Pet Poem: Leviathan

The prompt for today’s, November Poem a Day Challenge is “a pet poem.”

I’ve been working through the book of Job, and this passage caught my attention. In the Lord’s final words to Job, the Lord addresses the monsters of the world which Job has faced. These monsters are imagined and embodied in the figures of Behemoth and Leviathan. The Lord shows to Job something of his own purposes for the two. After Eric Ortland’s commentary, Piercing Leviathan, only such a revelation, I think, would warrant Job’s response when he speaks of those things “too wonderful for me, which I did not understand” (Job 42:3).

Job 41:1-5 reads,

“Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook
	or press down his tongue with a cord?
Can you put a rope in his nose
	or pierce his jaw with a hook?
Will he make many pleas to you?
	Will he speak to you soft words?
Will he make a covenant with you
	to take him for your servant forever?
Will you play with him as with a bird,
	or will you put him on a leash for your girls?"

It is a striking picture. The Lord promises to subdue Leviathan and to make him no more harmless than a house pet. And so, Leviathan is the subject of my pet. You may listen to me read the poem via the player below.

A Pet Poem: Leviathan
Tied like bait and fastened to a tree
He descended, cast himself to the depths
Of this world’s chaos and calamity,
Sank ‘neath its waves and breathed his last breath.

Swallowed by the gaping mouth of death, 
In the dark of its belly he lay
Until the barbed hook of justice set
On the morning of the third day.

Holding his rope in the beast's jaw fixed fast,
The one who was drowned, went down, arose!
Bursting death’s belly, the scorned and outcast
Led Leviathan out by the nose.

In our loving, Redeemer’s victory, 
The fears we fear, the terrors and threats
Are of no more concern for you and me
Than a bird a young boy might get.
And Leviathan, that dragon of death,
Is led for your girls on a leash like a pet.

© Randall Edwards 2021.

The artwork is available via Wikimedia Commons which notes that the image is, God fishing Leviathan, using Jesus Christ’s human nature as bait. Jesus is depicted crucified, at the bottom of a w:Jesse Tree. Miniature from Hortus deliciarum. between 1167 and 1185. w:Herrad of Landsberg. I think it’s pretty cool that the metaphor and imagery which I imagined was captured 800 years earlier at least by a 12th Century Abbess. Hope I get to meet her someday.


Today marks the beginning of the November Poem a Day Challenge. Today’s first prompt provided by Poetry Pub is “Beginning.” It is hard for me to write a poem about beginning when T.S. Eliot’s lines from “Little Giding” are all I can think about. He says, “What we call the beginning is often the end… And to make and end is to make a beginning.”

Here’s an attempt to get things started.

A beginning may not be the first step,
But it may be the next, the one after the last,
After you’ve given up on past
Regrets and resentments
And let go your demands
For the outcomes of future plans.

Beginnings begin with an end.
And with it a new start:
Like rising with the morning,
Back around to where you’ve begun,
Again make the coffee, feed the cat,
Read the paper in your chair,
And watch for the sun
As you sit in the quiet with One
Who neither slumbers nor sleeps,
Has no beginning or ending.

Some day, the endings shall end,
And in that last beginning,
The beginnings will never end.
And every moment which we marked in time--
Come to us, arriving, and then passing by,
Will be one in an eternal present,
Not moving to, through, then past,
But moving into always, and we 
Will never outlast the beginning.

© Randall Edwards 2021.