6:12-18, NIV

    We fight not flesh and blood—
    crashing swords crushing our shields,
    severing bone from sinew.

    This battle is born from the depths of the earth
    where scheming demons scream eternal damnation.
    We rage against the rulers authorities
    and dark powers of this world
    against spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms.

    The armour of man cold and lifeless
    frays decays to a whisper
    against such foes.

    Truth holds battle gear in place for virtuous warriors
    who stand ready to fight for peace—
    their shields extinguish flaming arrows
    as their faithful hearts call out like a sweet aroma rising.
    These more powerful weapons
    prevail for their king.

    Lynne Collier was born in West Yorkshire, and now lives near Bowmanville, Ontario. Her memoir about raising a child with autism is called, Raising Benjamin Frog. She is a recent participant in a writing intensive with D.S. Martin.

    Posted: 23 September 2020

  • Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross by Malcolm Guite

    Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross

    See, as they strip the robe from off his back
    And spread his arms and nail them to the cross,
    The dark nails pierce him and the sky turns black,
    And love is firmly fastened onto loss.
    But here a pure change happens. On this tree
    Loss becomes gain, death opens into birth.
    Here wounding heals and fastening makes free
    Earth breathes in heaven, heaven roots in earth.
    And here we see the length, the breadth, the height
    Where love and hatred meet and love stays true
    Where sin meets grace and darkness turns to light
    We see what love can bear and be and do,
    And here our saviour calls us to his side
    His love is free, his arms are open wide.

    Malcolm Guite teaches at the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University, and is chaplain at Girton College. This poem is from the series The Stations of the Cross from his book Sounding the Seasons (2012, Canterbury Press). Besides the imagery of Christ’s crucifixion, it alludes to Ephesians 3:18. It is included here with the author’s permission. (malcolmguite.wordpress.com)

    Posted: 16 September 2020

  • Noise by Jane Harris

    Noise

    Based on Ephesians 4:17-19

    Crows mock each other on the fence
    like radio prophets or tweeting activists,
    caw, caw, cawing:

    You’ll never be what you hoped,
    that unspeakable thing still cages you
    like a wren trapped in a gardener’s net,
    staring at strawberries forever outside your reach.

    So much noise.

    They don’t know
    since the day the wind’s singing set elm leaves dancing,
    like puppies set free in a park,
    I’ve climbed over cactusy hills, picking my own wildberries,

    I wrap myself in a white wool coat to hike to the river when
    —–the snowflakes fly,
    and I dance through the winter like young coyotes do:
    Boundless.

    Jane Harris lives in Lethbridge, Alberta. She is the author of Finding Home in the Promised Land: A Personal History of Homelessness and Social Exile (J Gordon Shillingford, 2015, Signature Editions, 2016). She is a recent participant in a writing intensive with D.S. Martin.

    Posted: 09 September 2020

  • Q&A with Clock by Greg Huteson

    Q&A with Clock

    Cuckoo, time’s monger,
    raucously hawking your wares,
    why crack the stifling air
    with your close-reckoned cries,
    your minute ticks and chittering?
    Whistling while you work,
    you jar our sheltered days.
    Are you a tocsin of tedium’s terrors
    or a harbinger of the eighth day
    and a new winding?

    Greg Huteson’s poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from The Road Not Taken, Modern Age, the Saint Katherine Review, Better Than Starbucks, The Honest Ulsterman and various other journals. He’s worked in East Asia as a missionary for more than twenty years. This poem was influenced by Ephesians 5:16’s “redeeming the time.”

    Posted: 02 September 2020

  • Wilt Thou Love God as He Thee? by John Donne

    Wilt Thou Love God as He Thee?

    Wilt thou love God as He thee? Then digest,
    My soul, this wholesome meditation,
    How God the Spirit, by angels waited on
    In heaven, doth make His temple in thy breast.
    The Father having begot a Son most blest,
    And still begetting—for he ne’er begun—
    Hath deign’d to choose thee by adoption,
    Co-heir to His glory, and Sabbath’s endless rest.
    And as a robb’d man, which by search doth find
    His stolen stuff sold, must lose or buy it again,
    The Sun of glory came down, and was slain,
    Us whom He had made, and Satan stole, to unbind.
    ’Twas much, that man was made like God before,
    But, that God should be made like man, much more.

    John Donne (1572—1631) although not esteemed enough in his own day, has now been established as one of the English language’s greatest poets. This poem, known as Holy Sonnet #15, links with passages in Paul’s epistles such as Ephesians 1:5, and Ephesians 3:6.

    Posted: 26 August 2020

  • Ode to the Pulse by Crystal Hurd

    Ode to the Pulse

    Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s workmanship”

    Gentle throb,
    tributaries of turquoise,
    veins, poetic
    meters of stressed
    syllables buried inside
    temples and neck,
    wrists and elbows,
    groin and knees,
    down to the tops of your feet.
    Throughout the complete
    territory of your body,
    below strata of skin and bone,
    is this sacred tempo.
    Beloved metronome,
    pacing an arc through
    air, like through body,
    subtle thump and
    reassurance. Remember
    the blackness of unconsciousness
    and the hard grasp of your wrist,
    the shriek of voices and the
    calm when the stranger found it,
    the dull rhythm of existence,
    the percussion in your chest,
    Still present.
    It thrums on uninterrupted.
    Through light and darkness,
    feel this small reminder
    of your place on a large, weary planet.
    And in your final hours,
    place two wrinkled fingers
    aside the stem of your neck
    and find it there,
    consistent carotid beneath
    the wild maze of your fingertips.

    And be satisfied.

    Crystal Hurd has just been awarded the 2020 Clyde S. Kilby Research Grant by the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College to complete research for her book on the artistic impact of C. S. Lewis’s family titled Bookish, Clever People. She has written extensively about C.S. Lewis, and is Reviews Editor for Sehnsucht: The C. S. Lewis Journal.

    Posted: 19 August 2020

  • Yet Do I Marvel by Countee Cullen

    Yet Do I Marvel

    I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind
    And did He stoop to quibble could tell why
    The little buried mole continues blind,
    Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die,
    Make plain the reason tortured Tantalus
    Is baited by the fickle fruit, declare
    If merely brute caprice dooms Sisyphus
    To struggle up a never-ending stair.
    Inscrutable His ways are, and immune
    To catechism by a mind too strewn
    With petty cares to slightly understand
    What awful brain compels His awful hand.
    Yet do I marvel at this curious thing:
    To make a poet black, and bid him sing!

    Countee Cullen (1903—1946) is one of the most important poets of the 1920s’ Harlem Renaissance. In this poem he demonstrates the same confidence in God’s inscrutable wisdom that Paul does in Ephesians 1:3-10.

    Posted: 12 August 2020

  • patience by Jonathan Chan

    patience

    i sat in quiet so i could learn to pray
    to learn again a native eloquence
    the gaps in what is said and left unsaid
    the wordless groans that could not find their shape.
    i sat in stillness for i tried to tame
    the errant flickers of a wandering mind,
    to quell the fidgeting of anxious flesh,
    to learn again to hear His still small voice.
    when silence was the crucible of doubt
    and prayers wafted loftily like smoke,
    when starlight painted avenues to home
    and aching feet tread on a patchy road,
    i learned that waiting was in the becoming
    and held the words that never were my own.

