Our prompt for today (optional, as always), takes its inspiration from the idea of a poem as a sort of tiny play, which can be performed dramatically. In the 1800s, there was quite a fad for monologue-style poems that lend themselves extremely well to dramatic interpretations (this kind of work was basically Robert Browning’s jam). And Shakespeare’s plays are chock-a-block with them. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write your own dramatic monologue. It doesn’t have to be quite as serious as Browning or Shakespeare, of course, but try to create a sort of specific voice or character that can act as the “speaker” of your poem, and that could be acted by someone reciting the poem.
Alas! There was no choice, but to flee
For what use is a life, that brings one down on his knee
I see the pain in your eyes, for all that we have lost
In a blink, our whole world tossed
Do not lament my dear for what is gone-
Our home, our land and our blue-eyed son
Know that he rests in peaceful slumber, in the place of his birth
Did you not see him smiling before death-
came by? He said ‘Goodbye Abbu,’ before I left
It will not make him happy to see his Ammi bereft.
So try my darling, try to smile; I know its not easy-
To watch it all crumbled by blood-thirsty, sleazy
men. But you must try. Ah! Take a look now, in that direction
Can you see the rivers and the mountains; we have reached our destination
They said we could come, and for that we must be eternally grateful
The good God has been kind and merciful
Oh look! See them standing on the platform
They have come to welcome us. But wait! With dogs and men in uniform?
Don’t let it frighten you- it must be the rules
Let us be wise and swallow our pride, let us not be fools
We are guests here, we must never forget that
And to our unborn children and their’s, you must repeat this fact.
Come now my dear, step down from this carriage
Do not move too fast, they will want to check our baggage
Let it not pain you the way they look at us
Mistrust is understandable; they do not know us remember; let us not make a fuss.
Take a deep breath my dear, breathe the air of freedom
On foreign soils; far, far away from where once stood our home
I know your heart grieves, and believe me, so does mine
Come here, we must form a line
Promise me my dear, never to look behind
Let us start afresh and let all memories that bind-
Be buried with dear Ali in the land of our birth.
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