Listening to Job

Painting: “Bottles” by Borg de Nobel

.

it’s silly how we try
to bottle life sometimes,
place it in well-ordered lines
(for a little sense of safety maybe–) &

this early morning,
on my way to work, listening
to the book of Job,

i search for clues, weigh ’em
in my hands, some liquids harden
with the years, others evaporate,

completely & i try to understand,
hang breathless on his lips, he

never fit into a frame, (for 1000 reasons),
i admire Job, check traffic,
in the rearview, meet my own eyes, look

more fragile than i bear in mind &

start to shift, sort
by size, pour what’s left onto the floor, stick
etiquette on some, leave others

unmarked, see him,
in the dust, scratching deep
red wounds with shards & God, you know
how much i get it

.

over at dVerse, we’re writing poems to a selection of four paintings by Borg de Nobel that she has graciously allowed us to use for our poetics prompt. join us at 3pm EST when we open the pub doors..

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61 responses to “Listening to Job

  1. In many ways, artistically (via William Blake) and faith-wise, Job was where I came in. Now here you are with bottles of essence I never suspected. I must ponder deeply… maybe Son of Job has come to town!

  2. wow…you been reading my mail? smiles….i spend time with Job often, ha…oh how we love our life nice and neat and then when it isnt or one bottle starts to fall and then they all do how it crushes us…and we get angry with god…love the bit on the liquid hardening or evaporate….your personal elements make it very emotional as well…nice claudia

  3. Well, I never GOT the story of Job. I know it, but don’t really GET it. (I prefer the loving God, not the one who allows a person to be tested so greatly just to see how much he can take.). But back to your poem, I do think that our life placed in “well ordered lines” can be changed in an instant. Sometimes we haven’t seen the ‘clues’ leading up to the change, and sometimes we haven’t seen just how ‘fragile’ we really are. (And maybe that is the lesson of Job? – the fragility of life.) Lots to contemplate here, Claudia!

  4. I love the details of this..we do try to bottle life and how silly that is …because we just never know. Meet my own eyes resonated with me as well…lately I’ve been meeting my eyes thinking how fragile I seem at times…Have a wonderful weekend. 🙂

  5. You do this so well….taking note of thoughts while driving means you pay close
    attention to life as is it goes by…always questioning…I like your style…

  6. Much to think about. There seems a mirroring going on here as the thinker thinks about Job. A sense of parallel. Nice expression on how one attempts to arrange thoughts, trying to figure things or life out. 🙂

  7. I’d like to think we bottle life up so when it does come crashing down on us the shattering glass is a symphony reminding us of possibilities.

    a really beautiful write.

  8. looking for clues, finding hardened or evaporated. I love this stanza and then -where you sift and pour what’s left onto the floor. the sticking etiquette part rings so true for me! such a strong poem, Claudia.

  9. Yeah we all like everything nice and neat most times, especially my ocd, but then the mess is just a challenge to mae it nice and neat once more.

  10. “it’s silly how we try
    to bottle life sometimes,
    place it in well-ordered lines
    (for a little sense of safety maybe–) &”

    Hello! Claudia…
    Tks, for sharing the [very] beautiful painting Of Painting:“Bottles” by Borg de Nobel

    “start to shift, sort
    by size, pour what’s left onto the floor, stick
    etiquette on some, leave others

    unmarked, see him,
    in the dust, scratching deep
    red wounds with shards & God, you know
    how much i get it…”

    Once again, you have compliment the artist Borg de Nobel’s painting with your very beautiful poetic words…Thank-you, deedee 🙂

    [postscript: I like to stop by your place on Saturday morning(s) when [ever] the world is quiet and still and play… catch-up!]

  11. By the way, I’m so sorry, but my previous comment ended up in Spam again!…*No worries* in the future, I plan to post my first comment on my own Word-press blog and it seems that my subsequent comments are posted without ending up in Spam. [like this comment and the one above too!]

    deedee 😦

  12. Wonderful work, Claudia. I’m so excited to see what you’ve mixed up for us for Poetics and thank this fabulous artist for sharing her work. I love the colors–both of the painting and of your poetic reflections.

  13. it is silly to bottle up life some times, great hook for this poem. Thanks for hosting this evening aussi

  14. That time in the car–when I was commuting daily it was my prayer time–I can totally see you (or someone) listening to the Book of Job. He had bottled life neatly and prosperously. How nice. I love the sorting of his bottles, especially:
    “start to shift, sort
    by size, pour what’s left onto the floor, stick
    etiquette on some, leave others

    unmarked, see him,
    in the dust . . . ” The words, just when the border between he and “I” is the weakest and you get it, how you would feel secure doing that but look what happens . . . . Pretty perfect poem for this painting.

