Innocence Wronged

Not everyone who suffers sins,
Yet blessed with a long life, I’ve strayed
An ingrate and a renegade,
And condign punishment begins.  
Roots rotted in the earth can bud,
And from uncleanness a fresh shoot
Can sprout, and after winter, fruit
Is lifted out of filthy mud.  
Your condemnation’s false and smug,
And forgers of cruel lies you say
That children killed before their day,
Fall into pits their sins have dug.    
Though I have sinned, and grievously,
I haven’t been the worst of men,
And with a chance to try again,
I’d strive to live more virtuously.   
I can’t believe my guilt exceeds
The measure penitence can wring
From many years of suffering.  
It’s true I’ve faltered and those deeds
Demand that I alone atone.  
It’s mine to suffer, His to scourge,
To expiate when I can’t purge
And I will reap what I have sown.  
Fallen and weak I don’t presume
To grab the knout out of His hand,
To usurp His right to reprimand,
Or choose the manner of my doom .
If horror at my guilt appalls
A spirit grief’s already broken,
That pain can’t pay a single token
From debts I owe and God recalls.  
Yet faults I have amassed can’t spill
Onto the heads of generations
Born this morning.  Condemnations
A father earned by his free will
Don’t pass to his posterity.  
If my remaining days can’t hold
Atonement owed, then I’m too old.  
The span of life bestowed on me
That prodigally I’ve not misspent
Suffices me to pay my debts
In lamentation and regrets.  
I will discharge my punishment.  
If my great sinfulness was more
Than righteous judgment could extract
From a bent back, already wracked
By pain, too withered and too sore
To feel the rod, He would have struck
Decades ago, when I was young.  
The sentence given can’t outrun
The lifetime granted to the schmuck
Who sinned.  My children didn’t die
To expiate their father’s crime.  
My penalty allows me time
To hear the judgment and comply.
I will not seek to know how much
Of suffering I must endure,
Or question God’s judicature.  
But why, oh why, does such harm touch
The innocent?   I do not blame,
But in all meekness, I must ask.  
Already doomed, this is my task,
An answer the forlorn must claim.  

About this poem

Job answers.

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Submitted by DavidPlantinga on July 04, 2022

Modified on March 05, 2023

2:13 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 2,249
Words 446
Stanzas 1
Stanza Lengths 64

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