I see a staircase leading to the stars; to his bedroom upstairs.
For far too long, we have been locked by poverty and war.
Between the bombings in Damascus to the backstreets of Beirut.
My father rents this dwelling; a garage where we exist.
I will be his bride tomorrow. Is this escape or another prison?
Probably it’s both.
I remember red stains on white shirts. Once from pomegranates then from blood.
Once I was a princess, now I am commodity.
Once I went to school.
I am sixteen and he is forty three. I will be his second wife.
I listened to a documentary in Swedish radio the other day about a family from Damascus fleeing for Lebanon where they had to rent a place in a garage. All the girls married, without luck. I just tried to imagine how it can be, but probably could just imagine part of it. Also check out some info here
Rochelle guides us each week in the process of writing our own fiction in hundred words to the same picture. We are Friday Fictioneers. Many many great stories each week.
I also link up to dVerse Open Link tonight, any one poem is welcome.
January 24, 2018
You’ve written a very poignant piece, Bjorn. I hope it works out for the girl. I love the comparison of pomegranate stains with blood stains – very dramatic. The way you paint the girl’s acceptance of her fate, her slender hope she still has, seems as though it could be true to life.
This is actually part of the story…. and no, it was not successful… she came back to live in the garage.
At least she was sixteen and not six. I’ve heard of men marrying little girls in some parts of the world.
Sixteen is still young… but six is worse of course.
Indeed. These fellows who marry young girls are despicable.
That was a brutal reality check, Bjorn. Very poignant and beautifully done.
Susan A Eames at
Travel, Fiction and Photos
Thank you… I think this could well be hundred percent a true story.
The opening line is chilling in itself. Powerful stuff.
Thank you … Hundred words require strong openings.
There is such a sense of hopelessness about this girl. I hope things get better for her. Beautiful imagery.
I hope so too… but I think for a generation of you women in Syria nothing good will happen…
So tragic, and to think we watch this unfold on the nightly news, on the radio, people with mobile phones with videos. Sometimes I feel the need to just shut it all off.
We feel so helpless… and yet we continue to watch… maybe shutting it off is one way of coping.
That’s what we do. Shut it off, and open a book.
What an incredible imagination you have Björn — and what a compassionate heart too, to be able to put yourself in the shoes of this reluctant bride. Beautifully written.
I think that words are like shoes in that way… you have to try them on and see if it works
What a wonderful metaphor! Even in your comment replies you are a poet. 🙂
Horrors…and reality it is not really fiction when you think of it. The line with pomegranates, then blood paints a whole picture.
I thought of how you could paint the story from a child’s eye on how peace is changed to war… the red stains was what I came up with
The red stains was beautiful
This was brilliant way to address such a tragic topic. Very powerful indeed.
Thank you… I tried to capture a life up till now in hundred words…
sad story. it’s unfortunate that it’s still happening in some parts of the world.
It’s been the part of humanity for a long time, and still lingers in some parts… I hope to see it going away.
Such a poignant and realistic story. The little girl’s acceptance of what is to happen to her makes your story even more powerful and heart wrenching. Beautifully written, Björn.
I think her current situation is so bad so she sees no other chance… poverty has that effects.
Oh, wow, what a poem this is! One to paint a clear picture of just how desperately hard life is for so many.
I think that no parent want to do this really….
It is a sad commentary on human beings. Topical and poignant with some great imagery.
We are not the pinnacle of civilisation all the time..
What a powerful and poignant story.
The blood/pomegranate was a master stroke. Nicely depicted.
I wanted the red to capture both innocence and atrocity… glad it worked.
…I feel ashamed at having gone low-brow!
No reason to be ashamed… I promise to go down next time.
I love how you’ve matched a matter of fact tone with heartbreaking detail – the povery, the violence, being sold into a thankless marriage. It makes the story so much more heart breaking. Wonderful Bjorn
I think a teen would understand… she do understand the facts, but still she fears where it will take here.
