Planks and Splinters


Wood shaving lodged in a man’s eye as he sawed.
It hurt, looked nasty, might be infected.
His mate drove him to the emergency ward
of the Royal Hospital to have it inspected.

The triage nurse made the doctor race.
He arrived – and obvious for all to spy –
A railway sleeper protruded from his face,
Embedded deeply in his left eye.

He stretched to help the patient – but in vain he tried.
The plank was longer than his reaching finger.
He had no binocular vision to guide
Tweezers and needles to the splinter.

The plank, buried deeply in his skull,
Had also caused massive brain haemorrhage.
The doctor was totally dull,
Not knowing his capacity to damage.

Grotesque metaphor, slapstick simile.
It rivals the Doug¯Anthony¯All¯Stars.
The Jewish clown claimed our refusal to see
Our plank in their splinters seriously mars.

Ted Witham 1996

Published in Studio: A Journal of Christians Writing

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