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Job 39 • Pinions and Plumage

by Robert Hawkins © 2019

Do you know when the wild goats are birthing?
Have you seen the faun born of the deer?
Do you have any skill to know when they fulfill?
Do you know when their time's finally here?

They will crouch down when bearing their offspring;
only then will their birth pangs adjourn.
Then the ones who survive will grow stronger and thrive;
when they leave, they will never return.

Tell me, who gave the wild ass its freedom;
loosed the rope and allowed it to roam?
For I've given it land that is nothing but sand,
making salt flats and wasteland its home.

And it scoffs at the noise in the village;
drivers’ shouts never reaching its ears.
Through the mountains, the ass roams in search of green grass,
then moves on when its food disappears.

Will the wild ox consent to your service?
Will it stay for the night in your stall?
Will it furrow a length if you harness its strength?
Will it harrow your valleys at all?

Can you count and rely on such power?
Will you leave it to manage your chores?
Will your trust be in vain lest it gathers your grain
and then brings it to your threshing floors?

Now the wings of the ostrich wave proudly,
but compared with the stork's -- there's no match!
For her eggs can be found there on top of the ground,
keeping warm in the dust till they hatch.

That the eggs might be crushed is forgotten;
or be trampled by some wild beast.
Her young's treatment infers that they're not really hers;
that she labored for naught in the least.

For God did not endow her with wisdom,
neither gave her a share of good sense.
But the contest is done once she gets up to run,
and she laughs at the horseman's expense.

Have you given the horse strength and vigor;
or the mane flowing down from his head?
Will he take off in fright like a grasshopper might?
His proud snorting strikes terror and dread!

He paws fiercely the ground in the valley;
and he charges hard into the fray.
And he laughs, unafraid, and is never dismayed;
from the sword, he does not turn away.

And against him, the arrows will rattle,
as will javelin, lance and the spear.
He cannot stand around but devours the ground
at the blast of the horn in his ear.

He defiantly snorts at the trumpet;
breathes the battle's scent into his mouth.
Is it by your insight that the hawk soars in flight,
as it stretches its wings to the south?

Does the eagle mount up at your bidding;
building nests in the crags of the sky?
It elects to abide on the steep mountainside
on the cliffs in its fortress on high.

And from there, for its prey it keeps searching;
keeping watch with its eyes on the ground.
And its young make a feast on the blood of a beast;
near the slain, it will surely be found.

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