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Jonah

 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.

by Robert Graves
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