NaPoWriMo Day 8 : Manju – A girl I knew

And last but not least, our (optional) prompt. I call this one “Return to Spoon River,” after Edgar Lee Masters’ eminently creepy 1915 book Spoon River Anthology. The book consists of well over 100 poetic monologues, each spoken by a person buried in the cemetery of the fictional town of Spoon River, Illinois.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to read a few of the poems from Spoon River Anthology, and then write your own poem in the form of a monologue delivered by someone who is dead. Not a famous person, necessarily – perhaps a remembered acquaintance from your childhood, like the gentleman who ran the shoeshine stand, or one of your grandmother’s bingo buddies. As with Masters’ poems, the monologue doesn’t have to be a recounting of the person’s whole life, but could be a fictional remembering of some important moment, or statement of purpose or philosophy. Be as dramatic as you like – Masters’ certainly didn’t shy away from high emotion in writing his poems.


Here’s my poem for today – ‘Manju- a girl I knew’. This is a tribute long due. I don’t know her second name but she died when she was ten or maybe she was eleven.

I lived in the city with my mother

and my older, unmarried sister

In half a room with little food and lesser space

Everyday was a rat race

Sorrow and troubles were all that I’d seen

and hungry was all that I’d been

My mother worked in a rich lady’s house

who paid for my sister’s school but she took her vows

Her husband joined us in our half room

And soon for me there was no room

Mother had the the saddest eyes I’d ever seen

It made me more sad than I’d ever been

One day the lady decided to leave the city

and my mother begged her to take me

She said she wanted me to have a better life

with knowledge, food and hygiene, rife

We went to the calmest village I’d ever been

and the lady’s mother was the sweetest I’d ever seen

The house my mother sent me to was a boon

and I settled in soon

They fed me well

and dressed me swell

My mother said I was prettier than I’d ever been

That I was taller and stronger than she’d ever seen

But my mother forgot that fate was no fool

It caught up with me one day after school

And as I stood by the well and talked

to the lady’s sweet mother and laughed

I felt the sickest I’d ever been

There was an explosion in my head, I saw things I’d never seen-

My dead father and grandfather

I fell to the floor, my mouth spat white lather

They beckoned me, come

I felt my limbs go numb

I saw fear in the old lady’s eyes like I’d never seen

I wished to tell her that I’d been the happiest here than I’d ever been

And to my mother I wished to say

‘ Dear mother, you gave me the best life by sending me away.

Please don’t cry, I love you

more than I ever told you.’ All Rights Reserved.


8 responses to “NaPoWriMo Day 8 : Manju – A girl I knew”

  1. Deepa Gopal Avatar
    Deepa Gopal

    This is such a beautiful tribute, Smitha and you have brought out the pathos so well. It’s a moving tribute. We are surrounded by numerous “stories”, right?!
    I was late today but finally posted by the nick of time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Thank you Deepa. Yes, we are- every life is a unique story. This one’s been with me for so long. Thanks to the prompt could finally put it out there. Will check yours now.


  2. Infinite Living Avatar

    This I felt deeply, you composed beautifully 💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Thank you dear Pragalbha ❤ I felt good writing it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rahul Gaur Avatar

    Came here to read it again and say that this reads like words from an unfinished spectacular novel!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Honestly Rahul I felt the same as I wrote it like it could go so many ways…then I decided to stick to what really happened. Thank you for writing back. It’s nice to know it made you come back to it again 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jim Avatar

    This worked out well, I am also going to change my “poem” write with the description, “Tribute”, as that is what it is. Yours is very sad, especially the ending. So is mine, most today may be, I have not read others yet.
    Have a nice day, here is to us finishing the month!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Thank you Jim for reading the poem and writing back. I figured tribute gave it a mark of respect to the dead, since the experience is real and something that I can never forget. I’ll hop over to your blog and read yours now.
      We need all the encouragement to finishing the month 🙂 You too, have a nice day!


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