  15. We can try to keep control of every aspect of our lives (OCD) even down to placing all the bottles in neat and tidy forward label facing lines and kill ourselves over the worry if one is out of place or, we can get on with the real stuff and really live. I think this poem just about sums that all up nicely. I don’t get that we have to suffer to prove our faith is real either. Very nice write Claudia.

  16. I loved it all, but in the first was my favorite lines. If my life were stacked in glass bottles, emptied, my carpet floor would be shards. I like the stretch from the painting to Job; a man truly tested and a man many compare thmselves to, but fall short. I enjoyed this.

  17. HI Claudia – I read this early this morning- a wonderful poem and great for the image – Job a potent figure, and the idea of the shards and cutting and bottles and, of course, this wish for only a genie! Something controllable, though even genies are not, and what is self-inflicted isn’t either. Anyway, strong poem. k.

  18. yeah, i get it.

    a friend of mine recently wrote “like grinding a teardrop between two stones.”

    i miss you so much… im on my way back, soon.love this claudia

  19. Wow, stunning. Powerful. I don’t know what to add, seriously, because it makes so much sense to me. “he never fit into a frame (for 1000 reasons”: It could be said for many people, for many different reasons. Love that.

  20. Wow…love your play on life with using bottles..some hardened, evaporated..and the shifting, sizing, pouring…sticking etiquette on some..wonderful ideas here, Claudia.

  21. it may be silly, but I still try (sometimes) to bottle life, but then, you know, life happens…really liked this poem…How are you, Claudia? I just wrote a post with 11 questions, and if you get a chance, stop by, and answer some of the questions, because I would enjoy geting to know you better… please 🙂

  22. very cool. Love the way you handled this piece, as I also used this one, and came up with something much different, so cool to see how another view on the same piece inspired you in a different manner. Very cool how that works in life. Really nice job alluding to Job, and then keeping it going throughout the piece. Strong write Claudia. Great read. Thanks

  23. One day I felt so low
    that I sat in church
    and lowered over Job;
    our worship-house
    is a quiet place
    where people wait
    for the Holy Spirit,
    for a tongue of fire,
    for a wind; so there I sat
    lowering and getting lower,
    and all of a sudden
    someone got to her feet
    and told a joke.

    I thought
    of the old Nantucket
    Quaker whaler
    to whom God posed:
    Canst thou draw out Leviathan
    with an hook?

    Got that covered, Lord,
    he replied.

    M

  24. The resolution was unexpected and impactful and came as if as in answer after your musings on Job. I really like how you weave driving in traffic with the story of Job.

  25. in the rearview, meet my own eyes, look
    more fragile than i bear in mind &

    Those are the most amazing lines in this fine poem. So powerful that, instead of admiring yourself in the mirror, you are admiring Job.

    I do not remember the story of Job but will ask my husband (who will definitely know) to tell me the story tomorrow. For now, it’s bedtime–not story time!

  26. Very nice, Claudia. People so often think that the world owes them something, yet look at Job’s story. The only thing the world could possibly owe us is the spinning of the bottles and their breaking disarray.

  27. great one, great choice of pic and so well fitted with your words….i am glad i can at long last comment in your amazing blog, claudia!

  28. This is a powerful piece, Claudia. These are some of my favorites:

    “some liquids harden
    with the years”

    “never fit into a frame, (for 1000 reasons)”

    “in the rearview, meet my own eyes, look
    more fragile than i bear in mind”

    “scratching deep
    red wounds with shards & God, you know
    how much i get it”

  29. “i search for clues, weigh ‘em
    in my hands, some liquids harden
    with the years, others evaporate”

    and several other lines and sets of lines i’ve re-read several other times and i’m still reading…thank you 😉

  30. Oh, “scratching deep red wounds with shards”…love this. Job always makes me so sad…back in the day, the church people i knew treated it like such an uplifting story. I always thought it made god sound like a bully.

  31. the first stanza is great. probably your best opening you’ve written, ever. it’s so spot on with the prompt also.

    i liked the meeting your own eyes, finding out they were more fragile than you thought. sounds like a heavy session with the therapist.

  32. I love what you came up with based on Borg’s work, Claudia. Your piece fits so well with her painting, which I liked when I first saw it but now find more powerful for the piece you wrote to go with it. Thanks so much for providing the great prompt.

  33. Job does indeed teach us how to overcome trials and tribulations! He also teaches us that whatever we fear most is what will eventually happen to us. Do not give that old devil an invitation through fear!

  34. So many not only try to bottle life…but to sell it to others…that fountain of youth thing…so love the verse…and look forward to hearing you read one again…hint…Hint!

  35. I really like this, Claudia. I had a friend tell me once that my life so reminded her of Job’s life. At first, I wasn’t sure how to take the comment but now I think she paid me a compliment and I didn’t even know it. You so take me there.