There are veins one can find where the silver is mined,
and a place where the gold's purified.
Iron's taken from dust, far below the earth's crust,
and the rocks hide their copper inside.
Men know how to explore in the dark for the ore;
in the depths of the darkness they grope.
In the lands men avoid are their mine shafts deployed,
where they dangle and swing from their rope.
From the earth, our foods grow -- but the world down below
is transformed as by fires untold.
For the stones underground is where sapphire's found,
and the rocks have been dusted with gold.
There is treasure unknown where no eagle has flown,
and the falcon has not seen before.
It has not felt beasts walk, nor the lioness stalk;
it has not heard the lion's fierce roar.
Miners strike at the flint just to capture a glint --
overturn mountaintops at their base.
They cut channels and halls through the rock to make walls;
and they note every gem in its place.
They dam water below, redirecting its flow,
and bring hidden things into the light.
Where can wisdom be found? Where does judgement abound?
Do they have understanding in sight?
Not a person on earth knows its value or worth,
nor the place from where wisdom could be.
While the oceans insist, "It is not in our midst;"
says the sea, "It is not here with me."
It could never be sold for the finest of gold,
nor can silver be weighed for a price.
And it cannot be bought with the gold Ophir wrought,
nor would sapphire or onyx suffice.
You can't ever compare it with glass anywhere,
and for jewels it could not be exchanged.
Neither jasper nor quartz would be worthy, of coarse;
nor a payment of rubies arranged.
All the finest topaz that the land of Cush has --
even gold -- has no value as well.
Well then, where's wisdom from? And from where does it come?
Tell me where understanding might dwell.
It is veiled, in disguise, from humanity's eyes,
and concealed from the birds of the air.
Both Destruction and Death whisper under their breath,
"We've heard rumors of wisdom out there."
God alone has explained just how wisdom's obtained,
and the ways in which wisdom may go;
for he looks to the ends of the earth, and extends
to see all things from heaven below.
He's established the force of the wind in its course
and has measured the waters by weight.
He's set limits for all of the raindrops that fall;
making paths for the lightening bolts straight.
Then he saw wisdom's ways which he sought to appraise,
and he found what he surveyed was good;
so he had it declared and assessed and prepared,
and in searching it out, wisdom stood.
And he said to mankind, "Behold, wisdom you'll find
in the fear of the Lord -- in your heart;
understanding is had when you shun what is bad,
and from evil intentions -- depart."
This poem won first place for the February 2021 poetry contest