Liber Jonae CAPUT SIX Page NUN



_____NUN_____

And as soon as I had finished, the sunlight
That came streaming through the stained glass windows
That depicted gas lawn mower repair
In twelve easy-to-understand lessons
Suddenly disappeared, leaving darkness,
For I'd improperly inflected the spell
And caused an impromptu solar eclipse.
And then I saw, but not very clearly,
Due to lack of light, fear of Godhead
Imprinted on retinas of those present.
Quickly, I thought, intone the spell again!

How much time is left to change your ways?
September, month nine, hath thirty days,
And thirty days hath the Ninevites yet
For Godhead's terms are thirty days net.

Damn it. Again I'd inflected wrongly,
For among the thousands present not one
Who suffered from snake-bite was left uncured,
Although none scrupled to approach pulpit
And give voice to glad testimonial
Or roll up trousers to show smooth skin.
And fear of Godhead, I saw, was fading
Now that the sunlight had reappeared
Behind the lines of a two-stroke engine
In various cross-sectioned positions,
The sex act etched for love-lorn pistons.
So I repeated the ditty a third time,
Which, just as proverbs report, was the charm:

How much time is left to change your ways?
September, month nine, hath thirty days,
And thirty days hath the Ninevites yet
For Godhead's terms are thirty days net.

The unruly crowd was now hypnotized
And now docile as if lobotomized
And they sat so gape-mouthed and astonished
That I feared they'd abandoned full control
Of their bodily functions and processes.
I saw pools of drool begin to collect
In aisles that ran between the folding chairs,
But luckily no excrement or urine.
The immense hall was totally silent now.
Even the characteristic humming,
That unconscious humming in background,
Had come to stop. And did the fish's spell
Attune itself to Nineveh's signature?
Is that how it was done? Enough knowledge,
And anyone could fashion such a spell!
But theory was secondary at present.
Everyone's attention was at my command.
Some had closed eyes and slumped back in seats,
And all appeared loose, receptive, relaxed,
Ready to receive Godhead's holy word,
Except for one or two who'd stopped breathing
And shortly thereafter, sadly, expired.
First, I explained to my captive audience,
I want your donations. Lots of donations.
And next I want my name put on the sign...

And as I detailed my list of instructions,
I could barely suppress my expanding glee.
My reputation was firmly established,
And though, it's true, there was more to do,
I'd made an excellent start on the work.
The one instruction I'd failed to list
Was that very one the fish insisted
Be dropped, without fail, upon this town:
I'd neglected to bring up sackcloth.
Why bother sell the fools anything,
When I could sell them absolutely nothing
And collect the same total revenue?
Sackcloth, in my own view, was redundant.
Moreover, I did feel so godlike
Speaking commands from behind the pulpit,
That my own power had overpowered me
And my headstrong pride had led me astray.
It was, I concluded, a minor matter.
I'd sell sackloth some other time.



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