    Jonathan Chan is a recent graduate of the University of Cambridge where he read for a degree in English. He was raised, and is currently based, in Singapore. This poem is from a series he has written about the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) and it relates to Ephesians 4:2.

    Posted: 05 August 2020

  • Lack of Faith by Anna Kamieńska

    Lack Of Faith

    Yes
    even when I don’t believe
    there is a place in me
    inaccessible to unbelief
    a patch of wild grace
    a stubborn preserve
    impenetrable
    pain untouched sleeping in the body
    music that builds its nest in silence

    Anna Kamieńska (1920–1986) is a Polish poet. In this poem she touches on the mysterious contribution Christ himself provides for us in stirring up faith within us, as suggested by Ephesians 4:7 and 13.

    Posted: 29 July 2020

  • Struck by Rena Ong

    Struck

    Ephesians 2:4-6

    The lightning bolt of mercy
    surges through the darkened soul.
    Its current seeks and transforms, pulsating,
    to change the What Was to the realms of What Can Be.
    Nerves tingle and prickle, and in a flash,
    the sparkling soul is raised within its atmospheric glory,
    full of light and truly alive.

    Rena Ong is from England, yet has lived in Singapore for many years with her Singaporean husband. Their adult son lives in Australia. In recent years, God has renewed her love of Christ and has grown a creative spirit within her.

    Posted: 22 July 2020

  • Battle Prep by Chris Barnes

    Battle Prep

    Trumpets blare, alarms sound, bells ring; enemy at the threshold.

    Praying for serenity calms my anxiety at the call to arms.

    Swinging legs over cot sides, my feet slide into combat boots made ready with laces undone, tongues out for a hasty departure. Boots, foundations of armor, bring restless minds to peaceful focus for the coming battle.

    Praying for quiet understanding concentrates my energy.

    Swaying my hips side to side, tactical straps laden with tools weave rapidly through fabric loops. Belts maintain a sturdy core, presenting a disciplined truth.

    Praying for certainty ensures my confidence for action.

    Flinging arms overhead, my shoulders accept the bulky, bulletproof guardian prepped with combat equipment. Body armor, defender of vital organs and morality, conveys the significance of our just and righteous stance.

    Praying for honorable conflict helps me face issues of right and wrong.

    Steadying my neck muscles, a concave protector settles to the crown, held tight by jawline straps. The helmet offers timely rescue from unruly fragments; salvation shelters the brain and soul.

    Praying for deliverance rests my soul after long days of fighting.

    Beseeching physical strength, my weary hands overload with protective gear. The spiritual melee is only met and turned back by the faithful shield and slashing sword.

    Praying for swift resolution diminishes swirling thoughts that entangle me in constant conflict.

    Accepting light to fight darkness, my soul safeguarded from the Devil’s onslaught, my vanguard dispensing spiritual defeat upon the adversary;

    Stand firm, stand steady, stand strong – and pray continuously.

    Chris Barnes is transitioning from nearly 20 years of service in the U.S. Air Force. He began writing as a means to moderate his combat-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and has continued this as a passion, to relay life experiences through poetry. “Battle Prep” relates to Ephesians 6: 10-18.

    Posted: 15 July 2020

  • Footnote To All Prayers by C.S. Lewis

    Footnote To All Prayers

    He whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow
    When I attempt the ineffable Name, murmuring Thou,
    And dream of Pheidian fancies and embrace in heart
    Symbols (I know) which cannot be the thing Thou art.
    Thus always, taken at their word, all prayers blaspheme
    Worshipping with frail images a folk-lore dream,
    And all men in their praying, self-deceived, address
    The coinage of their own unquiet thoughts, unless
    Thou in magnetic mercy to Thyself divert
    Our arrows, aimed unskilfully, beyond desert;
    And all men are idolaters, crying unheard
    To a deaf idol, if Thou take them at their word.

    Take not, O Lord, our literal sense. Lord, in thy great
    Unbroken speech our limping metaphor translate.

    C.S. Lewis (1898―1963) just might be the most influential Christian of the twentieth century. This poem adds an insightful accompaniment to what Paul says in Ephesians 3:12, and to other instructions in the epistle.

    Posted: 08 July 2020

  • Choruses from ‘The Rock’ by T.S. Eliot

    from Choruses from ‘The Rock’ ― I

    The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven,
    The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.
    O perpetual revolution of configured stars,
    O perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,
    O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying!
    The endless cycle of idea and action,
    Endless invention, endless experiment,
    Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
    Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
    Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
    All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
    All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
    But nearness to death no nearer to God .
    Where is the Life we have lost in living?
    Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
    Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
    The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
    Bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.
    T.S. Eliot (1888—1965) is one of the most influential poets of the twentieth century. The preceding is the opening of the first section of his 1934 book Choruses from ‘The Rock.’ The loss of wisdom in the pursuit of knowledge and information, as expressed by Eliot, is the hollow reversal of what Paul says in Ephesians 1:7-10 ― “With all wisdom and understanding, [God] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ…”

    Posted: 01 July 2020

  • Sabbaths 1985 ― II by Wendell Berry

    Sabbaths 1985 ― II

    A gracious Sabbath stood here while they stood
    Who gave our rest a haven.
    Now fallen, they are given
    To labor and distress.
    These times we know much evil, little good
    To steady us in faith
    And comfort when our losses press
    Hard on us, and we choose,
    In panic or despair or both,
    To keep what we will lose.

    For we are fallen like the trees, our peace
    Broken, and so we must
    Love where we cannot trust,
    Trust where we cannot know,
    And must await the wayward-coming grace
    That joins living and dead,
    Taking us where we would not go –
    Into the boundless dark.
    When what was made has been unmade
    The Maker comes to His work.

    Wendell Berry is a poet, essayist, novelist, environmentalist, professor and farmer living in Port Royal, Kentucky. His Sabbath poems are an extensive series arising from his habit of taking solitary Sunday walks. This poem reflects what Paul says in Ephesians 6:23

    Posted: 24 June 2020

  • Dusting by Marilyn Nelson

    Dusting

    Thank you for these tiny
    particles of ocean salt,
    pearl-necklace viruses,
    winged protozoans:
    for the infinite,
    intricate shapes
    of submicroscopic
    living things.

    For algae spores
    and fungus spores,
    bonded by vital
    mutual genetic cooperation,
    spreading their
    inseparable lives
    from equator to pole.

    My hand, my arm,
    make sweeping circles.
    Dust climbs the ladder of light.
    For this infernal, endless chore,
    for these eternal seeds of rain:
    Thank you. For dust.

    Marilyn Nelson is a former Connecticut poet laureate. This poem reminds us in an insightful, over-the-top, way of what Paul says in Ephesians 5:20. “Dusting” is from her 1994 collection Magnificat.