And rightly so I think
From a princess to a commodity. A poignant piece indeed.
Indeed… not a thing you should accept… guess that’s what poverty does.
A grim past, present and future for these people.
I hope there is some part of a future involving pomegranates at least-
It is so sad. the girls suffer the worst.
Indeed… they are sacrificed first… grim reality.
A vivid tale reflecting what some have to go through. It’s a life so far removed from what I know, that stories like this- and the documentary serves to bring it to mum consciousness.
*my consciousness *- typo!
I think we need to listen … it’s the first step in a road to recovery.
I especially like the proximity of stairs/stars, words with short “o” long/locked/poverty/bombings, and the “b” alliteration in bedroom/between/bombings/backstreets/Beirut/bride.
Like everyone else, I agree that this section is excellent:
“I remember red stains on white shirts. Once from pomegranates then from blood.
Once I was a princess, now I am [a] commodity.”
For some silly reason, the ending leaves me wondering what a “second wife” might be like … as opposed to a “minute,” “hour,” or “week” wife. Then I’m reminded of the song, “One-Minute Man,” and am left wondering if perhaps there is a connection. If it only takes a second, that is pretty impressive, I have to say.
Alas in some countries second wife only lasts for a couple of hours… as it is a way of making prostitution legal-
Ew. So no chance for love then. Unless it’s an especially enjoyable 2 hours.
Powerful story, Bjorn. It is a blot on humanity that there are still cultures where paedophilia is accpetable.
Actually poverty is a strong factor…. child marriages is declining everywhere except among refugees-
Very well done… and yes, I could so imagine this being a true story. I have to agree the blood/pomegranate comparison was extremely effective.
Thank you… the story is pretty much straight out of the documentary… so yes it’s not fiction (only her voice is)
There you go!
Grim tale, expertly told.
Thank you…I try my best.
I like the description o the future as both escape and prison.
Maybe it’s like escaping to yet a prison. Almost like the circles of hell
I am always amazed at how you get under the skin of a character, Bjorn, male or female. It’s a powerful and dramatic story, and so realistic. The lines I find really effective are:
‘I remember red stains on white shirts. Once from pomegranates then from blood.
Once I was a princess, now I am commodity’.
Hearing the documentary was most effective-
‘Once from pomegranates then from blood’.. that is such a vivid and poignant image, Bjorn!
Thank you Sanaa… that seems like an effective line
The tragedy of child brides goes on and on. So deep in the fabric of cultures and such a dead end for the girls who are women before their time. Beautiful, compelling verse, Bjorn.
It’s becoming better except for refugees… which seems to turn back the clock.
I’m not so sure. In Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc…Somali, the people there still keep this practice. Brides as young as 7 are not uncommon. As for refugees, they barter their daughters for a better chance of survival. Many children are sold outright for the survival of the larger family. And of course, this is seen so much in rural India still.
This small glimpse left me wanting to know more of the story
There is always a next chapter… but not a very cheerful story.
There’s always hope for a positive twist 😉
The sixteen year old girl has the voice of a much older woman which makes it very realistic, as these young girls age far beyond their years by what they see and experience – a very poignant write Björn
You age quickly under hardship…
This was heartbreaking, the pain and so well-hidden. Those white shirts. Stephanie Sinclair did a wonderful piece (images) on child Brides for the National Geographic- too young to wed. I used to use it in class to give us all a sense of the complex world we live in and what we must be thankful for.
You gave her a brave voice.
Thank you for sharing that… the documentary added the dimension how it turned worse for refugees… poverty and no schools make it really bad.
This is the website- too young to wed.
The videos on National Geographic are compelling. XX
What a reality check you’ve written here Bjorn.
Execution in your writing is well done. Vivid and scary.
Thank you… this is just one of many aspects of being a refugee…
Bless you my friend. You are such a talented and peaceful poet.
