Alumni/ae Tuesday – Karl Plank, MDiv’77, MA ’80, PhD’83

Our monthly Alumni/ae Tuesday Guest Post series on the VDS Voices blog highlights posts written by VDS and GDR alumni/ae. Hear firsthand about their important work in the community, collaborations with other alumni/ae and faculty, and much more.

Be sure to also check out the Divinity School Instagram feed every Tuesday for our Alumni/ae Instagram Takeover Day. Each week, we will showcase a different alumnus/a as they document their day in photos. Follow @VUDivinity on Instagram today!

If would like to contribute a post to the Alumni/ae Tuesday Guest Post series, or participate in our Alumni/ae Instagram Takeover Day, please email Addie Sullivan (  in the Vanderbilt Divinity School Alumni/ae office.


For me the ideal venue of worship is a cave—Ed Farley (1929-2014)

in memoriam

somewhere a cave

and introit|
at the edge
of sanctuary

a chant sotto voce
not disturbing
the fluted flowstone

the blind salamander
or the moist air
we breathe

in the dark
where You are

canons permit
on the ledge

but better a taper
in hand
as faces emerge

from cowls of shadow
and walls
quiver quietly


but let words
be spare

as the rock
and born
of its silence

here i am
(as at your mother’s

sigh yes
(as at your daughter’s

and little else

yours is to listen
for the pulse
of the wolf spider

in its courtship
the drop of water

to a distant pool
and the high-pitch
of wind

in cleft
and crevice
from an opening

(where You are


Karl Plank

Karl Plank (MDiv’77, MA’80, PhD’83) is the J.W. Cannon Professor of Religion at Davidson College in North Carolina. His recent poetry has appeared in publications such as Beloit Poetry Journal, New Madrid, Spiritus, The Cresset, and Poetry Daily.