‘To what shall I liken the kingdom of God?’
(Jesus of Nazareth)

The streamlined dolphin,
Concorde of the seas,
in his home-grown wet suit
sleek as woven silk –
gymnast of the ocean
he rides the waves with ease
in concerted fluent concord
with others of his ilk.

Then, a citizen of dry land
joined the gleeful group,
their habitat he made his own,
plied various swimming strokes,
harnessed the inbuilt habits of this
animated troupe,
produced a polished stage show from
disjointed tricks and jokes:-

The audience’s eyes
light up with surprise,
watching the pool
where O K dolphins rule –
parading, cascading,
then water-invading;
twisting and turning,
ducking and diving –
up, up and away!
Ole! and hooray! –
spinning and weaving,
wheeling and dealing . . .

A pair leap through the ceiling of water,
and soar in the air,
threading through hoops
five metres high,
looping the loop –
Concordes in the sky

Their perfect perspective of visual perception
off-sets water–to–air angle of refraction;
what a smooth operation
of muscular gyration
as if still in the ocean –
sheer poetry in motion.

Now a series of dolphins – so sprightly –
Break dance on their tail fins – uprightly.

Next, footballs are headed clear
into the crowd
who gasp as they cheer,
their applause long and loud.

Then a couple jet–ski
at high speed – yippee! –
around the aquatic
arena’s perimeter,
a dorsal fin cleaves the water –
lethal-sharp scimitar.

A disciplined display
of dolphins at play
‘cos alert to the hand
conducting their band –
they dance to his tune
with affection’s affinity,
a fellowship of fun
in love-bonded loyalty –
entente cordiale the esprit de corps
of each one of these
Pinocchio-nosed aquaplanes,
Concorde of the seas.

To what shall I liken the kingdom of God?

Dolphins do not duplicate
man’s cruelty to man –
the problem to be overcome
by our trainer from above.
Why did he visit our domain?
What motives for his plan?
Mere specks of dust we seem from space,
yet objects of God’s love.

He entered our society
by no magic sleight of hand;
embracing our mortality
he therefore could be drowned.
By rivalry and jealousy
the chief men had him banned;
he absorbed their rank hostility,
buried it – dead – underground.

Jonah-like from death’s sea bed
he rose, and now can breathe
in any atmosphere of earth –
having conquered air and sea
he ascended to God’s presence, whence
his Spirit he bequeathed –
his coronation ‘oil of joy’
and heaven’s harmony.

Those humans who are dead with him
and by his Spirit sealed
he can truly train in concord
as a team that flows as one,
so that ‘now to principalities
and powers is revealed
the rich varieties of grace’
by communion with the Son.

We lift our gaze to you, O Lord,
to you enthroned on high,
each servant’s eye on his trainer’s hand
awaiting signed instructions,
alert to your Spirit-breathed whistle notes
ready at once to obey,
to contribute our talents creatively –
impacting angels . . . and nations.

Hugh Thompson 16 October, l999

Notes: Written after watching a dolphin display in Portugal (hence ‘Ole’ in line 27). They reminded us of the sleek Concorde aeroplane whose engines were produced very near our home in Bristol, UK and its frame in Toulouse, France (hence the phrases in line 62).

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