First World War Poetry Digital Archive

Jonah

JONAH by ROBERT GRAVES

A purple whale Proudly sweeps his tail Towards Nineveh; Glassy green Surges between A mile of roaring sea.

'O town of gold, Of splendour multifold, Lucre and lust, Leviathan's eye Can surely spy Thy doom of death and dust.'

On curving sands Vengeful Jonah stands. 'Yet forty days, Then down, down, Tumbles the town In flaming ruin ablaze.'

With swift lament Those Ninevites repent. They cry in tears, 'Our hearts fail! The whale, the whale! Our sins prick us like spears.'

Jonah is vexed; He cries, 'What next? what next?' And shakes his fist. 'Stupid city, The shame, the pity, The glorious crash I've missed.'

Away goes Jonah grumbling, Murmuring and mumbling; Off ploughs the purple whale, With disappointed tail.

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