Like Job

For Big Tent Poetry Prompt  A bit of pilfering
http://bigtentpoetry.org

The prompt this week was to borrow a line or two from another poet, and use it as inspiration for a poem of ones own. Although this poem refers to a line of scripture in the King James Version of the Bible, it originally came from my file of unfinished poetry. However, as I was reading someone else’s poetry, I found a way to finally finish the poem. I didn’t use any particular line from her poems, but the idea of something she said, helped me find the ending to this poem that has lain dormant for several years. The poet is S.L. Corsua and her poetry can be found here:

http://unguarded–utterance.blogspot.com/

The particular poem I was reading was titled Impetus Of  A Confessional Poem. Thanks again, S.L.

Like Job

Find that I am kin to dragons
and companion to owls.*
    

     First one, flames and blue/green
     scales, wrapped round my inner
     ear, breathing smoke over everything
     I hear.

     Other, sharp beak, wings, and talons,
     splits the night, bringing to light
     all that I long to keep unclear,
     hidden.

See nothing except at a slant.
Reduced to mere sentinel
in this narrowed strip
of no-man’s land. Only weapons,
whispery smoked words
and shadowed, blurred images.

Seeking precarious balance
between embattled oppositions,
in desperation, I cry out.

     Poem dances from tall grasses
     on either side of where I stand,
     slowly surrounds me with
     undulating rhythms of its own
     unknown music.

I am startled to stillness.

Elizabeth Crawford  10/7/10

*Job 30:29  I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.

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About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: http://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ https://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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18 Responses to Like Job

  1. vivinfrance says:

    Gosh that’s complex, Elizabeth – the link with the Job quote and the poem makes your piece a fascinating read. Your line “whispery smoked words” is so beautiful. And the layout is crucial to the understanding.

    Thank you Viv. I am never sure what to do with the word “complex.” Does it mean I haven’t been clear, or somehow muddied up my own words? I see it as the straight forward conflict between heart and mind. The logic of language versus the feelings of associative images. And until one finds the balance brought by the poem, one is lost between the two. A sort of flat ground between the two, as they wage war for supremacy. And it is only the poem, in my world, that allows that to become a balance point. Okay, done now, lol. Thanks for the comments, they make me think,

    Elizabeth

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  2. derrick2 says:

    Your use of the word “sentinel” jumped out at me since it has been in my mind after seeing the musical ‘Les Miserables’ recently! As sentinel, you seem to suggest powerlessness whereas I see a powerful presence who may choose to act or leave others to their folly. I love the line from Job that triggered your poem.

    Derrick, I don’t see the sentinel as powerless. On the contrary, I see her as the one who walks between the two opposing forces, the soul, if you will. That one with ears and eyes that must work to bring peace from the chaos of opposing forces. She, I, must take it all in, find some point of connection, then move from there. I used the word mere because until she makes that connection point, she is silent amidst all the action. An observer, with no other role. The poem becomes her statement about all of our observations. Thank you as well, for making me think,

    Elizabeth

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  3. Tilly Bud says:

    An intriguing poem. I’m glad you finally finished it; I love it when things come together like that, don’t you?

    I particularly like the last line.

    Tilly Bud, I liked it too, but it also confused me at first, until I realized that the stillness is necessary to take in what has been discovered. The balancing point is a stillness at first. A stillness in preparation of what comes next. And it is why I didn’t finish the poem. I simply didn’t understand until I was reading S.L.’s poem. Associations, connections are so important to the whole process. Thanks for reading and commenting,

    Elizabeth

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  4. Mary says:

    This is a depthful poem, and I am not sure I understand all the layers of meaning. I do like the quote from Job. Hadn’t remembered that one. I especially like this phrase:

    Seeking precarious balance
    between embattled oppositions

    and I like the ending which stops me / the reader in my tracks and leaves me pondering!

