February 24 2010

When the Fat Lady Sings – A Poem

WHEN THE FAT LADY SINGS
by Simon Camilleri 9/6/09

3 and a half days and one chapter ends.
3 and a half days a new one begins.
What do you do for those three and a half days,
When the silence is broken… When the fat lady sings?

Three and a half days of quiet reflection.
Three and half days of loud protesting!
Of grief, disbelief and of shaking your head,
As you wait for the song when the fat lady sings.

Her song is a ballad of 3 years of trying,
It tells of a broken heart I failed to win.
A sad, haunting tune that you wish you weren’t hearing.
Yes, the chords are all minor when the fat lady sings.

She’s been warming her voice now for many a month,
And right next to her there waiting in the wings,
Was another singer with a song of redemption,
Who will never will be heard when the fat lady sings.

In 3 and a half days she steps out on stage,
And I don’t know what her song into my life brings,
But I know I can’t cover my ears to prevent it,
So I’ll stop and I’ll listen… when the fat lady sings.



(1960)

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February 24 2010

The Last Straw – A Poem

The Last Straw

This is it!

I’ve had enough!

I’ve done my dash!

I’m taking my bat and ball and going home!

I’ve reached the bottom of the barrel!

I’ve reached the end of my tether!

I can’t take any more!

That was the final and very last straw!

The one that broke the camilleri’s back…

Now what…?

Now what…??

Now that I have run out of straws

What’s next?

Tomorrow doesn’t stop

Life goes on

The camel with it’s broken back has to decide

Do I get up?

Or give up?

Now what?

My heart is empty and full at the same time

Vacuous and yet knotted up tight

Hollow, silent and exhausted

And yet filled with a roaring tempest of pain and disillusionment

Like a silent scream by someone who has lost their voice

Nothing more to give

For the little bag that held my straws is empty

And yet

As I present my little empty bag to God,

Like a “Get Out of Jail Free” card,

Expecting him to pat me on the head and say,

“Well, at least you did your best.”

I find no words of comfort or understanding

No words of solidarity or permission to retreat

And after a moment of confusion at God’s seemingly cold silence

I take out my fingers from my ears and hear what he was waiting to say

“If you’re looking for an excuse, you’ve come to the wrong place” He said

“Here you will find no mandate to change the course

The task is clear

Love

No excuses

No conditions

No ultimatums

No alternatives

You must love

Til death separates you.”

“But how??” I cry,

Holding up my little empty bag that used to be so full of straws

He simply smiles and leads me to

A giant wooden beam

So high it blurs into the perspective

So wide it disappears into the horizon

He runs his hand across its harsh surface

Past old bloodstains and holes where nails used to be

And as he does he collects an overflowing handful of thin strips of wood

New straws from an ancient tree

He tells me to come back often and take as many straws as I need

For here they will never run out

And so I return

The camel gets up

And my little bag is full once again

And I’m surprised to find

My little bag is no longer so little

Being stretched from its last use

It’s now able to hold

A little more weight

And a few more straws

Simon Camilleri  4/4/08

(1963)

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