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Shame and Honor- A True Story

Eileen Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali - Premium MemberPremium Member Send Soup Mail Go to Poets Blog Block poet from commenting on your poetry

Below is the poem entitled Shame and Honor- A True Story which was written by poet Eileen Ghali. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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Shame and Honor- A True Story

“You want me to give you my daughter’s hand in marriage….
without the blessing of your family on this union?”
My father sternly eyed the love of my life.
I was quaking inside…
Why did this whole thing have to be so difficult?
Why did WE have to be modern day Romeo and Julliet with the Capulets and the Montagues out to kill our love? Why?

“You have MY blessing on this union. It should be enough.  
It is all I can offer. I am willing to be disowned by my family, if need be.
They have threatened to throw me out.  I am willing to pitch a tent on campus 
and live there if that becomes a reality. That is how much I love your daughter.“

My father was quiet for a moment. What a decision to make!  In a community
where shame and honor ruled supreme, he had to decide whether to subject
his daughter, indeed, his whole family, to public disgrace by making it known that she was not wanted, or to bring her joy by granting to her the desire of her heart...this young man.

My brother was not so giving. “How could you? Don’t you know the
things she is saying behind your back? You are dragging our good name in the
dirt.”  I couldn't understand him. How could he not care about his best friend's love for me, his sister? Was honor that important? I would soon find out…the silence was unbearable.

“Had I not known that you are a man of honor, a man of your word, and that you can stand up to your mother, I would not do what I am going to do now….which is to promise you my daughter’s hand in marriage.” 

My heart skipped a beat as I let out a sigh of relief.  My man beamed at me. How proud I was of him. Our love would pay the price of shame, for there is nothing more honorable than to love and be loved, no matter the cost.

For Kim Morrisen's Contest
Tell me a True Story
June 19, 2013




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  1. Date: 6/27/2013 1:05:00 AM
    I enjoyed reading this narrative prosey. Truly. Kudos to you for theme and presentation. It reminded me a little of a scene in: "The Kite Runner". This might be off-topic and random(?), but are you familiar with the 8th century Persian mystic and poet, Hafiz? I love Hafiz's poetry so much. He is actually one of my all-time favourite poets. Ever. He veered from his classical Ghazals, and entered the realm of hybridized free-verse/Rubaiyat....wrote these 42 amazing Rubaiyees. Absolutely brilliant.

    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/28/2013 12:33:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    BTW....I love Khalid Husseini...I've read the Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and am DYING to get my hand on his latest, And the Mountains Echoed. My cousin went to a book signing and met the guy! Awesome! She is int he field of writing as well! :) I need to write a Ghazal. You know in this part of the word, Chris...we hear those all the time! :)
    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/28/2013 12:30:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Hi Chris...took my befuddled mind some time to realize which of the other poems you had commented on! ;) Please...do send the resources of Haifiz. Imagine...my dad could show you the depth of the beauty by doing a word for word translation! He used to translate for the top brass of the American army that were training the Iranian army during the time of the Shah. Yes, he is THAT good! :) I should know more of "part" of my heritage! :) I think it would be my cup of tea...
    Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner
    Date: 6/27/2013 11:44:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Of course you know of Hafiz.....how silly of me. I am famiIiar with identity issues, being part of different cultures, etc. will look for a good online source of Hafiz's Rubaiyees(altered Rubaiyat?). They might not be your cup of tea? And if not, this is perfectly ok. Hmmm, I enjoy using ellipses. Just not all the time, not at the end of every line. Yes, those words by Sa'adi are lovely. A good, wholesome soul-food of a quote/proverb.
    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/27/2013 1:36:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    May I leave you with this quote from Sa'adi? If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft, and in thy humble store, two loaves alone to thee are left, sell one, and with its dole, buy hyacinths to feed thy soul! Isn't that heavenly???? Going to write a poem on that one soon! Thanks for bothering to post...I hope I haven't overwhelmed you!
    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/27/2013 1:34:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Cont...you have NO idea..but please...do point me to the Rubaiyat's that you favor. I've written one or two Rubaiyat here. Don't laugh! ;) Yes, being a stickler for punctuation, I bet my continual ellipsis drives you mad. It is just my signature thing. I teach writing courses, and I know all about these issues, but here...I'm on a break! ;)
    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/27/2013 1:32:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Cont...If out of love, then why not dialogue? ;) Chris...of course I know who Hafiz is...I am an Armenian Iranian by birth. My father, who is both a pastor and educator..Ed.d., loves Persian sayings and quotes and how I wish you could meet this man I idolize and share some thoughts oh Hafiz and Sa'adi. I would lie to you if I say I knew any of his work...shame on me! I'm so mixed up when it comes to identity issues....
  1. Date: 6/27/2013 12:58:00 AM
    Before I comment on your actual writing, I just want to reply to your comment concerning a difference of ideologies. I don't hold it against you that you are a PK. Hey, we simply have a difference in ideologies, as you mentioned. Hmmmm, when I post with a bit of venom, you should understand that a lot of it is my reaction towards attempts at conversion(and not just Christianity, but Islam, etc, too). I can't stand "missionary-conversion" soupmail. Drives me nuts. Each to their own. One humanity.

