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Job 3 • Job's Lament

by Robert Hawkins © 2019

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 did not care.
Let the gloom, like a cloud, and the darkness enshroud
that one day like it never was there.

Let that day disappear from the calendar year,
and the month be excluded 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.

For 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 nurse 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.

Could I not remain hid like the fetus they've rid
and the stillborn they've buried away;
like the infants who died before they ever cried,
and whose eyes never saw light of day?

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 treasures he's found,
as he seeks for his grave in the hole.

With great joy are they filled, and exceedingly thrilled,
when they find they are at the grave's edge.
Why is light even shown when their paths are unknown --
for whom God has surrounded a hedge?

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.

There's no quiet, no ease -- I'm a stranger to these,
I have feelings I can't even name;
with the peace in my head now replaced by the dread
since this trouble and turmoil came.​

This poem was a finalist in the February 2020 poetry contest

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