Then Bildad the Shuhite replied to Job:
How long will you bluster? How long will you blow?
Like wind, without sense, blasting words to and fro.
Does God bend his justice -- however so slight?
Does God the Almighty pervert what is right?
Your children had sinned and God's judgement was served,
receiving God's justice they rightly deserved.
If you would ask God, even now, for his grace;
if your life was pure and you'd fall on your face:
he'd surely rise up on behalf of your fate,
restoring your life to your prosperous state.
Although your beginnings were humble, at best,
you'll find that your future will greatly be blessed.
Inquire of the past what your ancestors learned,
and heed any wisdom your parents discerned.
How smart can we be since just yesterday's birth?
A shadow that fades marks our time on this earth.
Will they not instruct you, their knowledge impart?
And teach you the wisdom of old from their heart?
Papyrus can't flourish without marsh or mire;
if water's withheld, then the reeds will expire.
Uncut and in flower they will be the first
to wither more quickly than grass from their thirst.
For such are the ones without God in their lives:
the hope of the godless man never survives.
His confidence, fragile, just hangs by a thread;
he places his trust in a spidery web.
He leans on his web but it cannot withstand;
he tries to hold that which dissolves in his hand.
He's like the lush plant in the sun sprouting roots;
the garden is full of his branches and shoots.
His roots intertwining the stone heap to lock,
to find there a home in the bed of the rock.
When torn and uprooted, the spot where he grew
disowns him by saying, I never saw you.
Such joy at the end of his life: he's erased,
while others take root and spring up in his place.
Behold, God rejects not the one who is pure,
nor will he let works of the wicked endure.
For he will once more give your laughter a voice,
a shout from your lips and a cause to rejoice.
Let Shame be the clothing your enemies wear;
their homes so destroyed -- like they never were there.
This poem was a finalist in the September 2020 poetry contest