Almost Beautiful

Honour killings are on the rise in India. Dictatorial khap panchayats are issuing diktats that approve the killing of couples who marry against the wishes of their families.

As always, the burden of "honour" lies on the girl's head, and her partner pays the price of associating himself with her. 

Girls deemed to have forsaken their family's "honour" are ordered to be tortured and killed, often by being raped and beaten before being murdered brutally by their own fathers and brothers.

In most cases, their deaths go unreported and unpunished. 

This is what truly shames and brings dishonour not just to their families or communities, but to the entire nation, and all of humanity.

This is for all those girls who died without a voice in the name of "honour".

I wake up in a bed, Not quite sure
Of where I am, or where I was before
Every nerve, every sinew,every drop of blood burns
My face beaten to a pulp, and my tormentor turns

I search his face for emotion, even hate would do
The indifference, the disdain is what pierces through
As if I were nothing, not human, nor animal
Just a soft piece of flesh to be consumed at will

My wrists chaff, the ropes binding me bite
As horror fills me, I strain with all my might
But nothing can save me from what's coming my way
It's been an eternity, or was it just a day?

To be loved but abused and fondled but raped
Contradictions abound, but I'm tied to my fate
Did anyone miss me, did anyone care
Did anyone search, or hurt, or despair?

Fire and ice can both burn just as bad
I know, I've had them both drive me mad
More than my body, it's my spirit that aches
Only a woman can feel what a man can only take

No honour, no respect, no worth, no esteem
Everything taken away from me
No virtue, no merit, no value, no purity
All murdered on the altar of morality

For those who violate and plunder me so
Are not strangers, but my blood, my very own
I'm paying the price for their vanity
Their pride, their honour, their virtuosity

I feel my breath fading as I am pillaged again
I close my eyes to drown into memories of happier days
Hidden from the world a look, a touch, a stolen kiss
Days of love, moments stolen from time itself and wedded bliss

A forbidden love, or so they said, as they hacked to death
The light of my life, the reason for my existence, my every breath
And then they turned on me, and so I was on this bed
Battered and violated and brought to justice in their heads

I open my eyes briefly, to look at their world one last time
For I know beyond doubt it's no longer mine
I'm headed to heaven, no matter how broken or pitiful
In my world I'm whole and strong.. and almost beautiful

Reposted for Open Link Monday on Imaginary Garden With Real Toads.


  1. i LOVED ur poems
    blog me or dnt but ur stuff is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Nice poetry, superbly composed.

  4. So-called "honor" killings are nothing honorable at all. They are just horror, violence, and a terrible perversion of what family is meant to be. In the end, it is just enforcing one's own ego and will upon another, and dressing it up in Sunday clothes. Like most atrocities, it is done because it *can* be done, by the stronger over the weaker.

    It has nothing to do with honor, and everything to do with shame; the shame of people who destroy the women they should be loving.

    1. Misogyny and male dominance are so deeply ingrained in the twisted interpretations of our culture and religion that they see nothing wrong in what they do. Even though no scripture, no religion and no god has ever defined honour in the blood of daughters and sisters.

    2. This is why I do believe in Hell. They will pay. And this is why I believe in Heaven - their beautiful souls will be loved as they should for all eternity.

      This leaves me so mad - standing up to this barbarism means certain death to these women, I'm sure.

      The last line squeezes my heart so...

  5. A heartfelt account of an atrocity for which there can be no excuse...

    1. There most certainly is no excuse for such cruelty, and yet this is an established practice carried on with impunity in full knowledge of the govt and the police

  6. This theme is close to me as I am very much repulsed by this old and cruel tradition ~ Family honor means man's pride and wealth, not those of a woman, she is worth nothing in their eyes ~ Thanks for the meaningful write ~

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The only way to stop this madness is to let them know in clear terms that this is not acceptable, we won't look the other way, and we will stand up for and with these women, even though that's your responsibility.

  7. hello Mixi, wow, thank you for writing and sharing this. at first, i wondered if the rhyme trivialized the subject matter, but not at all. it rather seems to make accessible a topic--rape, extreme sexualized violence, murder--that is very difficult to write about. the "altar or mortality" is what must be undone and thrown away.

    the last line is devastating, that even upon needless death this woman considers herself "almost beautiful."

    i commend you for writing this, and hope many, many people read it. thank you again. Marian

    1. Hi Marian, thank you for your meaningful and thoughtful comment. My idea was to write this in a way that would connect with even the most casual of readers, those who may not appreciate poetry with all its nuances, but would be willing to read a story instead. To write about something that shouldn't even exist in a civilized society is hard, and being a woman and knowing the pain, both physical and emotional is harder,

      Thank you for reading and thinking about this.

  8. It is hard for me to wrtap my head around the thought process that takes people to these lengths in the name of family honor...Really? You have thrown a truth grenade here and I hope that the fall out is immense. Great job expressing it in real time and in real emotion. Love it.

    1. Shocking and incomprehensible though it is for us, for those who do this, it is justified and the right thing to do. They even issue press releases with warnings and judgements passed against young couples, girls in particular. It is horrifying.

      Thank you for reading this.

    2. truth grenade! that's exactly the right description.

  9. Thank you for speaking for these women...This was beautifully written.

    1. Thank you for reading this susie. Hopefully this gave you some perspective on regressive and medieval practices still existing in countries around the world.. Even so called civilized ones like mine.

  10. Anonymous10:15 AM

    Mixi, thank you for a gut-wrenching dose of TRUTH. I've seen the documentary "Half the Sky," which exposes: honor killings, the taking of virginity of very small girls (some as young as 3) for "the bragging rights," and prostitution trade in general, the sex slave trade. Every woman should educate her family about these abuses, if only to make their sons understand the correct way to respect a woman. This is an important poem, and I'm going to post it on my Facebook page.

    Looking for the day when "honour" and "killing" are not said in the same breath, I thank you and wish you peace. Amy, Madison, WI USA

    1. Thank you so much for spreading the word Amy... indeed there is no such thing as an "honour" killing... we need more awareness, more attention to be brought to this barbarianism...

      Thank you once again!

  11. Anonymous11:35 AM

    Great job you did with this poem. Cruel traditions

  12. as a fellow Indian I share your anger and shame.such things are difficult to judge from a purely literary or aesthetic perspective.necessary write.

    1. As you said, it is difficult to get to the heart of this issue without understanding the ground realities behind it.

  13. My heart aches for this woman, for all the women facing this unspeakable horror .. Forever Beautiful.

    1. YOU poem haunts, as it should for all the voices who can't be heard!
      Well done...
      Everyone needs to read your poem!

  14. Mixi, you have addressed an important and difficult topic. You take your reader right into the girl's heart, on that bed, with those supposed to love her torturing her instead. Well done. I hope many people read your poem and that somehow, someday, girls and women can be safe in this world.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me!

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