Capernaum

Capernaum
—The disciples went out and got into a boat, but all night they caught nothing. John 21:3
    by Dan Behrens

Seaside village,
Capernaum,
With her growing garrison
Of Herodian troops,

Eclectic Commercialites
And native fishermen,
An agrarian trade post
Along the way of the Sea,

Or the Samaritan’s pilgrimage
Toward Mount Gerizim.
Then there are her streets
And all her Galilean children—

A James, a John, Thomas
And the custom’s chief,
The house of Peter—
and at least one other,

Brothers, turn to her boats
Like their fathers did
At daybreak, and push out
Away from all the shores

That crush them. Their rigging
Pitched portside, their tears
Netting nothing but silence
And a splash of stars

Hardly hanging on overhead.
These few small boats 
Drifting into the arc
Of some forgotten story.

All her forgotten stories
Of feasts and family,
Of sabbath prayers and miracles,
Her screaming crowds,

Her silent sufferer—Jesus.
Capernaum, so light and lost
Among the nations, a lonely lamb
At the edge of the earth,

Or the sea rather, or perhaps
Even those distant hills
Where the swine fell
Just beyond your reach.

Or like when our sweet Saint
Peter fell at the sight of waves,
His one wild step
Into everlasting life,

Cut free—
for one mere moment at least—
From all these boats
We so eagerly turn to.
 

One thought on “Capernaum

  1. So enjoyed these words and your further remarks as I watched you and Pastor Doug’s father on YouTube give two very moving messages on Fathers Day. Your poem was so helpful in providing some context for me in my struggle to reconcile being Christian believer and what that really means. Thanks so much.

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