Prophet, Fish, and Storm

Written by
Steven HAuse
Feb 8, 2021
Steven HAuse

In the days of the leviathan
When dragons ruled the seas,
A king misled his wealthy nation
With superstitious education:
Brought idols to the population—
Nineveh’s disease.

In the days of the leviathan
Off the shores of great Tarshish,
It was known there was a massive beast
Most often sighted to the east
That could make of ships a feast—
A citadel-sized fish.

In the time of Hebrew prophets,
A man received a word—
A message to each Ninevite
To bring them back to what was right
To push out darkness with the light—
But he rejected what he heard.

In the year of the great downpour
Off the coast of Egypt’s shore,
The man went quickly to the sea
Hoping desperately to flee
From the word he was meant to decree
At Nineveh’s front door.

At dusk while on the journey,
The tempest grew and stirred.
The cargo was tossed out the boat.
The sailors tried to keep afloat,
By crying out, with hoarse, cold throats,
To the god that each preferred.

In the midst of waves and lightning,
The captain called the crew.
With just a simple pair of dice
They’d make the process quite concise,
To show which man would pay the price
for the storm he’d caused to brew.

As brine waves tossed them back and forth,
They struggled through their game.
As wind puffed up the beaten mast,
A thundercloud gave out a blast
And the final lot that they had cast
Showed Jonah was to blame.

Amidst the sprays of salt and rain,
A desperate plan was planned.
A nervous talk amongst the crew,
Concluded with what they should do:
To calm the Lord of the Hebrew,
Who’d “made the sea and the dry land.”

So, in the darkness of the night,
They threw Jonah overboard.
And in the depths he saw appear
That monstruous fish approaching near—
His stinging eyes grew wide with fear
And he called upon his Lord.

While bobbing in the stormy seas,
The man was swallowed whole.
In that cave, draped in seaweed,
He repented of his cowardly deed,
But still he held to spite and greed
In the darkness black as coal.

As the fish swam eastward,
Guided by an Ancient Light,
The bitter soul of that bitter dinner
Upset the workings of its innards
And the Lord caused that the prophet-sinner
Be spat up that third night.

Back to where he’d started,
Before he had ignored
The command that he coldly received
To proclaim the things God had achieved
And tell all those who’d been deceived,
“Salvation comes from the Lord.”

So, he marched to Nineveh
And preached to all those there.
The king cried out a great lament
And called the nation to repent
Of all their worship dark and bent
And turn to God in prayer.

And in those days in Nineveh
The people felt God’s love,
But Jonah was disgusted
That the city had adjusted
To the God that they now trusted
Who gave blessings from above.

For Jonah couldn’t understand,
That one way or another,
Each earthly soul will turn to God
And each will come home from abroad
Escaping from their pasts so flawed,
Like chicks run to their mother.

And even livid Jonah
Would someday come to tell
That, though he had been dreaming
Of the people’s death and screaming,
Their lives were worth redeeming—
And their cattle kept safe as well.

So, in the days of the Leviathan
When dragons ruled the seas,
The prophet sat out in the sun
Upset at what his Lord had done;
But there was hope for everyone—
Even Jonah, even he.

Steven HAuse is an English language teacher who has lived and taught in Bolivia, Spain, and Japan. He loves learning more about different cultures, exploring theological topics, and watching all kinds of great movies.