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Friday, March 11, 2011

Fast Day 197 March 11 2011 { Jonah }

Jonah was a Lifeguard

If Leviathan had not swallowed me,
I would have eaten him,
hungry lifeguard of worlds was I
although I hardly swim.

Expectorate upon the beach,
I tried to catch my breath:
what lessons did I have to teach?
or should I leave by stealth?

Words of gold placed in my mouth
as I shiver and I stand,
The angels of the Lord come forth
and warm me on the strand:

Walk into the market place;
do stand-up for the crowd;
cymbal shod and  golden lace
O, pilgrim weak, yet proud!

Riddle, puzzle: whence your strength
to ride across the sea?
How wide your bedrock, what the length
is His love for thee?


Ruth said...

You outdid yourself, Montag. This is gorgeous.

First of all, I adore the conceit of Jonah eating the whale.

I love Jonah as lifeguard. ". . . hungry lifeguard of worlds was I" !

Gold and golden this is. The rhyme and rhythm are so beautiful, that when I get to the last two stanzas, I don't know whether to weep or cheer.

I've been thinking a lot about the hymn "It is Well with My Soul" lately, and this feels like a hymn to me.


Montag said...

Thank you so much.
It does sort of grow on one. I wasn't sure I liked it at first, then every time I re-read it, I liked it better.

The woodcut helped a lot. I wasn't kidding about woodcuts. They come on like gangbusters.

Montag said...

It is Jonah seen from the corner of my eye...
This is the way I escaped from the dead ritual, to catch the stories like Jonah as if on "Candid Camera"...

I would think most people are much too enslaved in the accepted ways of seeing Scripture and Jonah to escape to the beach where he lay in whale spit, and touch him.