    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/28/2013 12:37:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    OH DEAR OH DEAR! Ok, my father, the pastor educator, is also a writer. He writes poetry, but more importantly, he is really into contextual ministry...meaning, don't speak a foreign language to the people you hope to win over to your faith. His specialty...work with Moslems. He knows the Quoran probably more than most nominal Moslems do...The word Islam actually means surrender, so...in a sense, those who are surrendered to God may call themselves as such! Get the picture? Building bridges. After all Paul was Jew to the Jew, Greek to the Greek. Don't you start me on dialogue!
    Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner
    Date: 6/27/2013 11:37:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    This reply gives me a wee touch of trepidation! Ha! "Please read with a grain of salt." Oh my....half of my commentary in the blogs, is facetious. Just so you know. Yeah, I come from a family filled with theologians. I have interest in discussing faith and religion. The missionary conversion attempts are a whole different animal.
    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/27/2013 1:29:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Chris., I know...to each his own. Of course. I was going to post a poem that was sparked in part by your comments, but I was afraid of being criticized for voicing my opinion. It was related to Debbie's contest on BEING. I've written it, and still might post it...Please read with a grain of salt. You have the full right to be upset by the missonary-conversion stance of people if it comes out of a WE KNOW THE TRUTH stance....
  1. Date: 6/25/2013 5:14:00 PM
    Congratulations on your win Eileen, don't forget to add it to your list of honours lol. Take care, Richard

    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/28/2013 12:43:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    No....ooops! Sorry, It was on this poem....we are in agreement that the struggle made us stronger and we proved our in-laws wrong! :)
    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/28/2013 12:38:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Oh dear me, Richard. That was from some other post, the content of which escapes me now! OH Yes...the Warrior Princess...we are agreed that you are NO MATCH FOR ME! I could have your for breakfast and still need a snack mid morning! ;) Please...I do need to get this out of my system!
    Seal Avatar Richard D Seal
    Date: 6/25/2013 5:15:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Good we are in agreement, just not quite sure on what lol
  1. Date: 6/25/2013 8:58:00 AM
    What an amazing way to end an enticing story. Well told story; a deserved win. xx

    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/28/2013 12:39:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Awwwww....thank you so much, Chuma. You have made me smile!
  1. Date: 6/25/2013 12:22:00 AM
    Great story. Congrats on your win, Eileen. Elaine George

    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/28/2013 12:40:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Elaine, your congrats are welcome, as is your visit! :)
  1. Date: 6/22/2013 6:37:00 PM
    Great heartwarming experience and worthy of your win.... I believe you will like reading "That's Good Enough For Me" - a poem I wrote to my son-in-law after he asked for my daughter's hand in marriage. Congrats on a great win.... Jake

    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/28/2013 12:42:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Wow, John...Thanks for the post and for mentioning the poem...I'm on my way there now!
  1. Date: 6/22/2013 4:48:00 PM
    Often that which is difficult, but worth fighting for, is better in the end....it seems as if the struggle made you stronger. Well done!!

    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/28/2013 12:42:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    That does seem to be the way, doesn't it, Carrie! Thanks for the visit. You keep shining with your work! Hugs!
  1. Date: 6/22/2013 4:31:00 PM
    Congratulations on your win!! I really liked it!

    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/28/2013 12:41:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thanks, Heather...glad it spoke to your heart!
  1. Date: 6/22/2013 7:52:00 AM
    Congratulations on your no. 1 with this winning love story. Love, Joyce

    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/22/2013 7:54:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thanks, Joyce...sweet of you to visit.
  1. Date: 6/21/2013 11:26:00 PM
    A familiar story in these parts of the world..happy you are happy, a big congrats, hugs:) Jag

    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/22/2013 1:33:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thank you, Jag. So sweet of you to drop by and congratulate me! :)
  1. Date: 6/21/2013 9:16:00 PM
    Many of us from other cultures do not fully understand the honor you alluded to here and the accompanying shame that could follow when it is violated, but you unmasked it well in this piece. Impressive write! Kim

    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/22/2013 1:32:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Kim, thank you for your kind post and for my place in your contest. I am honored that you looked kindly on my poem. Yes....it is a grave issue here. We are tied to cultural and social norms that are hard to break. I find it quite suffocating at times....Middle Easterners tend to think I'm Western, and Westerners think I still have much of the Middle East in me...My Armenian roots also play a part. So, I guess I'm a citizen of the world. Thanks once again.
  1. Date: 6/19/2013 6:48:00 PM
    Ooohhhhh...boo....hoooooing here....tissue please.....big hugs to this guy and kisses to you...

