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

Watch for new posts every week!

D.S. Martin is the Series Editor for the Poiema Poetry Series from Cascade Books. His most-recent book of poetry is Ampersand (2018). Follow these links to his website www.dsmartin.ca and to Kingdom Poets his online resource of Christian poetry.

  • 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).


Artist Index

Philip C. Kolin
A Prisoner Of Christ

Tanya Runyan
Approach With Boldness