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 that I have run out of straws
Tomorrow doesn’t stop
Life goes on
The camel with it’s broken back has to decide
Do I get up?
Or give up?
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
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
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