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Job 9 • The Arbiter

by Robert Hawkins © 2019

Then Job spoke again:

You have said nothing new, for I know this is true.
Are my morals so different than God's?
If I filed a tort, could I answer in court
if a thousand-to-one were my odds?

For his wisdom is sound and his strength is profound;
who survives when they challenge his ways?
He moves mountaintops ere they are even aware;
in his anger, the mountains are razed.

God can make the earth quake, cause her pillars to shake,
let this world get so knocked out of place.
If he asked of the sun, "Do not rise" -- it is done;
to the stars, "Do not twinkle in space."

For he's stretched out the sky in the heavens on high,
and he walks on the waves of the seas.
The Orion, the Bear, and the Pleiades there--
he has hung constellations like these.

We cannot understand the great works of his hand,
and his wonders, unnumbered, abound. ​
I would not bat an eye If he chose to pass by
for he travels unseen, without sound.

If he snatched what is his, would we ask why it is
that we try to sway God with our grief?
He will not put aside his great wrath at the pride
of the helpers of Rahab beneath.​

Are there words that make sense if I'd mount my defense;
for what reason would he even budge?
And although I was right, no, I still would not fight; ​
only mercy I'd plead from my Judge. ​

If I summoned him here and he chose to appear,
he'd most likely not let me expound.
I feel crushed and abused, from his tempest I'm bruised,
and he doubles my wounds without ground.

For I'm running to death, barely catching my breath,
overwhelmed and embittered, indeed.
In a test of sheer force, he would win it, of course.
Also justice, so how should I plead?

Though I'm guiltless of blame, still my mouth proves my shame;
though I'm innocent, words become lies.
I am blameless, I swear! Yet, I no longer care,
for I'm living a life I despise.

We're the same in God's sight, whether wrong or we're right
he will grind us all up in his gears.
When disasters arise and the innocent dies
he will mock their despair and their tears.

Now, the wicked's in charge of the world at large
and her judges are blind as can be.
(It would be very odd if this wasn't of God,
for who else would forbid them to see?)

And my days disappear like a runner in fear,
without happiness -- day after day.
Very swiftly life floats like papyrus-made boats, ​
like an eagle swoops down on its prey.

If I say, "l'll forget my complaint", then I set
on my face a big smile or grin,
I'd still dread all the pain and the weight of its chain,
knowing you'd not acquit me my sin.

I'm already condemned? So, there's nothing to mend,
even lye and strong soap can't repair;
you will plunge me, in time, in a deep pit of slime
to be loathed by the clothes that I wear.

No mere mortal is he that he'd answer to me,
if we met one another in court.
Is there none we both trust, who is honest and just,
to be judge, as the final resort?

Let him take, then, the rod from the hard hand of God,
with the terror and panic he'll plant.
Then I'd speak without fear for that umpire to hear;
but as things stand right now -- I just can't.

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This poem was a finalist in the October 2020 poetry contest

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