Home :: Poems :: Christian Poem - Barnabus
Joyce Carr Stedelbauer
Barnabus, where was the property that you sold,
on the wind or leeward side of the almond-shaped island
of Cyprus? And your livelihood - fisherman, farmer or merchant?
O, to sit across a little beach table from you, feet in the sand,
shaded by a white umbrella, listening to the music of the Mediterranean,
eating fish that swam but an hour ago,
and salt you with questions, Barnabus the encourager.
Was the wind strong the first day that you boarded a ship
in Paphos for the journey of several days, to Joppa
in the beautiful land and on up the hills until
you reached the high wall of Jerusalem?
Entering her Joppa gate the cacophony of sounds
must have assaulted ears tuned to the whistle of sea gulls;
peddlers with push carts hawking their wares, wheels
clattering over cobblestones, the braying of animals,
iron clanging iron in the blacksmith’s shop, coins
ringing in a ceramic dish and the confusion of languages.
Children playing hide and seek
in the labyrinth of shops and narrow alleyways.
Ripe smells new to a nose trained to salt air;
oranges in the sun, coffee roasting in small copper pans,
big baskets of figs and dates oozing juice,
bread carried on the baker boy’s head, women hurrying
to put their pots of meat and vegetables
in the glowing coals of the baker’s oven.
Passover time in Jerusalem.
You must have prayed with the Disciples,
debated long hours into the night the implications
of Messiah’s commands. It was a significant sacrifice
to sell your quiet land at home and give the money
for missions. Little did you dream that soon
you, Barnabus of Cyprus and Paul of Tarsus,
a city far to the north, would sit at a little beach table,
feet in the sand of Paphos, shaded by a white umbrella,
listening to the music of the Mediterranean
and eat fish that swam but an hour ago,
all because the Master said Go.