Sapient Soul (Marlanda Dekine) has invited the audience to join her creative process as they reflect on Job 10:10-12:8 to create “Diptych: Unpacking the Self,” the first poem in a collection as Spark+Echo Arts’ 2020 Artist in Residence.
Note: Parts of the artist’s work contain strong language and may not be suitable for all audiences.
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Job 10:10–12: 8
10 Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? 11 Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. 12 Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. 13 And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee.
14 If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity. 15 If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction; 16 For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou shewest thyself marvellous upon me. 17 Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war are against me. 18 Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me! 19 I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave. 20 Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little, 21 Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death; 22 A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.
1 Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said, 2 Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified? 3 Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed? 4 For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes. 5 But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee; 6 And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth .
7 Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? 8 It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? 9 The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea. 10 If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him? 11 For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider it ? 12 For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass’s colt.
13 If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him; 14 If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles. 15 For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear: 16 Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away: 17 And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning. 18 And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety. 19 Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid; yea, many shall make suit unto thee. 20 But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost.
1 And Job answered and said, 2 No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you. 3 But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these? 4 I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn. 5 He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.
6 The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly . 7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: 8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
Sapient Soul’s project FREE/WRITE will engage the Bible with stillness, spontaneity, and automatic writing. Videos will demonstrate steps 1-5 outlined below:
- Poet meditates with Insight Timer app or in silence. The guided meditation used in this video is by Naomi Goodlet.
- Poet turns to a random page in the Bible.
- Poet chooses a passage that has not been illuminated.
- Poet writes, without the pen leaving the page, for a minimum of five minutes. This is automatic writing or a free-write.
- Poet edits the free-write into poetry.
You are encouraged to choose a book and join Sapient Soul at home. Try it for yourself.
Unpacking The Self as reflection on Job 10:10-Job 12:8 considers how difficulty can harden us to ourselves and others. Wanting connection, we can push others away. Desiring to be seen, we can fear knowing ourselves.
Spaces of anger and victimhood ought to be visited as friends within us. Sometimes, I have become comfortable and stayed a bit too long. Even, built a home there once. Ha! May we have a friend that listens well as we unpack and let ourselves free again. May we listen when a difficult truth about ourselves is shown to us. May we express thanks for how there is so much healing available to us across space and time, through darkness and light. Ase.
From the photos above:
While Job was telling, I laughed. I cried from the right side of my right eye. One year setting there like an early Dawn. I could hear Job like I've heard myself. Complaining like it will build new mountains. New worlds. How he was in pain. How pain can turn you in on yourself. Take you to prison even after abolition wins. Take you into a cell-membraned wall of blood and gut, take you inside of yourself & you become prisoner and guard, recounting all the terrible--so if any bit of light comes for you--be doomed be doomed be doomed fuck light is what you say while your soul shines bright you say you say I've said so much & meant so little to myself I I I
Wanted to mean everything I said I desired beauty & I drummed the beat of pain like my own
Are you recording this--the way the wind can snap everything into place I know now that every pain I ever knew I needed
& How after we've torn at our skin our eyes our own lips broken & dry--how when the water comes for us do we act like we weren't listening to the flow--how do we lie like that & where does it go? Truth my friend requires dirt of you.
Marlanda Dekine-Sapient Soul (she/her/they) is a poet and social worker from Plantersville, South Carolina. She is pursuing her MFA in Poetry with New York University's Low-Residency program in Paris.
Learn more about their work at sapientsoul.com.