    Mary, now that is a statement to warm the heart of any serious writer. If it stops the reader, encourages them to ponder, to think, to ask questions, seek answers, that means the writer has engaged the reader and that’s a great deal of what writing is all about. There are always poems that beg me to come back, to take another look, to sort out what I am thinking and feeling. I find that in S.L.’s poetry a lot. I wasn’t actually seeking anything when I went this time, just being nosy. But, had already pulled up this unfinished piece, so it too was in my mind. And somehow the two things found a moment of stillness and understanding for me. Thanks for the comments,

    Elizabeth

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  5. Diane Truswell says:

    An intense poem, for sure.
    My favorite lines:

    Seeking precarious balance
    between embattled oppositions,
    in desperation, I cry out

    So emotional.

    Diane, I started grinning when I read your comment. When I cry out, it usually means, “Oh shit, what the hell have I gotten myself into now?” I have always liked this ‘unfinished’ piece, but found it frustrating because it was not finding completion. At which point, I said what I said, and tried to distract myself by going and reading S.L.’s poetry. Only to find exactly what had always been missing, lol. I love how the Universe works, especially with this all too often mumbling, bumbling poet. Thanks for reading,

    Elizabeth

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  6. I don’t know how this happened….the mysteries of the computer. The comment I left on the next poem, was meant for this one. I have been waiting to read these words you have been waiting to write. It rains, my windows are streaked with that precious commodity we don’t often see in the desert. My allergies have been so awful this week, my head in a fog, but perhaps the rain with wash the air clean of pollen. I am excited, perhaps I will return to what I know as normal, and will be able to “think” again. It is nice to come out of the fog and to see you once again.

    Ahh Annell, I think it is great. You the visual artist making a comment on this poem, on poems about how colors speak. But, then you the writer and the poet finding the poetic reality of my unfinished piece, waiting for you to read it. And you the artist waiting on clearer air, while I the poet was out all afternoon, yesterday, drenched in Autumn’s best lace of colors. I think we make quite a team and am grateful to you for that,

    Elizabeth

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  7. I have been thinking about dragons. In May I had an incredible experience with a brilliant red dragonfly. I knew it was something extraordinary. I found out that dragonflies used to be dragons, until they were tricked by coyote and then had to be dragonflies for ever after. And in old legends dragon were women, who could reproduce with their own tails. My friend sent me a book, Animal Speaks, and I found out more about the dragonfly. There have been other encounters in the last couple of months with the dragonfly. And I am thrilled. I loved this poem.

    Annell, I’m glad you liked and enjoyed the poem. You are not the only one who has been thining about dragons. I posted an old piece on dragons just last week. You can find ithere: http://intuitivepaths.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/a-bit-about-dragons/

    I am familiar with the book you mention and have a copy of it that I use often. I like what you have discovered about dragons, but being a poet person I saw tales, instead of tails, and that makes all kinds of sense to me. Thanks for reading and for all of your words, they are always so encouraging,

    Elizabeth

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  8. systematicweasel says:

    Very intriguing piece! Loved where you went with this one! =)

    -Weasel

    Weasel, glad you liked the poem and found it interesting. I am just glad I finally found a way to complete it,

    Elizabeth

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  9. pamela says:

    Elizabeth an intense piece of writing!
    Well done!
    Pamela

    Thank you Pamela, that’s an interesting word “intense.” I have been told that I am an ‘intense’ person so it’s not too surprising that that commodity would show itself within my poetry. I think of the word as meaning packed tightly with meaning. I can only hope that my poetry would prove to be so defined,

    Elizabeth

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  10. neil reid says:

    Interesting is too shallow and common a word, but this poem is.

    Don’t mind, in fact mostly welcome, some strife that means more looking at.

    Dragons and owls, nothing shy.

    Sometimes, and I’m not saying here of necessity, fierce means passion too.

    First glance doesn’t really always reveal truth.

    Not startled, yet this poem is one I’ll put in my pocket a while, simmering.

    Maybe it won’t change, but maybe I will.

    You know, the way you stand with your legs in shallow surf, and while there’s not much visible, surprising how something strong pulls at your legs.

    This poem “opens” even if the first stance is “stillness”.

    Even stillness moves. (Just as empty space isn’t.)

    Thank you Elizabeth is more than appropriate.

