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Famous Jonah Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Jonah poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous jonah poems. These examples illustrate what a famous jonah poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Burgess, Gelett
...all the Children on the Street;
27 But Nurse has Told me of his Wrath when he was Made to Take a Bath!

28 Oh, Think of JONAH when you 're Bad; Think what a Happy Way he had
29 Of Saying 'Thank You! -- 'If you Please' -- 'Excuse Me, Sir,' and Words like These.
30 Still, he was Human, like Us All. His Muddy Footprints Tracked the Hall.

31 Just fancy KADESH for a Name! Yet he was Clever All the Same;
32 He knew Arithmetic, at Four, as Well as Boys of Nine or More!
...Read More



by Sexton, Anne
...k.
See how she sits on her knees all day, 
faithfully washing herself down.
Men enter by force, drawn back like Jonah
into their fleshy mothers.
A woman is her mother.
That's the main thing....Read More

by Sexton, Anne
...ink, as a I touch its little head. 
It bleeds. I have forgiven murderers and whores 
and now must wait like old Jonah, not dead 
nor alive, stroking a clumsy animal. A rat. 
His teeth test me; he waits like a good cook, 
knowing his own ground. I forgive him that, 
as I forgave my Judas the money he took. 
Now I hold his soft red sore to my lips 
as his brothers crowd in, hairy angels who take 
my gift. My ankles are a flute. I lose hips 
and w...Read More

by Cowper, William
...Saul's certain prey;
But hark! the foe's at hand;
Saul turns his arms another way,
To save the invaded land.

When Jonah sunk beneath the wave,
He thought to rise no more;
But God prepared a fish to save,
And bear him to the shore.

Blest proofs of power and grace divine,
That meet us in His word!
May every deep-felt care of mine
Be trusted with the Lord.

Wait for His seasonable aid,
And though it tarry, wait:
The promise may be long delay'd,
But cannot come too...Read More

by Graves, Robert
...tifold, 
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 pi...Read More



by Edgar, Marriott
...I'll tell you the story of Jonah,
A really remarkable tale;
A peaceful and humdrum existence he had
Until one day he went for a sail. 

The weather were grand when they started,
But later at turn of the tide
The wind started blowing, the water got rough,
And Jonah felt funny inside.

When the ship started pitching and tossing
He tried hard his feelings to smother,
At last he j...Read More

by Sandburg, Carl
...IF I should pass the tomb of Jonah
I would stop there and sit for awhile;
Because I was swallowed one time deep in the dark
And came out alive after all.

If I pass the burial spot of Nero
I shall say to the wind, “Well, well!”—
I who have fiddled in a world on fire,
I who have done so many stunts not worth doing.

I am looking for the grave of Sinbad too.
I want to shake hi...Read More

by Paterson, Andrew Barton
...up to me 
To give you some instruction like—a kind of Christmas tale— 
So name your yarn, and off she goes. What, “Jonah and the Whale”? 
Well, whales is sheep I’ve never shore; I’ve never been to sea, 
So all them great Leviathans is mysteries to me; 
But there’s a tale the Bible tells I fully understand, 
About the time the Patriarchs were settling on the land. 

Those Patriarchs of olden time, when all is said and done, 
They lived the same as far-out men on many ...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna
...e shore.

And all day the ringing did not quiet
Over the expanse of ploughed up soil,
Here most powerfully from Jonah
Distant Laurel belltowers do recoil.

I am trimming on the lilac bushes
Branches, that are now in full flower;
Ramparts of the ancient fortifying
Two old monks are slowly walking over.

Dear world, understood and corporeal,
For me, one unseeing, set alive.
Heal this soul of mine, the King of Heaven,
With the icy comfort of not lo...Read More

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