    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/20/2013 12:14:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thanks, Donna. I told him I'd written this yesterday! No marriage is perfect...Some of those objections actually did carry weight...difference in culture being a major one, but....everything can be overcome. We actually have good family relations now...though sometimes, old hurts do resurface and bring tears. Thanks for the love, MD.....I LOVE YA!
  1. Date: 6/19/2013 4:41:00 PM
    Yes same here, her family did not approve of me, can u believe that?lol. When I asked her dad for his daughters hand, which I only did because she insisted, all he answered was, "She's only after your money", lol and walked off, so I took that to be a yes lol. I know in part of the world this is taken much more seriously, family honour, I'm not so sure it's that. Take care, Richard

    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/21/2013 1:27:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Well, Richard...hallelujah! We are in agreement. Glad you proved them wrong! :)
    Seal Avatar Richard D Seal
    Date: 6/20/2013 5:04:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    I think at the time they just did not understand me, I did prove them to be wrong though. This family honour thing is all about control, parents always think they know best and use it as an excuse to maintain that control.
    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/20/2013 12:17:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    HEE HEE! I find that IMPOSSIBLE to believer, Richard. you are the most amazing catch! How could they? ;) hmmmmmm your money, eh? Well, that does add charm, Richard....we are only human! I'd like an explanation to that last line, please...what else could it be? Thanks for the post.
  1. Date: 6/19/2013 1:55:00 PM
    Hey sweet lady! Wow on this poem...love wins in the end. My family did not approve of my marraige at all....except for my dad. They said it would NEVER work....nearly 12 years later we are happier together than ever. Great job with this...should do very well!

    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/20/2013 12:13:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    :) For that introductory line...sweet lady! I'm so glad that you are going strong, Caleb. :) Glad your dad was there for support. Just so happens today is our 20th wedding anniversary. Who would have thought we'd make it this far??? I think it was the strong opposition that made us want to tie the knot more than ever! Feel like listening to "Still the One" by Shania Twain! :)
  1. Date: 6/19/2013 9:57:00 AM
    Wow am so happy tnat love ruled ....Seren. Typo corrected

    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/19/2013 10:01:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thanks, Seren! Sweet of you to post! Those typos plague me constantly...no worries!
    Roberts Avatar Seren Roberts
    Date: 6/19/2013 9:58:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Typo on my own name. Lol.Seren
  1. Date: 6/19/2013 8:30:00 AM
    What a wonderful love story

    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/20/2013 12:28:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    :) I'm happy for you! Cultural difference do make things a little difficult in countries where cultural norms and standards define who you are! Thanks for the visit.
    Lamoureux Avatar Richard Lamoureux
    Date: 6/19/2013 10:58:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    I know a bit about this marrying into a Chinese family. Worked out well in the end.
    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/19/2013 9:35:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thank you, Richard. Sometimes objections can be really fickle....I was not from the right culture....not pretty enough....not smart enough...Objections...though an honor student, popular, and....I was told....desired by many...I was not good enough for HER son. Oh well, the good news is we get along well now...and the past can be forgotten....at least...forgiven! :)
  1. Date: 6/19/2013 7:44:00 AM
    Powerful story. True love really does overcome, somehow. Excellent story!

    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/19/2013 9:37:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Somehow....yes, it does! :) Thanks for the visit, Drake. Hope all is well! Hugs!
  1. Date: 6/19/2013 6:38:00 AM
    WOW! what people have to go through. Back in the day - people even killed for honor. You were lucky. I love your story. Lucilla

    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/19/2013 6:40:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Lucilla....they still do in these parts of the world. Have you heard of honor killings? A father will kill his own daughter if she loses her virginity before marriage. I've read a book on that called, Burned Alive. Horrific. I'm thinking of writing a poem about it sometime soon! Will get back to you. Got to run! Hugs!
  1. Date: 6/19/2013 3:43:00 AM
    So glad it worked out for you and that you are happy. Rick

    Ghali Avatar Eileen Ghali
    Date: 6/19/2013 3:44:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thanks, Rick! Sweet of you to post!