Liber Jonae CAPUT SEVEN Page NUN



_____NUN_____

Irreversible? Incurable, fish?
How can this be just? What have you done to me?

You are but one man among many millions.
And what of Euphrates? What of Tigris?
The river twins have now grown diminished,
Have slowed, have dwindled down to mere trickles.
Now grasshoppers drag themselves along,
Their brief desire to spring long since spent,
Replaced by that stiff and dyspeptic wisdom
That sickness and old age will teach a joint.
Chicken hens now lay grade B eggs.
The fertile fields arise in clouds of dust
And water buffalo have wandered away
In an unprecedented migration
To find moister, more congenial wallows.
The game, in a single, huge, confused herd,
Has stampeded in its haste to be elsewhere.
Blackened blossoms, blown away like ashes,
Leave behind no fruit for next harvest,
And no seedstock for next replanting.
All vegetation blisters and withers.
All newborn livestock - the calves, lambs,
Kids and slave infants - arrive blighted,
Not to mention ducklings and earthwormlets,
Particularly hard-hit by the blight.
Penguins in the zoological gardens
And pigeons on the ziggurat rooftops
Drop like ten-pins in bowling alley lanes.
They wait, shaken, for divine machinery
With clicks and clanks, with bangs and roars and thuds,
To descend, to collect, to reposition
Their feathered flocks in new conformations.
But as they stare up, stiff with rigor mortis,
Their eyes will grow bleak with disappointment,
For judgment day, for birds, is still distant.
Fixed stars wander off from their positions
To become planets, or worse, meteors.
Constellations begin to lose their shapes,
Disfiguring the gods thus depicted.
The night sky dissolves into a movement
That both astrologers and navigators
Will find hard to fathom, hard to follow.
And who can now catalogue the poisons,
The insecticides, the mercury and lead,
And the radioactive isotopes
With which the water's so heavily spiced
In cisterns and troughs, aqueducts and wells?

Is the meal not satisfactory, sir?
You've not even nibbled at your dinner!

Look at this fish. Tell me what you see,
I said to the waiter who stood at my booth.

I must admit that I see nothing amiss.
It's fresh, he replied, peering at the plate.

This fish is a turbot, I told the man.
Fish and chips is prepared with halibut.
Moreover, it is highly undercooked.
And where, my friend, are the chips? Take it back.

But you ordered the giant sushi platter!

I'm not inclined to argue the matter.
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.
Take the fish away and bring me a beer,
An import beer, an Egyptian lager.

Isn't that a clear abuse of power,
Said Marguerite with disapproved tone,
To commandeer beer with Godhead's spell?



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