Another prison for the young woman sadly ~ Good one Bjorn ~
I think that schools are the only way to break those walls…
Yep, most of the world (especially women) live in a familiar horror.
I think it’s really getting better in most parts of the world… but the refugee situation has made it worse in some places.
It is so sad to see this happening. We have no idea how utterly blessed we are. It could be us.
Actually childmarriage was common in the “good old dimes”
Hard to imagine, coming from western culture!
This was so heartfelt and sad images. You did well with this.
I hope that somehow things will be better… schools are key to that.
Oh, what a heartful reaction to the prompt! Lovely and sad.
Thank you… the story settle in my heart… make me want to write.
A terribly sad situation, and I thank you for including the link so I could become more informed. Your poem is heartrending. I can’t even imagine.
I think we can do something to help… food and education is the only thing that helps.
This is fact and not fiction for so many girls. I commend you for trying to get into the head of a girl from another culture.
Maybe it’s the human aspect that touches most… culture is just one of the aspects.
“Once I was a princess, now I’m a commodity.” Brilliant line. Poignant piece. Well done.
Thank you… I tried to go under the skin and feel how it feels.
So hard to imagine, so for many it is easier not to.
I find it easy to imagine, but harder to comprehend…. the element of poverty is important I think
Enjoyed the story, though I get angry at those….not the writing, of course, but the story situation.
Anger is what we should feel… such anger is a good one.
Yes, it is…
My heart aches for people like this. I think a girl must turn off all feelings and thinking, much like being a slave. Often with these marriages come repeated beatings.
You’ve captured her voice well.
I think marriage and slavery can be pretty close to each other…
Poignant, and the fate of too many families and of too many young women. Well done, Bjorn!
I think many times it might feel like the only option…
You did a wonderful job I felt like you took me there! A sad situation your poem could be a sister-poem to my Spurned. You have a talent for putting yourself in other’s shoes.
Thank you.. I just to try to feel the narrative in my gut.
Having read your piece, I wonder which could be the more tragic fate.
I think there is no real alternative when you are poor enough
That is just so sad, but how else can she survive in a culture like that, now her trappings of wealth and position have been removed from her. Left on her own in that situation, would leave her vulnerable to all manner of violations. I hope the 43 year-old is kind and doesn’t turn out to be a brute and her slaver.
I hope so too… but she is vulnerable as a refugee… and many girls are getting used by being married into being servants (at best)
Sometimes I hope that purgatory exists, where abusive brutes must answer for their crimes, although I would prefer more immediate justice for their poor victims. It is quite unbearable to think of the living hell some of these girls have to endure.
This post made me appreciate the beauty of your pen until I stopped to realise this was probably true somewhere, someplace. Good write!
I’m afraid it was true (in the way you can trust a documentary)…
The reality of this is chilling and you wrote it so well I was with the girl as she looked upstairs to what would be her marital bed. It must be a terrifying time in a girls life if she doesn’t want to marry the man she is destined for. With such an age difference and being a second wife I doubt she is going to get much joy and from what you later wrote I gather she didn’t. At least she was able to return to her father.
To some extent it’s also terrible that many of those girls thought they had a future in education.. and all of the sudden they are moved back into the old traditions .
It simply is horrible to think about let alone have to live. People wonder why we have refugees – that alone would make me run.
I am so glad I live in a place where that isn’t common. I’m sure I’d have turned into a black widow.
That is an option I think… but there is also the first wife to consider.
I cannot imagine the heartache or heartbreak of those…especially young girls…in war torn areas.
I know… but without their stories they are just statistics.
indeed! They need to be given a voice! Thank you for doing that!!
Sadly, this still happens. A graphic piece Björn. Nicely done.
God this is heartbreaking
So very sad, because it’s real. Beautifully written, as always, Björn.
I am sixteen and he is forty three. <- – – – That's just wrong. Vivid story Björn.