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.
When I was reading the post about the anthology and then the optional prompt I thought of this family when I was a young child. The family was not very clean. Now looking back, perhaps they didn’t have the money to pay for detergents and soaps. Nearly everyone in town knew where they lived and although I am ashamed to admit this openly, we all used to hold our breath when we passed by their house on the bus. It is so mean and I am not proud of it but they came to mind. I think they may have come to mind because it is a family that is now haunting the living as revenge to all those people who were so cruel to them in life. This family is still alive as far as I know and I wish them no harm. I think if they knew, and maybe they did, then they would find some “humor” in their haunting!
Before, they were known by the odor sent forth from their windows and doors.
Now they lay together rotting into the earth emitting an odor much worse than any that came from their windows and doors.
And he who lay beside them must live in death with an odor repulsive through dirt with no windows or doors.
Together they rot in peace All sending their odor to all passersby as they did in life.
Before the Ruins by Victoria Gosling is a wonderfully crafted mystery, set in modern day England, that weaves a whole cast of characters so intricately and a plot that keeps you engaged and anxious to read how she brings it all together at the end, revealing secrets and the truths around them.
Andy, Em, Peter, Marcus and David have found friendship and comradery but are also in the process of learning how many secrets one group of friends can hold. As a young group of friends there are games to play and plenty of time to enjoy each other’s company. Andy conveys the impression that she leads the group, while also seemingly the least favored friend. With Em and Marcus close by her side the group works on solving an old mystery haunting The Manor since 1936, the missing diamonds. As they age so do their problems, and the situations they find themselves in, while life seems to unravel around them. Where is Peter? What has happened to David? Who is telling the truth? Who can any of them believe? It isn’t until years later that loose ends are tied up, truths are told, and authentic relationships are revealed.
I give this story 3.5 out of 5 stars for the compelling storyline and cast of characters. Gosling is a native of the English countryside, which made some of the references confusing to a reader who is not familiar with places and situations specific to life in England. After reading through most of the story many phrases become understandable based on context and in the end, you don’t notice any impact of cultural differences at all.