Saturday, July 4, 2009

Job 39

I push on to complete my first reading of Job. Here's a thesis for you. I think all the animals are important in the poem and may often be ciphers for human experience. I probably will not attempt to prove this flyaway thought quickly. I had a similar one with my first reading of the Song - that all the place names were like children playing train with cardboard boxes. The lover and beloved had no intentions of traveling.

Enjoy the animals

do you know the time of the birthing of wild goats of the rock?
the writhing of the hart can you preserve?
you number the months they fulfill
and you know the time of their birthing

they bow - their young in piercing
cramps they send out
their children are healthy
they increase in corn
they go forth and do not return to them

who sends the wild ass free?
and the bonds of the onager who opens?(1)
for whom I set the plain as his house
and his dwellings salt land

he laughs at the town crowd
the clamour of the oppressor does not hear
the mountain range his pasture
and after every green thing he seeks

will a wild bull consent to serve you?
or lodge at your manger?(2)
will you confine a wild bull with a cord in a furrow
to plough the valleys after you?
will you trust in him for great is his strength
or abandon to him your labour?
will you have faith in him to return your seed
and gather to your barn?

the wings of those that cry - the peacock
if pinion of stork and ostrich?
for she abandons to the earth her eggs
and in dust she warms them
she forgets that a foot may squeeze her
or the beast of the field may trample her

he makes her severe on her children as if not hers
idle her labour and without dread
for God has removed her wisdom
and did not apportion to her understanding
as when she lifts herself on high
she laughs at horse and rider

Did you give to the horse power?
did you clothe his neck with silken vibration?
can you make him quake as a grasshopper?
the splendor of his nostrils horrible
he digs in the valley and rejoices in strength
he comes forth to encounter a kiss of armor

he laughs at dread and does not break
and does not turn from the face of a sword
against him rattles a quiver
flash of shaft and spear

in quake and trouble he swallows earth
nor does he believe for the sound of the shophar
among shopharim he says aha!
and from afar he smells battle
thunder of chiefs and a shout of joy

by your understanding does a hawk fly?
stretch his wings to the south?
if by your mouth the eagle rises high
and that he sets his nest
rock he dwells and lodges
on the tooth of a rock and stronghold
from there he seeks (3) food
from afar his eyes look
and his eaglets suck up blood
and where the slain are, there is he

(1) onager - Pope must have the same Hebrew Latin concordance I have. Onager is quickly found on the web - a type of horse according to Wiki - pictures too.
(2) can't resist the allusion to the nativity stories: O magnum mysterium et admirabile sacramentum, ut animalia viderent Dominum natum jacentem in praesepio. (That link is worth following for the music.)
(3) lit. digs

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