Damaris of Athens: A Poem of Hope


I was reading Acts the other day and was inspired by the simple note that a woman named Damaris was among the few converted in Athens when Paul preached there. Who was she?  What were her hopes and dreams? I explore them in the poem below.

Damaris of Athens: A Poem of Hope

It was on Mars Hill
I first heard the small man preach.
He whom some called ‘the Babbler’.

“I noticed,” he said, “you have an altar
inscribed ‘To the Unknown God’.
Listen, as I tell you about Him
whom you ignorantly worship.”

His voice sounded as sure as a lion,
as he spoke of the God
who had met him
on the road to Damascus.

Around me people scoffed.
Each day we wake
to a multitude of stories.
Athens is full of stories.
Full of distractions.
To them this seems but one more.

But to me this story is different.
This story has a Spirit about it…
The Babbler, whose name is Paul,
says that we are the offspring of God.

Not just any god but the Almighty.
The Creator of sun and moon and stars.
The Creator of order and beauty and bounty.

“He is not far from us, his children.”
Not far from us…
My heart sings for very joy,
even as those around me mock.
The Spirit of Life, my Father’s spirit,
whispers through my soul,
brushing the cobwebs from my heart,
and filling me with heaven’s love.

The short man leaves the scoffers
to the cold comfort
of their own intelligence.

“Wait,” I call to him.
He turns with a smile.
I would learn more
of the Unknown God.
I will feel after him.
I will find him…

based on Acts 17
cover image: Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder, 1912 – John William Godward

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