Robert Kirkland Kernighan

(25 April 1854 – 3 November 1926 / Ontario)

Ahab - Poem by Robert Kirkland Kernighan

A Library of prudent lore,

For prince or bearer of the hod ;

'Tis always an unfailing store

Of Truth such is the Word of God.

Imagine, if you can, this case :

(The proposition 's rather rough)

Destroy all man-made books the race
Would find the Word of God enough,

To teach us purity and truth,

A courage high, a sinless mirth ;

For Jezebel and loyal Ruth

Are still at large upon the earth.

David, Rachel, Ananias

There goes a Judas o'er the way !

'Mpulsive Peter, Paul the Pious
Are met with almost ev'ry day.

But when I see a Jezebel

I see the groves of Baal grow ;

Her treach'rous feet take hold on hell,
And Ahab's ghost would tell you so.

O, Ahab ! in thy kingly state,

Upon the holy wall I see
A wretched fool thy fearful fate

Hath many lessons taught to me.



I 've watched all morn the temple roof,
To see the smoke of incense rise ;

I 'm told 't was at thine own behoof
There was no morning sacrifice.

Was 't Baal set thy fathers free ?

Of Baal what can Israel boast?
Was 't Baal opened up the sea,

And smothered Pharaoh and his host?

Was 't Baal's name the waters heard,
And burst the rock, so long ago?

And tell me, was it Baal's word
O'erthrew the walls of Jericho ?

Rouse thee, O, Ahab ! and be wise,
Before the gates of God are hid ;

Bring forth to-day, for sacrifice,
A lamb, a heifer and a kid !

To Jezebel thy heart is wax :

Go sound a trumpet thro' the town ;

Gird up thy loins : take thine axe,
And hew the groves of Baal down !

You won 't ! thou craven, show thy teeth !

I know thy wolfish spirit well :
Behold thee, crouch and cower 'neath

The baneful glance of Jezebel.

Behold him, you ; he scarce can rise ;

His face is lettered with a leer ;
His breath is horrible his eyes

Blink meanly thro' their banks of blear.



120 THE KHAN'S CANTICLES.

His hands are puffed like adders' heads ;

His throat emits a husky cry ;
His cheeks are blotched with purpled reds ;

His lips are blue, and cracked, and dry.

Who is it standing by his side
Fair as the morning dark as hell?

'Tis she, while lasts all time and tide,
Hath named each harlot 'Jezebel.'

She stands beside him like a pine ;

She tow'rs above him like an Alp ;
Her eyes, triumphant, orb-like, shine

With scorn upon his pimpled scalp.

Awake, O ! Ahab ! Israel's king !

Awake, and hear the prophet call :
Lay hands on Jezebel, and fling

The splendid devil from the wall.

You won't ! then die, thou craven cur !

See, yonder dogs all slink with shame ;
But while they wait to feast on her,

Not one of them \vould hear thy name !

Poetic justice ! Baal lent,

From out his grave, the chastening rod
That to Gehenna Ahab sent,

And beckoned Israel back to God !


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Poem Submitted: Monday, May 14, 2012



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