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Job 7 • Life is Hard

by Robert Hawkins © 2019

Life is hard here on earth as we're working since birth;
do we not live our life as a slave?
Like one longing for shade or who hopes to be paid;
what is life -- but a foot in the grave.​

Wasted days, I expend; sleepless nights without end​
and my anguish and sorrow go on.
In my bed every night I just wait for the light
as I toss and I turn until dawn.

Maggots cover my flesh and it oozes afresh,
when the scabs and the hard dirt collide.
And my days swiftly zoom like a hand on the loom;
any hope in my future denied.

May I never forget that my life is a breath;
without joy -- only pain at my door.
You may notice me here, but I'll soon disappear;
​you will seek me but I'll be no more.

As a cloud floating by disappears in the sky,
so the grave won't return those it claims.
For you cannot go home once you're covered with loam,
since your place won't remember your name.

So I will not be hushed, nor my spirit be crushed,
but I'll bitterly wail from my soul!
I'm the sea churning waves? Or the whale that behaves
like I need to be under control?

When I think that my bed would bring peace to my head,
and that sleep might bring comfort to me;
there, you shatter my dreams with such horrible scenes,
and with visions I cannot unsee.

If my fate could be planned, I'd be choked by some hand
for I'd gladly trade this life for death.
How I crave the demise of this life I despise.
Let me be, for my days are a breath.

What are we -- why the fuss? Why obsess over us?
Why direct your attention towards man?
Every morning we wake -- that first step that we take,
you are there just to test us again.

Can't you leave me alone? I can't spit on my own
without you or your shadow right there.
If I've sinned, tell me how. Am I targeted now?
Am I simply your burden to bear?

Now, I've not long to live, will you never forgive
these transgressions and sins you abhor?
Very soon I will lay in the grave to decay;
​you will seek me but I'll be no more.

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This poem was a finalist in the August 2020 poetry contest

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