    Posted: 17 June 2020

  • The One by Patrick Kavanagh

    The One

    Green, blue, yellow and red –
    God is down in the swamps and marshes
    Sensational as April and almost incred-
    ible the flowering of our catharsis.
    A humble scene in a backward place
    Where no one important ever looked
    The raving flowers looked up in the face
    Of the One and the Endless, the Mind that has baulked
    The profoundest of mortals. A primrose, a violet,
    A violent wild iris – but mostly anonymous performers
    Yet an important occasion as the Muse at her toilet
    Prepared to inform the local farmers
    That beautiful, beautiful, beautiful God
    Was breathing His love by a cut-away bog.

    Patrick Kavanagh (1904―1967) sought in his poetry of the particular the connection between the spiritual with the things seen in this world ― as beautifully expressed in Ephesians 1:10, and in this poem.

    Posted: 10 June 2020

  • Paradise Lost by John Milton

    from Paradise Lost Book X Lines 183―191

    When Jesus, son of Mary, second Eve,
    Saw Satan fall like lightning down from heaven,
    Prince of the air; then, rising from his grave,
    Spoiled Principalities and Powers, triumphed
    In open shew, and, with ascension bright,
    Captivity led captive through the air,
    The realm itself of Satan, long usurped,
    Whom he shall tread at last under our feet;⁠
    Even he who now foretold his fatal bruise…

    John Milton (1608–1674) in his masterpiece Paradise Lost keeps the concept from Ephesians 2:2 of Satan as “prince of the power of the air” central to his understanding. Notice here, how Christ leads captives through “the air, / The realm itself of Satan” to demonstrate his over-powering defeat of the devil. There is also a reference to Ephesians 6:12.

    Posted: 03 June 2020

  • The Missionary by Charlotte Brontë

    from The Missionary

    …Protected by salvation’s helm,
    Shielded by faith–with truth begirt,
    To smile when trials seek to whelm
    And stand ‘mid testing fires unhurt!
    Hurling hell’s strongest bulwarks down,
    Even when the last pang thrills my breast,
    When Death bestows the Martyr’s crown,
    And calls me into Jesus’ rest.
    Then for my ultimate reward–
    Then for the world-rejoicing word–
    The voice from Father–Spirit–Son:
    “Servant of God, well hast thou done!”

    Charlotte Brontë (1816―1855) is the eldest of the three famous Brontë sisters. She is best remembered as the author of the novel Jane Eyre (1847). This is the conclusion of a 159-line poem, “The Missionary, which celebrates those on foreign fields, and includes lines clearly inspired by Ephesians 6:14-16.

    Posted: 27 May 2020

  • The Predestined by Katharine Tynan

    The Predestined

    Dear, we might have known you were
    To die young—and were we blind
    To the light on face and hair?
    Dear, so simple and so kind.

    You were clean as your own sword
    And as straight too and steel true.
    In the Army of the Lord
    What promotion waits for you!

    I can see you where you stand,
    Knightly soul, so clean, so brave.
    With a new sword in your hand
    Where the lilied banners wave.

    Flower of simple chivalry,
    Marked for honour and for grace;
    It was very plain to see
    The clear shining of your face.

    You are gone now: it’s turned cold:
    Very good you were and dear.
    Wear the looks you wore of old
    When we meet, —some other year.

    Katharine Tynan (1859—1931) is the most prominent female writer associated with the Irish Revival which began in the 1880s. “The Predestined” demonstrates her confidence in Paul’s words from Ephesians 1:5.

    Posted: 20 May 2020

  • The Second Nun’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer

    from The Second Nun’s Tale (Lines 169―210)

    Cecile answered immediately in this manner:
    “If you wish, you shall see the angel,
    Provided that you believe in Christ and have yourself baptized.
    Go forth to the Appian Way,” said she,
    “That from this town stands no more than three miles,
    And to the poor folks that dwell there,
    Say to them exactly thus, which I shall tell you.

    “Tell them that I, Cecile, sent you to them
    To show you the good Urban the old,
    For secret needs and for a good purpose.
    And when you have beheld Saint Urban,
    Tell him the words which I told to you;
    And when he has cleansed you of sin (by baptism),
    Then you shall see that angel, ere you depart.”

    Valerian has gone to the place,
    And just as he was taught by his learning (from Cecilie),
    He immediately found this holy old Urban
    In hiding among the saints’ burial places.
    And he immediately without delay
    Said his message; and when he told it,
    Urban for joy did hold up his hands.

    He let the tears fall from his eyes.
    “Almighty Lord, O Jesus Christ,” said he,
    “Sower of chaste counsel, shepherd of us all,
    The fruit of that same seed of chastity
    That thou hast sown in Cecile, take to thee!
    Lo, like a busy bee, without guile,
    Always thine own servant Cecile serves Thee.

    “For that same spouse that she took just now
    Very like a fierce lion, she sends here,
    As meek as ever was any lamb, to you!”
    And with that word anon there did appear
    An old man, clad in clear white clothes,
    Who had in hand a book with lettering of gold ,
    And did stand before Valerian.

    Valerian as if dead fell down for fear
    When he saw him, and the old man picked him up then,
    And from his book right thus he began to read:
    “One Lord, one faith, one God, without more,
    One baptism, and Father of all also,
    Above all and over all everywhere.”
    These words were written all with gold.

    Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340―1400) included “The Second Nun’s Tale” in his collection The Canterbury Tales. It tells the legend of Saint Cecilia (Cecile). She revealed to her new Roman husband that an angel guarded her virginity. To see the angel, Valerian, had to declare faith in Christ, and seek out Urban who would baptise him. The passage Urban reads to Valerian is from Ephesians 4:6.

    Posted: 13 May 2020

  • Clear Evening by Mary Willis

    Clear Evening

    I signal over stretched silence,
    a shared road, the social distance
    that should save us:
    Are you well?
    And neighbours wave back,
    we all try to keep the far
    near.

    This morning was dark
    with the latest death counts.
    This evening I sat watching reflections
    through glass, our dislocated world.
    I didn’t expect much from a flock of grackles
    arrested in a beech tree. They shone
    with the separate lights that were leaving
    small streams, their neck feathers rippling,
    indistinct like itinerant waves.

    I looked away and almost missed the moment
    when they rose as one
    uprooted river flinging something distinct
    in iridescent ink across a bleached sky.

    Who is ever prepared to catch grace
    and hold a rare flourish?

    Paul in prison, staring into absence,
    writing to the Ephesians,
    stopped sometimes, wordless,
    startled by light so quickly drying
    to afterlife in a mind.
    He closed his eyes,
    refused to look back or ahead
    but just sat there to find
    light coursing, present still.

    Mary Willis lives in London, Ontario. Her poems have appeared in Canadian Literature, The Fiddlehead, and Faith Today. Her work has been included in anthologies, most recently in In a Strange Land: Introducing Ten Kingdom Poets (Poiema Poetry Series, 2019). She has also published three chapbooks through Fiddlehead Poetry Books.

