Poetry

Lectionary Poetry – 17th Sunday After Pentecost (Year A)

Each week we carefully curate a collection of  poems that resonate with the lectionary readings for that week (Narrative Lectionary and Revised Common Lectionary).
 
 

*** Revised Common Lectionary ***

Lectionary Reading: Jonah 3:10-4:11

 
 


CLASSIC POEM:

Jonah
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.

*** This poem is in the public domain,
  and may be read in a live-streamed worship service.

 
 

CONTEMPORARY POEM:

Leviathan
Clare Pollard

SNIPPET:

 Sometimes I feel like Jonah
fleeing Nineveh.
Who wants to hear what is evil?
Every day we make this earth less
alive, various or legal.

[ READ THE FULL POEM ]

 
 

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