Jonah

I have had my time in that
belly and am glad
to reach dry land.  The sailors
are fine, but annoying, for they
praise him unceasingly and are
hurting my ears.  My clothes are spoiled
and I am all slime.  I stink
of fish.  And I am hungry.
But there the road is and
I am not done yet.  His hand
set me down, upright, not
drowned as I had feared, so
here I am.  That signpost says
Nineveh and it is there that
I must go
to make my proclamation.  He
sees me now you know - I
cannot hide, there is no place his arm
cannot reach - he no doubt
hears this speech.  I have been so
foolish.  Why he takes the time
to talk to me, I cannot
fathom.  Still, whether that lot
will or no
I go to make my proclamation.
Of course I know
how it will
turn out  it always does  
they never
listen to a word we say: to a man
are they deaf, dumb, blind.  I've told
him it's futile, but -
well, he doesn't listen and
I must obey.  Those people
in my opinion - they're
not worth the trouble anyway.

The sailors ceased their praying
to turn and wave as he
set off down the road
his feet kicking
little puffs of dust as he
walked for Nineveh.
Collected Works
Return to Collections all
next poem