Poet Lynn Powell explores the theme of “Harvest” from Job 38:25-28.
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25 Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder;
26 to cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man;
27 to satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?
28 Hath the rain a father? Or who hath begotten the drops of dew?
I have always found odd comfort in the Voice from the Whirlwind’s answer to Job’s anguished questions about human suffering. Instead of answering Job on his own human terms, the Lord flings out fierce, exquisite questions, asserting the vastness, mystery, and unfathomable complexity of creation. Humanity is hardly mentioned in the litany of creation’s scope and wonder, ferocity and beauty. It’s that cosmic perspective I find, in my most receptive moments, thrilling and calming and liberating, both as a person and as an artist.
In this little poem, I try to evoke the orders of magnitude of creation, which continues within and around and through us in countless, inventive ways. As a poet, I “work the dark with rigs of silk,” and am grateful for the little galaxies that occasionally condense, for a while, on those thin lines.
Lynn Powell is the author of two books of poetry, Old & New Testamentsand The Zones of Paradise, and a book of nonfiction, Framing Innocence: A Mother’s Photographs, a Prosecutor’s Zeal, and a Small Town’s Response. Among her awards are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council, the Studs and Ida Terkel Award from The New Press, and the Brittingham Prize in Poetry. Her poems have been published in many magazines, including Poetry, FIELD, Image, Tiferet, and The Paris Review, and have been anthologized in 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Everyday and The Norton Introduction to Literature. Poems from her current book-in-progress, A Scherzo for Sadness,are forthcoming this fall in Shenandoah and The Georgia Review. A native of East Tennessee, she has lived with her family in Oberlin, Ohio, since 1990.