    Posted: 06 May 2020

  • Ambassador by Violet Nesdoly

    Ambassador

    Though my position is disguised
    by my ordinary appearance
    I am a diplomat
    of the King of Kings.

    Though my embassy is a simple house
    on an obscure street
    it is a dispatch station for communiqués
    from the Lord of the Universe.

    Though I have lived in this land all my life
    and furloughs are never granted
    my real citizenship is in another place
    and someday I shall be called home.

    Until then I remain
    an Ambassador of the Kingdom of Heaven
    proclaiming to hungry, thirsty, bruised and broken
    “Asylum-seekers welcome!”

    Violet Nesdoly is a poet, writer, and visual artist living in Langley, British Columbia. She has written extensively: articles, devotionals, poetry, and fiction; her novel Destiny’s Hands appeared in 2012. This poem’s image arises from Ephesians 6:20, where Paul refers to himself as an “ambassador in chains.”

    Posted: 29 April 2020

  • Sonnet #43 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    Sonnet #43

    How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
    I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
    My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
    For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
    I love thee to the level of every day’s
    Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
    I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
    I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
    I love with a passion put to use
    In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
    I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
    With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
    Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
    I shall but love thee better after death.

    Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861) wrote this ever-so-famous love sonnet, to her husband, Robert Browning. In 1846 the couple eloped and moved to Italy because of her ill health. She uses the same language here in speaking of her love for him, as Paul uses in Ephesians 3:18 to describe the love of Christ. This is not a secularizing of scripture, for as can be seen at the poem’s end, she willingly submits their love to God’s will.

    Posted: 22 April 2020

  • Henry IV Part 1 by William Shakespeare

    from Henry IV Part 1 ― Act 1, Scene 2

    I know you all, and will awhile uphold
    The unyoked humour of your idleness:
    Yet herein will I imitate the sun,
    Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
    To smother up his beauty from the world,
    That, when he please again to be himself,
    Being wanted, he may be more wonder’d at,
    By breaking through the foul and ugly mists
    Of vapours that did seem to strangle him.
    If all the year were playing holidays,
    To sport would be as tedious as to work;
    But when they seldom come, they wish’d for come,
    And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.
    So, when this loose behaviour I throw off
    And pay the debt I never promised,
    By how much better than my word I am,
    By so much shall I falsify men’s hopes;
    And like bright metal on a sullen ground,
    My reformation, glittering o’er my fault,
    Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
    Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
    I’ll so offend, to make offence a skill;
    Redeeming time when men think least I will.

    William Shakespeare (1564―1616) “Reading further in Ephesians with the Henry IV plays in mind amply confirms [the allusion in the final line of this soliloquy to Ephesians 5:15-16 and] almost gives one the illusion that Shakespeare set out to confirm St. Paul’s epistle.” (Shakespeare scholar, J.A. Bryant Jr. ― “Prince Hal and the Ephesians” in Hippolyta’s View: Some Christian Aspects of Shakespeare’s Plays)

    Posted: 15 April 2020

  • The Word[s] by John C. Mannone

    The Word[s]

    ———We are his workmanship, his poetry
    ———― After Ephesians 2:10

    You are the Word and speak
    of stories made flesh
    ——————and bone, lines
    breaking like a poem;
    ——————your skin, pierced
    by our unholiness.

    One body of work,
    coherent, harmonious, clear
    as your soul, not fragmented
    like mine.

    You created all things
    by your word, including me.
    I am your workmanship, your poem,
    ———which I messed up
    ———with a sloppy rewrite.

    I repent and I am desperate
    for your revision.

    ———I worship you,

    yet before the ink of those words
    has dried, I blot my soul with disgrace.

    I should decrease,
    so you can increase.
    That will give me new
    literary depth. I would be
    less self-aware, know
    you more.

    You knew me
    before I entered
    my mother’s womb.

    You know the words of me,
    the syllables, my very letters
    knitted together in my DNA.
    And your name is written there, too.
    You signed me, your workmanship,
    as yours.

    Revise me, O Lord, into a new song,

    a new poem.

    John C. Mannone is the author of three poetry collections, including the forthcoming Flux Lines (2020, Linnet’s Wings Press), and is the president of the Chattanooga Writers’ Guild. He is a retired physics professor, living in Tennessee. His poetry won the 2020 Impressions of Appalachia Creative Arts Contest.

    Posted: 08 April 2020

  • Her Little Parasol to Lift by Emily Dickinson

    Her Little Parasol to Lift (Poem 1038)

    Her little Parasol to lift
    And once to let it down
    Her whole Responsibility –
    To imitate be Mine.

    A Summer further I must wear,
    Content if Nature’s Drawer
    Present me from sepulchral Crease
    As blemishless, as Her.

    Emily Dickinson (1830―1886) is early-America’s great poet of faith and questioning. In this poem she speaks of the morning glory that opens in the morning and closes in the afternoon. She desires to be content to live her life, and then when she’s raised to heaven to be blemishless ― as the church will be in glory according to Ephesians 5:27 ― and as the morning glory is.

    Posted: 01 April 2020

  • Redeemed by Fanny J. Crosby

    Redeemed

    Redeemed—how I love to proclaim it!
    Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
    Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
    His child, and forever, I am.

    Redeemed, redeemed,
    Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
    Redeemed, redeemed,
    His child, and forever, I am.

    Redeemed and so happy in Jesus,
    No language my rapture can tell;
    I know that the light of His presence
    With me doth continually dwell.

    I think of my blessed Redeemer,
    I think of Him all the day long;
    I sing, for I cannot be silent;
    His love is the theme of my song.

    I know I shall see in His beauty
    The King in whose way I delight;
    Who lovingly guardeth my footsteps,
    And giveth me songs in the night.

    Fanny J. Crosby (1820—1915) is a poet who published four collections, and the writer of more than 9,000 hymns and gospel songs. She was blind from six years of age. This well-known hymn is drawn from scriptures such as Ephesians 1:7.

    Posted: 25 March 2020

  • The Person by Thomas Traherne

    from The Person

    IV

    Let verity
    Be thy delight; let me esteem
    True wealth far more than toys:
    Let sacred riches be,
    While falser treasures only seem,
    My real joys.
    For golden chains and bracelets are
    But gilded manacles, whereby
    Old Satan doth ensnare,
    Allure, bewitch the eye.
    Thy gifts, O God, alone I’ll prize,
    My tongue, my eyes,
    My cheeks, my lips, my ears, my hands, my feet;
    Their harmony is far more sweet;
    Their beauty true. And these in all my ways
    Shall themes become and organs of Thy praise.

    Thomas Traherne (1637—1674) is an English metaphysical poet whose work was largely not discovered until 200 years after his death. The words “far more” are common in Traherne, and allude to Ephesians 3:20 ― praising “him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think”.

    Posted: 18 March 2020

  • His Power that is at Work Within Us by Carolyn Weber

    His Power that is at Work Within Us

    God’s power works through all things:
    in the lowering of the casket
    and the rising of the sun,
    in the unimaginable
    birthing of a dying earth:
    the autumn trees’ beauty beyond describing,
    aflame with memories
    along fields gleamed bare,
    their counterparts burning
    with branches yearning,
    rooted deep within my being:
    flare!

