Friday, July 3, 2009

Take Jonah, many do

Let me ask again,
Why do we teach this stuff to kids?
These so-called “heroes of the faith”
Murderers, liars, adulterers and more

Take Jonah, many do
Four simple chapters
Each with an adventurous turn
A message, an application for the soul

God calls and Jonah runs
Far and fast, jumps on a boat
Can’t blame him. Who’d want to be near
Such a bossy deity?

Providence or retribution?
God sends a storm, Jonah confesses
Sailors toss him into the murk
Raging waters find their rest

The fish arrives
To swallow the man
Three days and equal nights
Dark and alone, bile and desperation

He prays
A fox-hole moment
A death bed confessional
An all or nothing promise

God speaks
The fish pukes
Jonah walks
On the shore

He obeys
(Who wouldn’t?)
Goes where’s he’s told
Spreads the news

They hear, they believe
They fall in the dust
They call on God, Jonah’s God
For mercy

Jonah’s a hero
He did God’s work
Lives were changed
All is well

But not for Jonah,
He’s pissed, a sulking child
“I told you so!” he blasts the Creator
“Let me die?” is his waning plea

Terrorized into submission
Grudging cooperation
Anger simmering into brooding disgust

Go ahead
Put a bow on it
Make it cute and sweet
Maybe, they’ll never know the difference


  1. Or maybe they will see past the ribbons... and find their own hearts, beating like waves, like running feet.

    (Love the courage of this poem, btw.)

  2. ooh...ouch. You asked the questions we were scared to ask.

  3. Stark realist you! I liked the way you presented the long story in short form. Well done. You put a bow on it yourself! :0)