    Neil, thank you for your constant support. It is only when we become a partner with stillness that we allow ourselves to hear that small whisper of the divine that we all seek in one form or another. And your analogy is perfect, standing still is the only way to fully feel the pull of that undercurrent.

    And yes, niether dragons nor owls are shy creatures. Yet both are expert at using stillness in the process of seeking out what will sustain them. I once spent two hours taking photos of a nest of baby owls, the Great Horned type. The entire time, while the Mother owl was in the nest, I was silently being watched by the Father bird from a branch in a near-by tree. He was backed against the trunk of the tree and looked like a statue in a grotto of dark green leaves. But, when two loud men, curious about what I was doing ran up to ask, the Mother bird distracted them by flying away noisily, and the Father bird went from a sort of half-lidded casual observer to pure predator. The men left, actually backing away from that stare. I left as well, but not before I thanked Poppa, for doing exactly what was needed.

    Elizabeth

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  11. Seeking precarious balance: one of my life’s refrains.

    THANK YOU for writing and sharing today.

    Julie we all seek that balance whether we do it knowingly or otherwise. Glad you stopped by,

    Elizabeth

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  12. Tumblewords says:

    Lots to love here – a layered piece with profound thoughts on each level -!

    Thank you Tumblewords. I didn’t know that’s what I was doing, just knew that the image I got from the scripture itself, was deeply impressive for several reasons,

    Elizabeth

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  13. This has an air of mystery. It is the kind of poem youc could whisper, in a low voice, in the night.

    Sort of like a prayer, Marian? Born of just enough self-awareness that it must ask for more? Thank you. You have captured that elusive and tentative pattern that fueled the idea of this poem. Really good capture Marian, and I am glad you made it,

    Elizabeth

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  14. Dear Elizibeth I come again. Last night after a day in the studio, after dinner, after my bath, I took your poem in and my partner and I sat on the sofa and discussed your poem. I so loved it earlier and wanted to share it. He was also taken, we discussed it for a long while, and read it to each other many times. We spoke of the many levels of this work and how wonderfully crafted it is! I can only say thank you so much. It is wonderful in every way. And the final words are just right!

    And thank you Annell, your words create a very un-Job like image, at least that one presented before he got to the end of words and sat still to listen. Isn’t it amazing what happens when we do that? I thank you for the image, it is warm and wonderful and makes its own music.

    Elizabeth

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  15. Deb says:

    So excited for you to have found what you wanted/needed among the words of others. Isn’t that a remarkable wonder?!

    So much to linger over, but “See nothing except at a slant.” is my particular favorite — as I am fond at coming at things sideways.

    Like

  16. 1sojournal says:

    Hi Deb, good to see you here. And yes, finding what I need in others words and ideas, has become a bit of norm for me since finding the BTP site and all the rest that followed. Yet, it never fails to amaze me, that child-like awe that never disappears no matter how old I get.

    And I too often see things at a slant or sideways glance, I would belief that most poets do, it is how we most quickly relate to the life all around us. I used to think it was a quirky thing that was simply a piece of my makeup. But, have come to understand that all creative individuals share it to one degree or another. It is an extra sense, an openness that comes from the creative impulse itself. Thanks for commenting Deb and thanks again for the prompt,

    Elizabeth

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  17. ms pie says:

    elizabeth, i love, love, love this poem… there are so many layers to drift through… i think it is the raw elements and biblical reference to job… and the author you picked.. i like her poem confession… sidenote:a few days back i went to retrieve something from a shelve at a friend’s house and there between the crystal glasses was a green glass scaled dragon… never saw it before…hello… a pooka appears!!! just after yr post abt dragons… it was you right??

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  18. 1sojournal says:

    Yes it was me. An essay about dragons and how I see them in relationship to our individual inner landscape. It was on the Intuitive Paths blog, and titled “A Bit About Dragons.” And the color green is a symbol of growth. Did you ask its name? I think I have an idea, but what do you mean by pooka? Whatever, I think it’s fun and great. I am interested, so please keep me posted,

    Elizabeth

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