    The infant clutch of my forefinger
    rivals any mystery of the vastest cosmos.
    Daylight slips behind the white-haired head
    I kiss in the hospital bed, and from the same
    immeasurable darkness now, stars spill
    sifting over
    moonlit waters
    shifting to fill me to the measure of all the fulness of God.

    I cannot bear the weight of such glory and live:
    bleeding through this crowd of daily distractions –
    I cannot open my eyes to such shining –
    remembering is the most I can carry, and even then, I stumble …
    from my knees, I grasp for the hem …
    and somehow, surpassingly,
    understand in the grazing of such grace
    this reaching –
    this touch is
    enough.

    Carolyn Weber has served as faculty at Oxford University, Seattle University, University of San Francisco and Westmont College, and was the first female dean of St. Peter’s College, Oxford. She currently teaches at Heritage College and Seminary, and at Brescia University College (both in Ontario). Her first memoir, Surprised by Oxford, won among other distinctions the Grace Irwin Award, the largest award for Christian writing in Canada. This poem was inspired by Ephesians 4:6.

    Posted: 11 March 2020

  • Kairos and Logos by W.H. Auden

    from Kairos and Logos

    I

    Around them boomed the rhetoric of time,
    The smells and furniture of the known world
    Where conscience worshipped an aesthetic order
    And what was unsuccessful was condemned;
    And, at the centre of its vast self-love,
    The emperor and his pleasures, dreading death.

    In lovely verse that military order,
    Transferring its obsession onto time,
    Besieged the body and cuckolded love;
    Puzzling the boys of an athletic world,
    These only feared another kind of Death
    To which the time-obsessed are all condemned.

    Night and the rivers sang a cationic love,
    Destroyer of cities and the daylight order,
    But seemed to them weak arguments for death;
    The apple tree that cannot measure time
    Might taste the apple yet not be condemned;
    They, to enjoy it, must renounce the world.

    Friendly to what the sensual call death,
    Placing their lives below the dogs who love
    Their fallen masters and are not condemned,
    They came to life within a dying order;
    Outside the sunshine of its civil world
    The savage waited their appointed time.

    Its brilliant self-assertions were condemned
    To interest the forest and draw death
    On aqueducts and learning; yet the world,
    Through them, had witnessed, when predestined love
    Fell like a daring meteor into time,
    The condescension of eternal order.

    So, sown in little clumps about the world,
    The fair, the faithful and the uncondemned
    Broke out spontaneously all over time,
    Setting against the random facts of death
    A ground and possibility of order,
    Against defeat the certainty of love.

    And never, like its own, condemned the world
    Or hated time, but sang until their death:
    “O Thou who lovest, set its love in order.”

    W.H. Auden (1907—1973) is an important British poet who moved to the United States in 1939. He received the 1948 Pulitzer Prize, The Bollingen Prize (1953) and the National Book Award (1956). This poem relates to Paul’s concerns in Ephesians 5:16 ― “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” The selection’s final quotation is from Francis of Assisi’s “Cantica ― Our Lord Christ: of order”

    Posted: 04 March 2020

  • Celestial Bodies by Jody Collins

    Celestial Bodies

    ——–Ephesians 1:18 &19

    My weary eyes need reminders to
    view the galaxies aright. Focused on
    the sliver of moon, they forget an
    entire orb hides in the dark.
    I gaze at dull concrete, traipse
    around the observatory, past
    an entrance where God stands in the
    doorway beckoning me to peer,
    Galileo-like, past roofs, across
    trees, into velvet sky.

    As feet pause on sure ground,
    a whisper beckons to dream
    above, beyond to distant beauty.
    Consider the immeasurable
    heavens inside, reckon my
    need as I’m handed a telescope.

    Brightened eyes rest and remember.

    Jody Collins is a Seattle-area writer, speaker and retreat facilitator. She is the author of Living the Season Well: Reclaiming Christmas (2017, Newport Press). Her essays and poetry have appeared in such publications as The High Calling, and Grace Table. Visit her website: www.jodyleecollins.com

    Posted: 26 February 2020

  • A Prayer by Thomas Ken

    A Prayer

    I Bow my knee to God on high,
    Father of Filial Deity,
    To whom the blessed owe their birth,
    Inhabiting or heaven or earth,
    That from his gracious glories He
    Would dart one pardoning ray on me:
    That by his Holy Spirit’s aid,
    My soul may be his temple made:
    That He by faith may in me dwell,
    And all terrestrial joys expel:
    That I in love may deeply root;
    And may with all the saints compute
    All measures, length, breadth, depth, and height,
    Of his benign, all-saving might;
    That I his loves may comprehend,
    Which intellectual force transcend,
    Filled with all plenitude divine,
    Derivable from Godhead Trine.

    Thomas Ken (1637―1711) served as Royal Chaplain to Charles II, and later as the Bishop of Bath. This poem is a reworking of Paul’s prayer for the believers, in Ephesians 3:14-19, into rhyming couplets and iambic tetrameter.

    Posted: 19 February 2020

  • To Live in the Mercy of God by Denise Levertov

    To Live in the Mercy of God

    To lie back under the tallest
    oldest trees. How far the stems
    rise, rise
    ———–before ribs of shelter
    ——————————–open!

    To live in the mercy of God. The complete
    sentence too adequate, has no give.
    Awe, not comfort. Stone, elbows of
    stony wood beneath lenient
    moss bed.

    And awe suddenly
    passing beyond itself. Becomes
    a form of comfort.
    —————–Becomes the steady
    air you glide on, arms
    stretched like the wings of flying foxes.
    To hear the multiple silence
    of trees, the rainy
    forest depths of their listening.

    To float, upheld,
    ————as salt water
    ————would hold you,
    ——————————once you dared.

    To live in the mercy of God.

    To feel vibrate the enraptured

    waterfall flinging itself
    unabating down and down
    ———————–to clenched fists of rock.
    Swiftness of plunge,
    hour after year after century,
    ————————————-O or Ah
    uninterrupted, voice
    many-stranded.
    ———————–To breathe
    spray. The smoke of it.
    ———————–Arcs
    of steelwhite foam, glissades
    of fugitive jade barely perceptible. Such passion—
    rage or joy?
    ———————–Thus, not mild, not temperate,
    God’s love for the world. Vast
    flood of mercy
    ——————flung on resistance.

    Denise Levertov (1923―1997) is a British-born American poet who authored more than two dozen collections. Across her career, her gradual progression from agnosticism to Christian faith is evident. This poem is from her collection Sands from the Well. (1996, New Directions), and relates well to Paul’s theme in Ephesians 2:4 and 5.

    Posted: 12 February 2020

  • Round Trip by Marjorie Maddox

    Round Trip

    —–“He that descended is the same
    —–also that ascended…” Ephesians 4:8-10

    And the descending and the rising
    was three days, and it was good.

    And the descending to the not-good—
    where the rising and the conquering
    were proclaimed throughout Hades—
    was good.

