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2012 PHJC Poetry Contest Reception

Tuesday, 02 October 2012

Poetry Reading Event

The PHJC Ministry Center, an Intergenerational Living and Learning Center, held their first Poetry Contest. On September 18, 2012 a poetry reading and reception awarding the winners was held at Lindenwood Conference and Retreat Center.


The Public event was an evening filled with lovely poetry, beautiful music, delicious food and heartfelt moments. Approximately seventy-five guests attended. Poetry was read, some by the authors, others by Sister Mary Jo Shingler, the designated reader. The Pare family musicians played the harp, cello and the violin to entertain the guests and Earthworks Market provided a nutritious and delicious meal.

Toward the end of the evening the contest winners were announced. The top four entries received an award certificate and a cash prize while all who entered received a participation certificate and a book of the entered poems.

First place was awarded to Muriel F. Lennstrum for her entry "A Whale of a Tale". Rick Timm was awarded second place for his entry "Our Little Boy". Third place received a tie for the entries "My Cornea Transplant" by Jenny Miller and "Unwavering Faith" by Angela Kisela. In all, twenty-four poems were entered by poets of all ages.

Listed below is the 2012 Winning entry: "A whale of a Tale" by Muriel F. Lennstrum




Once upon a time in a land far away
Stood a great big city named Nineveh.

Now the people were evil and the king was too.
The Lord felt pity and thought a message was due.

So he called on Jonah from a town in Galilee.
“I want you to go and preach a message for Me.”

Said Jonah, “Who, me? You can’t be serious!”
Then he disobeyed God. He must have been delirious!

Jonah boarded a ship and he went down to the hold.
The waves lashed and pounded and the sailors got cold!

Cried the sailors, “Oh gods, don’t be angry with us!
We’ll cast some lots and see who’s made the seas thus.”

The man in the hold, Jonah, got the lot.
He admitted his guilt, so they didn’t have to plot.

They would throw him out into the depths of the sea.
Then the waters would calm as still as could be!

“Heave ho,” they cried as they dropped him in.
He sank to the bottom and then saw a fin.

As the fin closed in, Jonah, still a sinner,
Thought for sure he’d be the giant fish’s dinner.

To his great surprise, after he got swallowed,
He found himself in a cavity hollowed.

Three days he spent and ended up praying
And thanking God for his safety in staying.

After night number three, the whale got an order;
He spit Jonah out near Nineveh’s border.

God again called Jonah to preach, “Repent!”
This time Jonah listened and went where he was sent.

After just one day of Jonah’s earnest preaching,
The whole of Nineveh was sincerely beseeching.

They dressed in ashes and sackcloth rough
And fasted and prayed even though it was tough.

After forty days Yahweh heard their prayer
And that great big city He decided to spare.

Now Jonah was angered by his success.
His anger with God he did express.

He waited and waited for the city to crumble
And when it stood firm, he began to grumble.

God allowed a plant, strong and sturdy, to grow
But on the morrow the plant was brought low.

Poor Jonah got angry, even worse than before!
He wanted to die right there on the floor!

God asked him why, since he had no right.
God gives and takes; that’s part of His might.

God went on to explain, after Jonah had raved,
That He loved ALL nations and wanted them saved.

Now the story of Jonah is a whale of a tale,
But God’s mercy and love, if we want it, won’t fail.

— Muriel F. Lennstrum