Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shrapnel of the Soul

It has been a while since I had a splinter in my hand – or indeed, any other part of my anatomy. I can remember one embedded in the palm of my hand many years ago

I would like to think that I have read somewhere that splinters don’t do any harm, and they come out of their own accord if you leave them. I have also probably heard somewhere that if left to their own devices they can do a lot of harm. They are not clean and disinfected little bits of wood or metal.

My splinter was a big one. Despite being big, the tip if it wasn’t really sticking out in any manner of cooperation. I was at school at the time. The secretary at the office decided to have a go at removing it. I think she scraped her long and meticulously painted nail along my palm to try to shift the end out. When that didn’t work, she resorted to digging around with a sterilised needle.

It wasn’t her palm, of course, so she was not feeling the pain that I was. Instructed to stand still in a manner she addressed the pupils was not helping either. I felt sick, maybe not so much from the pain, but from watch someone prodding my palm with a sharp needle. It was like an operation without the anaesthetic.

The splinter surrendered. The secretary refused to give me a plaster to cover up my wound, insisting that the air needed to get to it.

Some splinters are easier to remove than others. Some splinters that get under the skin are just slivers of wood. The wound that they inflict heals.

Words can be like splinters.

I had an unpleasant encounter at work earlier this week. Words were said. Some might have been deserved, but most weren’t. It was simply unpleasant. Rather than just forgetting the conversation, and getting on with the job, it seemed like that ran like a video tape on a loop through my head, and endless circle of rather nasty words.

A lot of what happens to me is expressed in poetry and this was no exception. Apart from the kissing line which is poetic licence, and the reference to s single word – there were many – it’s an account of how I felt.

Shrapnel of the Soul

A single word
Crammed with insult and innuendo
From lips that once kissed
Detonated inside my heart
A shower of spiteful syllables
Ripped through my soul
Shredding my spirit

Your shrapnel
Left me crippled


“You’ve got a splinter in your heart, Mel,” announced God later that night. The old saying about sticks and stones just isn’t true. Words create or destroy. They have power – perhaps only the power that we give them. God created the world with a word.

The splinter was too painful. I didn’t want God digging around with a sterilised needle so I backed off.

The following day I had another encounter at work. This time it was a good one. We are supposed to observe others as they do their job and talk about it later. My colleague had been observing me and there was very little that wasn’t positive. As we talked, I felt so encouraged and it was as if, without being aware of it, my friend had removed the word splinter. God had found another was to get to my splinter.

It was nice to reflect and write a more uplifting poem.

And then there was light

The story of the world begins
When everything is dark
And God commands the light to be
And so ignites a spark
A word from God imbued with power
And miracles abound
Across a void and empty place
From chaos, order found

He speaks another word to me
Into this unlit heart
As light floods through at His command
My darkness has to part
I live my days beneath His gaze
And miracles abound
No longer void and empty now
My Light, my life I’ve found

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