    Or
    the descending to the good-gone-
    before-Him was very good, and
    the proclaiming was their rising, too.

    And His rising was their rising,
    and their rising was ours.
    And the descending and the rising
    was three days of proclaiming good.
    And it was eternity. And it was very good.

    Marjorie Maddox is professor of English at Loch Haven University in Pennsylvania, the director of their Creative Writing Program, and the author of True, False, None of the Above (Poiema/Cascade). This poem, which first appeared in Anglican Theological Review, is her second poem at Poems For Ephesians.

    Posted: 05 February 2020

  • One Flesh by Elizabeth Jennings

    One Flesh

    Lying apart now, each in a separate bed,
    He with a book, keeping the light on late,
    She like a girl dreaming of childhood,
    All men elsewhere ― it is as if they wait
    Some new event: the book he holds unread,
    Her eyes fixed on the shadows overhead.

    Tossed up like flotsam from a former passion,
    How cool they lie. They hardly ever touch,
    Or if they do, it is like a confession
    Of having little feeling ― or too much.
    Chastity faces them, a destination
    For which their whole lives were a preparation.

    Strangely apart, yet strangely close together,
    Silence between them like a thread to hold
    And not wind in. And time itself’s a feather
    Touching them gently. Do they know they’re old,
    These two who are my father and my mother
    Whose fire from which I came, has now grown cold?

    Elizabeth Jennings (1926―2001) is an Oxford poet. She received a C.B.E. (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1992. This poem strikes me as a sad backspin on the truth spoken in Genesis 2 ― and echoed in Ephesians 5:31 ― of husband and wife becoming “one flesh.”

    Posted: 29 January 2020

  • Ephesus by Sarah Klassen

    Ephesus

    Rev: 2:1-7

    i.
    Here’s where a thing gets turned on its head in the mind
    of a man self-named a sinner. He deciphers titles
    inscribed on gates to the Agora: Son of Caesar. High Priest.
    Lord. Titles claimed by VIPs of empire. Divinity a thing
    to be grasped. Gloated on. Devotion wrought by drawn swords,
    glint of steel helmets, great snorting horses.

    The apostle, unconvinced, squints at the flattery
    carved on gates designed and built by slaves once chained
    to masters they served with loyalty, intelligence,
    engineering skills. Qualities they possessed in measure
    greater than those who owned them. The slaves,
    set free, paid the debt of gratitude they did not owe. In Paul’s mind

    honor belongs to a man he never sat at table with
    yet knows by heart. A victim of empire, arrested, taunted,
    executed. Who with his last breath said to a sinner:
    Today you will be with me in paradise.
    Friends around the table call him master, priest, prince.
    They believe his kingdom has begun to turn
    the whole damned empire upside down.

    ii.
    Wisdom, in the book of Proverbs, stands like any shameless woman
    at the entrance to the city, raises her voice in the street:
    instructions to the simple, precepts for pilgrims, the hungry
    ushered to a table set with meat and drink. In Ephesus

    Sophia stands restored between two pillars,
    shoulders wrapped in a stone shawl, stone eyes fixed
    on the unstoppable tsunami: tourists and time
    stream past the excavated, reconstructed Celsus library,

    empty of books. A ghost-filled haven.
    Croesus who had gold enough to fund construction of a temple
    honoring Artemis. Demetrius the silversmith
    made money making shrines for her.

    The wise know speech is silver, silence, gold
    and those with ears can hear wind blowing in the streets
    of Ephesus. Dust fills the air. Cypress trees are shaken.
    Leaves on the tree of life glow green.

    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). This is the second post here about Sarah Klassen. These poems first appeared in Image.

    Posted: 22 January 2020

  • A Prayer for Setting the Table by Annabelle Moseley

    A Prayer for Setting the Table

    In memory of Annabelle Black

    “…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…” Eph 6:17-18

    As the tablecloth unfurls like an altar linen—
    as napkins are folded and cups are placed
    with the dishes of ordinary time—
    we pray for you, to be like you.
    It isn’t always in words.

    Sometimes, the motion of our fingers is the prayer
    leafing through the hymnal of daily tasks—
    smoothing folds of fabric, scraping pots,
    singing kitchen psalms.

    You know the way a room breathes—
    as bowls are taken out and put away?
    You lived this well, the daily push of it all—
    doing, serving, pursuing, moving.
    Yet you were our table, and we sat around you.

    So now, as our tablecloth unfurls like an altar linen,
    as napkins are folded and cups are placed
    with the dishes of ordinary time—
    We pray to nourish others the way you nourished us:

    May we always have as much.
    May our tables welcome,
    May our food sustain,
    may we have enough for the guests we do not expect—

    May we supplicate. May we persevere.
    May we keep watch for saints.
    May our words anoint like oil.
    We pray for you, to be like you. It isn’t always in words.

    Annabelle Moseley is an award-winning poet and an author of ten books, most recently Sacred Braille (En Route, 2019). She has served as the Writer-in-Residence of the Walt Whitman Birthplace in New York and 2014 Long Island Poet of the Year. Twelve of her poems are included in the anthology Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse. Her work as a poet of faith is featured in the documentary film, Masterpieces, now available to view on Amazon Prime.

    Posted: 15 January 2020

  • For the Unknown Sculptor by James A. Zoller

    For the Unknown Sculptor

    I have imagined the body of Christ
    in the presence of the Venus de Milo
    in a sanctuary jammed with self-devoted pilgrims.

    I have considered the glorious conception
    abused by time, cold. Abused by antagonisms.

    Raised on her plinth above the throng, she
    stands where we can regard her irenic sobriety,
    her face unmoved by the beauty of her form.

    What gifts of God might possibly survive our obsessions
    with nakedness, with celebrity, with self-righteousness?

    She leans forward as if to embrace those who seek.
    Before we leave, in turn, we would beg her blessing,
    were she able, now, to raise her arms in peace.

    James A. Zoller is Professor of Writing and Literature at Houghton College in New York State. His most recent poetry collection is Ash & Embers (2018, Poiema/Cascade). Among other passages in the epistle, Ephesians 1:22,23; and 4:16, have influenced this poem.

    Posted: 08 January 2020

  • Disciples by Philip C. Kolin

    Disciples

    ———-after Ephesians 1:13-14; 6:15

    Apprentices to the master
    of wood and nails

    they follow him to the corners
    of the world lacing their sandals

    for the journey. Dressed in red
    banners, christened with

    birth certificates signed by
    a whirling wind that whispers

    as soft as smoldering embers–
    they go forth, fishermen

    without boats, unlevying
    publicans, dismounted

    cameleers, a tentmaker folding
    spools of haircloth away.

    Twelve first, then seventy
    all with tongues on fire now

    to spread the light to cold
    hollow bones. Across the centuries

    when a famine of faith struck,
    these gifted garners filled empty souls

    from a storehouse of God’s plenty.
    When the night terrors descended

    they hid themselves in his blood
    and thorns until they too

    were ready to fare toward
    that world without end.

