Yunus Found in Darkness
Foul smell he wore, dead sea and more
He gagged upon wet sand
With lungs aching and tongue burning
Tight and cramping stomach churning
He felt the land, the land.
Salt-fighting eyes blinked in white pain
The sun jabbed aches into his brain
A man who thought he’d gone insane
He looked back at the sea
With death now fought, Oh Lord, he thought
Your monster has saved me.
Its ancient bulk slid further out
Through waves called in by birds
Which gave gratitude in screeches
For braving such shallow beaches
To obey Allah’s words.
Leviathan, with his task done
Slipped deep into the black
With a cavernous draw of air
An hour of life, unspoken prayer
Then up and back, and back.
I have not yet shared all I know
Of those events so long ago
Which brought salvation after woe
Hearken to this story
Us it reaches, us it teaches
God earns all the glory.
How did he know he was chosen
To call the wrong to right?
What type of guidance made him shake?
Did its gravity make him quake?
What made him start his flight?
The task too great, he fled his fate
Which found him in that hour
When Allah used his strength as Lord
To frighten all who sailed aboard
Who cried, Such power! Such power!
With howling winds and cries of fear
They raised curses into the air
Their minds overcome with despair
As the storm closed it grip
Drowning the wails, ripping the sails,
And tearing at the ship.
Did he know that Allah wanted
Only a change of thought?
Did he see the Creator’s hand?
Would his confused mind understand?
Would he do what he ought?
The crew loud yelled, he still rebelled
In madness and torment
While stinging salt spray screamed in ears
And dreadful minutes passed as years
Winds cried: repent, repent!
The storm’s anger set minds aflame
Hot with thoughts of who was to blame
Who on board had a secret shame?
The cursed must give his life
So they threw dice, their hearts of ice
And chose their sacrifice.
They threw him into the wild sea
Cold gasping he sank down
For their gods to leave them alone
They had chosen one to atone
And he would have to drown.
In pitch black ink, where he did sink
He had no chance of help
But Allah sent his monstrous beast
Which opened for a man-sized feast
And gave a gulp, a gulp.
Its stinking gut became a womb
The living cave became a room
For one who thought it was a tomb
He gagged in caustic air
Choked out a plea, Lord please save me!
And begged God to be there.
Forgive my failings mighty Lord
Please let me live not die
I will obey your every word
I will do everything I heard
Grant me the chance to try.
With throat burning and soul yearning
He felt tears freely run
A weight of pain and shame combined
It almost overwhelmed his mind
He gasped, You’re One, the One.
Great Allah told his giant friend
That the Prophet’s torments should end
And to his task he should attend
So to shore the whale turned
Thrilled to do right, filled with delight
That he had God’s joy earned.
The one inside also rejoiced
That he had gained God’s grace
He felt it change his very core
Which clean it washed forever more
From feelings of disgrace.
They surged to shore, eager and more
To serve the One who saves
Focused in a sea of purpose
Two as one beneath the surface
Under the waves, the waves.
I have already shared with you
About that blessed retch or two
Which on the beach a prophet threw
The world’s most famous cough
Gentle and calm, to do no harm
Was thank God not too rough.
Our story has not yet ended
The rest should now be learned
About how one man changed many
Taught a city of blind to see
And God’s loving smile earned.
Within a week, no longer meek
He had regained his voice
To those who had rejected truth
He shouted with the zeal of youth
You have no choice, no choice!
Obey the Lord and bow your knees
Offer your sorry prayers in pleas
Cry to Him your apologies
Don’t let a moment pass
Without reprieve, you must believe
That judgement’s coming fast.
My God, the one thrown in the sea
Has come back from the dead
We had rejoiced at his demise
Yet here he is with fire in eyes
They cried aloud in dread
In shock and fear, it became clear
That they could not ignore
A prophet drowned far out at sea
Was back – alive – in their city
Demanding more, much more!
City elders were first to bow
Swayed by unimagined power
They repented that very hour
With their glad young and wives
They sank right there and offered prayer
And thanked God for their lives.
In time they all heeded the call
And Allah they obeyed
Their prophet taught them all wisdom
Through many years of joy with him
And endlessly they prayed.
Let us give praise, God’s name let’s raise
For sending loved Yunus
With clear guidance on how to live
And with God’s perfect grace to give
With love to us, for us.
Joel Hayward Poetry, Joel Hayward Poet, Joel Hayward Poems