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After Jonah 1:4-5

Sitting in his throne of stone, cut from crags
atop the world’s tallest mountain, overseeing
all, the king-god breathed deeply in his lungs
before exhaling forth a rushing word,
what appeared to mortal senses like raging winds
that carried thundercracks across the waves
so echoes could ripple down to the depths.
In a castle of coral, the ocean’s spirit
responded to this call from his master,
surging up through the surf to the surface
to breach his muscular beauty, turquoise,
in ferocious explosions of spray – a tempest –
where with wild seaweed woven beard flowing
his fish-scaled hands clenched every storm-caught ship
until the ribs of each vessel quaked out of fear –
lumber knowing it could break at the sea-keeper’s command.
Soon, sailors on board, more wisely afraid
of the Divine than their merchants on shore,
began tossing overboard their cargo’s first-fruits,
sacrifices of food, money, city-building tools
that they hoped would appease the omnipotent One
(death the ever-present threat of their plight),
though down in the bowels of a boat, Jonah slept,
like us, undisturbed by Reality’s actions.
We too pursue slumber and its numbness
to dream we remain the kings of our fates;
it easier to dwell in a dumb, mute, cosmos
with elements we can measure, control,
than to admit the wind carries a Voice,
what we often mishear as a nightmare:
convinced the sea-beasts beneath us only consume.

Photo by JPhoto by Torsten Dederichs on Unsplash

Nathaniel A. Schmidt

Nathaniel A. Schmidt serves as a chaplain within the Christian Reformed Church and holds degrees from Calvin Theological Seminary, Calvin University, and The University of Illinois, Springfield. His first collection of poems, An Evensong, is available from Wipf and Stock. He lives with his librarian wife, Lydia, and their daughter in Muskegon, MI, meaning life is a perpetual story-time.

One Comment

  • Verla Blom says:

    Thank you, Nathaniel. Thank you for studying the WORD. Thank you for using your words to bless us with insight and imagery.