    Philip C. Kolin is the author of several poetry collections, most-recently Reaching Forever (2018, Poiema/Cascade). He is the Distinguished Professor of English (Emeritus) at the University of Southern Mississippi. This is his second poem to appear at Poems For Ephesians.

    Posted: 01 January 2020

  • O Holy Night by Marjorie Stelmach

    O Holy Night

    ———-Ephesians 4:31 – Let all bitterness and wrath
    ——————–and anger…be put away from you…

    In the easement,
    stripped trees daven apathetically
    under a skull-cap sky.
    ——————–Oh, Child,
    are you sure? This world?
    This bleak winter?
    These unconscionable times?

    The last of the day’s feeble sun
    steeps the holly,
    staining its berries a rich
    ——————–crimson
    as bright and slick
    as a seasoned trickster, then
    slips off the edge of the earth,

    leaving to us this night,
    first among too many nights
    we’ve marked
    ——————–and mean,
    every year, to find holy.
    It’s getting old, this act.
    Or maybe it’s me. Lately,

    I’m all lapse and misstep.
    And yet, love’s tiny fist seeks out
    my heart with the old entreaty,
    ———————and yearly
    I somehow let in love enough
    to try again: to call our people
    decent, our planet worthy.

    Marjorie Stelmach is the author of five poetry collections, including Falter (Poiema Poetry Series). She is the winner of the Chad Walsh Prize, and has had poems appear in Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse, and in The Turning Aside: The Kingdom Poets Book of Contemporary Christian Poetry. She lives in Manchester, Missouri, and has served as director of the Howard Nemerov Writing Scholars Program at Washington University.

    Posted: 25 December 2019

  • Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice by Martin Luther

    Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice

    Dear Christians, one and all, rejoice,
    With exultation springing,
    And, with united heart and voice
    And holy rapture singing,
    Proclaim the wonders God hath done,
    How His right arm the victory won;
    Right dearly it hath cost Him.

    Fast bound in Satan’s chains I lay,
    Death brooded darkly o’er me,
    Sin was my torment night and day,
    In sin my mother bore me;
    Yea, deep and deeper still I fell,
    Life had become a living hell,
    So firmly sin possessed me.

    My own good works availed me naught,
    No merit they attaining;
    Free will against God’s judgment fought,
    Dead to all good remaining.
    My fears increased till sheer despair
    Left naught but death to be my share;
    The pangs of hell I suffered.

    But God beheld my wretched state
    Before the world’s foundation,
    And, mindful of His mercies great,
    He planned my soul’s salvation.
    A father’s heart He turned to me,
    Sought my redemption fervently:
    He gave His dearest Treasure.

    He spoke to His beloved Son:
    ‘Tis time to have compassion.
    Then go, bright Jewel of My crown,
    And bring to man salvation;
    From sin and sorrow set him free,
    Slay bitter death for him that he
    May live with Thee forever.

    This Son obeyed His Father’s will,
    Was born of virgin mother,
    And God’s good pleasure to fulfill,
    He came to be my Brother.
    No garb of pomp or power He wore,
    A servant’s form, like mine, He bore,
    To lead the devil captive.

    To me He spake: Hold fast to Me,
    I am thy Rock and Castle;
    Thy Ransom I Myself will be,
    For thee I strive and wrestle;
    For I am with thee, I am thine,
    And evermore thou shalt be Mine;
    The Foe shall not divide us.

    The Foe shall shed My precious blood,
    Me of My life bereaving.
    All this I suffer for thy good;
    Be steadfast and believing.
    Life shall from death the victory win,
    My innocence shall bear thy sin;
    So art thou blest forever.

    Now to My Father I depart,
    The Holy Spirit sending
    And, heavenly wisdom to impart,
    My help to thee extending.
    He shall in trouble comfort thee,
    Teach thee to know and follow Me,
    And in all truth shall guide thee.

    What I have done and taught, teach thou,
    My ways forsake thou never;
    So shall My kingdom flourish now
    And God be praised forever.
    Take heed lest men with base alloy
    The heavenly treasure should destroy;
    This counsel I bequeath thee.

    Martin Luther (1483―1546) inadvertently started the Protestant Reformation when he posted 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church for debate. This hymn, translated by Richard Massie, relates to many scriptures, including Ephesians 1: 7-10; consider the hymn’s fifth and sixth verses, which fit well, too, with our celebrations of Christmas.

    Posted: 18 December 2019

  • Before Creation by Joanne Newbery

    Before Creation

    We are the fruit of ancient longing;
    before night and day were created
    the founding father had a cunning plan:
    His Word would love into being
    the very image of the lover
    made afresh and free in every soul.

    My womb felt the unfolding
    of sons before their earthly birth,
    the aching of making after love;
    God chose the cherishing
    to bubble along for billions of years
    before I appeared in history.

    After such a long gestation
    am I doing it right,
    am I what you hoped,
    when you sent the Son
    to blaze a path home?

    Carved from the great yearning
    we recently populated the world;
    it was a free entry.
    We can walk away to death,
    fall as woodshavings to the sculptor’s floor,
    but I scramble towards life,
    to seize the crown of the truly known
    in the humble place made for me,
    who was thought of so long ago,
    before star dust ever blew into God’s eye.

    Joanne Newbery is a Creative Writing student at Australia’s Southern Cross University. Her work has appeared in such Australian journals as Quadrant and Verity La. “Before Creation” was inspired by Ephesians 1:4, 5 and 11.

    Posted: 11 December 2019

  • Ephesus by John Newton

    Ephesus

    Thus saith the Lord to Ephesus,
    And thus he speaks to some of us;
    Amidst my churches, lo, I stand,
    And hold the pastors in my hand.

    Thy works, to me, are fully known,
    Thy patience, and thy toil, I own;
    Thy views of gospel truth are clear,
    Nor canst thou other doctrine bear.

    Yet I must blame while I approve,
    Where is thy first, thy fervent love?
    Dost thou forget my love to thee,
    That thine is grown so faint to me?

    Recall to mind the happy days
    When thou wast filled with joy and praise;
    Repent, thy former works renew,
    Then I’ll restore thy comforts too.

    Return at once, when I reprove,
    Lest I thy candlestick remove;
    And thou, too late, thy loss lament;
    I warn before I strike, Repent.

    Hearken to what the Spirit saith,
    To him that overcomes by faith;
    The fruit of life’s unfading tree,
    In paradise his food shall be.

    John Newton (1725—1807) is the author of perhaps the best-known hymn in English — “Amazing Grace”. This poem is based on Revelation 2:1-7, where John is instructed to write these things to the angel of the church in Ephesus.

    Posted: 04 December 2019

  • Sonnet of Thanksgiving by Andrew Lansdown

    Sonnet of Thanksgiving

    giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father – Ephesians 5:20

    I wake, draw the curtains and am suddenly aware
    that He is profligate, our God, giving us more
    than we need, more than we ever dream to ask for.
    Through the window on this winter morning, there

    beside my house, the forest is faint with mist.
    The white trees are like women standing half-seen
    in a sauna. The bushes where the spiders have been
    are strewn with ornaments for throat and wrist:

    necklaces, bracelets, strung with diamonds. A stark
    and startling wealth, this jewellery the women
    have put off. They stand in silent communion:
    unadorned, white, bar the occasional birthmark.

