Something happened this past weekend that I cannot quite explain. I told my wife that I felt "possessed" — but "obsessed" might be the better term.
Last Friday, I posted The Blessing which I had worked on for the better part of two weeks. The writing took somewhat less, but from concept to publication was thirteen days. As mentioned, that was posted on Friday. Since I can only concentrate on one poem at a time, I felt "released" to look ahead to the next one.
On Saturday, I had decided to write on Job 3 but didn't have any real chance to sit down and write. I had glanced at the first few verses a couple of times and the first line was sort of formulating in my mind Saturday night. I woke up on Sunday morning shortly after six (without the alarm) and was eager to get into it.
I wrote the first line as it is, but I thought, no no no, this cannot be. I do not want to write lines with internal rhyming — it's too hard. And the payoff might not be there. But nothing else I tried to write sounded as good, so I thought I would try to see how far I could take it.
And the words just came forth. By the time I got ready for church — I had 4 or 5 verses written. Church, lunch, Walmart, nap — then I was back at the PC. And the rest of it was written by dinner! I couldn't believe it.
Even now, I went to bed and was too excited to sleep; got up to tweak it into its present form. Now, it's nearly 3a and I'm starting to think: uh oh, I've got to go to work in a few hours!
The Book of Job is part of the Poetic section of the Bible — and with good reason! Its a beautiful read. I've never spent any time in it and reading it now is a great experience.
The title of this poem was created in such a manner whereby I could write other poems concerning Job and his friends. So, the next one in line would be Job II - Eliphaz's First Response to Job, then Job III - Job's Second Speech: A Response to Eliphaz, etc. By my count, there are 25 or more distinct speeches found in Job.
But, if this is the only poem I ever pen concerning Job, then I reserve the right to change the title to Job's Lament.
Job's First Speech
Based on Job 3
Let the day of my birth disappear from the earth;
how I wish I had never been born!
You don't know how I'm grieved that my mother conceived,
and I hold my conception in scorn.
May that morning be dark and the dawning embark
without light as if God doesn't care.
Let the gloom, like a cloud, and the darkness enshroud
that sad day like it never was there.
Let that day disappear from the calendar year,
and the months skip that digit for spite;
it would silence their voice — any chance to rejoice —
if the world could be barren that night.
Given time to rehearse, let the experts who curse
raise Leviathan — cursing away.
Let the stars turn their back and the twilight go black
and the morning ignore the new day.
But my own mother's womb had refused me a tomb
so I breathed in my very first breath.
Why'd I lay in her lap? Why'd I suck at her pap?
Why'd I choose to live life over death?
If I'd died there somehow I'd be resting right now
with the kings and the princes of old,
in the houses they've built and their palaces filled
with their treasures of silver and gold.
For in death troubles cease and the weary find peace
and the captives and guards are the same;
and you cannot tell which are the poor or the rich,
and the master of slaves has no claim.
Why does God give a light to a man without sight
and a life to the bitter of soul?
For he digs in the ground beyond treasure he's found,
as he seeks for the grave in the hole.
Now my sighing is great at the sight of my plate
and my crying pours out like the sea;
for the thing I most fear is now actually here
and I dread what has happened to me.
Let the day of my birth be erased, and the night I was conceived.