    And then in the stillness, the whiteness, the swirl,
    a lone bird call: it hangs on the ear like a pearl.

    Andrew Lansdown was called Australia’s greatest Christian poet, by the late Les Murray. He has published more than a dozen poetry collections, including Far from Home: poems of faith, grief and gladness (2010, Wombat Books) from which this poem is taken. His poetry has appeared in the McMaster Journal of Theology & Ministry and in The Turning Aside: The Kingdom Poets Book of Contemporary Christian Poetry.

    Posted: 27 November 2019

  • Person by Margaret Avison

    Person

    Sheepfold and hill lie
    under open sky.

    This door that is ‘I AM’
    seemed to seal my tomb
    my ceilinged cell
    (not enclosed earth, or hill)

    there was no knob, or hinge.
    A skied stonehenge
    unroofed the prison?
    and lo its walls uprising,
    very stone drawing breath?

    They closed again. Beneath
    steel tiers, all walled, I lay
    barred every way.

    ‘I am.’ The door
    was flesh; was there.

    No hinges swing, no latch
    lifts. Nothing moves. But such
    is love, the captive may
    in blindness find the way:

    In all his heaviness, he passes through.

    So drenched with Being and created new
    the flock is folded close, and free
    to feed ― His cropping clay, His earth ―
    and to the woolly, willing bunt-head, forth
    shining, unseen, draws near
    the Morning Star.

    Margaret Avison (1918―2007) is a Toronto poet, an officer of the Order of Canada, and a two-time winner of the Governor General’s Award. This poem relates primarily to John 10, but also includes the thought of the “captive” only being able to be rescued by Christ (Ephesians 2: 8 & 9; 4:8; etc).

    Posted: 20 November 2019

  • St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, Lent by Anya Krugovoy Silver

    St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, Lent

    At the word fornicators, I roll my eyes.
    Not to live in the passions of the flesh―
    how grim and arid the light we’re promised,
    as if all the earth were bleak midwinter.
    Meanwhile, Paul, plum trees are bruising
    the church parking lot, cherry trees readying
    their exuberant and joyful climax of pink,
    the palest pink, nipple pink, pink of my dry
    (I licked them) lips, of my amoral animal body.
    Not easily have I obeyed the commandments.
    For I love that keen, painful twisting of desire,
    the tight bud of it straining against its husk.

    Anya Krugovoy Silver (1968―2018) is the author of four poetry collections, including Second Bloom (2017, Poiema/Cascade) and from nothing (2016, LSU Press) from which this poem is taken. She taught English at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. The honest, wrestling response in this poem is to a perceived judgemental tone in Ephesians 5:5.

    Posted: 13 November 2019

  • Poem for November by Jill Peláez Baumgaertner

    Poem for November

    ———-Ephesians 5: 8-20.

    Many trees are mere stencils now,
    but some still dazzle, those with light
    in their yellow leaves, this even
    as November skies stretch mute
    and somber.

    It is easy this time of year
    to dwell on losses and the world
    so shattered, even watching this translucent
    yellow tree, whose light one could read by,
    this blaze against the dimming season.

    And we are gathered, each one of us,
    in this autumn dilemma,
    both anchored and adrift.

    Like Eve reaching for Adam’s hand
    as they stand, stunned,
    outside the gates.

    Or that child, Mary, who in the silence
    after Gabriel’s startling news,
    wonders, “Should I say yes?”

    Or Paul, the persecutor, eyes scaled,
    his mouth a thin, straight
    line, his heart in its first
    ever motion of turning over.

    Or two thousand years later
    those rabbis at Auschwitz
    who put God on trial,
    convicted him,
    then turned to evening prayer.

    Or the aging professor
    who said that when he cannot
    forgive, he simply acts as if he had.

    These images may seem splinters,
    fragments scattered and aimless.
    But we are not so twisted
    that we cannot see the cross’s
    change from torture into bliss,
    from blood and slivers
    into the gleam of polished
    planks for Christ, arms
    raised in victory.

    So here we gather
    in all of our imperfections,
    waiting for song to blaze into the dark
    corners, as this year races
    toward both finalés and preludes.

    Listen. Soon one clear voice will blend
    with another. Anchored by the rush
    of melody we will catch hold
    of the whole breath and timbre
    of the moment and together
    in this world so prone to drift,
    we will see by the cross,
    the tree of light, pure music.

    Jill Peláez Baumgaertner is the Poetry Editor for Christian Century. Her most-recent poetry collection What Cannot Be Fixed appears as part of the Poiema Poetry Series from Cascade Books. She is Professor of English Emerita at Wheaton College.

    Posted: 06 November 2019

  • Believe Not Those Who Say by Anne Brontë

    Believe Not Those Who Say

    Believe not those who say
    The upward path is smooth,
    Lest thou should stumble in the way,
    And faint before the truth.

    It is the only road
    Unto the realms of joy;
    But he who seeks that blest abode
    Must all his powers employ.

    To labour and to love,
    To pardon and endure,
    To lift thy heart to God above,
    And keep thy conscience pure.

    Be this thy constant aim,
    Thy hope, thy chief delight,
    What matter who should whisper blame
    Or who should scorn or slight.

    What matters—if God approve,
    And if within thy breast,
    Thou feel the comfort of His love,
    The earnest of His rest?

    Anne Brontë (1820―1849) was the youngest of the famous Brontë sisters. This poem, written in 1848, was called “The Narrow Way” by Charlotte in her 1850 edition. The final line echoes the King James translation of Ephesians 1:14, where the Holy Spirit is referred to as “…the earnest [that is the pledge] of our inheritance.”

    Posted: 30 October 2019

  • Gary by William J. Danaher Jr

    Gary

    holding the lifeless boy
    i tell his mother
    he is
    beautiful

    his large hands promised
    greatness
    the mention of which
    is a mystery
    but with it
    peace
    enters the
    room

    unfulfilled promise is better
    remembered
    than none
    at all

    his tiny body deceivingly heavy
    wiggling makes
    living things
    lighter

    cold to the touch
    the warmth
    has left his
    blanket

    dressed in blue
    his body lovingly washed
    nurtured
    from
    day one

    loved from the beginning
    she loves him
    to the end

    you will help me let him go
    she said
    but when I arrive
    it is
    too late

    I cradle his body
    dead to the world
    he is alive
    to God

    and in that moment
    my own life
    leaves
    me

    The Rev. Dr. William J. Danaher Jr. is an Episcopal Priest serving as Rector of Christ Church Cranbrook in Metro Detroit. He received his PhD from Yale University. He and his wife, Claire, have two daughters, Phoebe and Rose. This poem connects Ephesians 2:14 to an experience he had as a hospital chaplain in Washington, D.C.

    Posted: 23 October 2019

  • 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 the forthcoming Flux Lines (Linnet’s Wings Press), 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 poet 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).