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The Temple Keeper

Still Life, 1907 by John Frederick Peto 

Her day starts before the rise of the sun
She cleaned the entire area until it shone
This place was everything to her
This abandoned temple was her humble home

No one knew where she came from
And yet she knew everyone on the lane
With a cheerful smile she greeted everyone
But a few others considered her insane

She walked holding her old umbrella
Carefully clutching her brown torn bag
Age had taken pace away from her
And yet she walked despite a lag

One day a kid left behind his hat
She returned it to him the next day
His mother refused to accept it
It was now cursed, I heard her say

And yet she guarded it with her life
Just like she had done with this house of hers
Some offered her money out of pity
Which she accepted and collected in her purse

She lay alone under the moon light
The hard stone was her makeshift bed
There was no blanket to protect her from the cold
Nor a pillow to guard her aged head

No one could miss her at this lane
Everyone knew her and yet stayed away
Her laughter added to the chimes of the street
But it all came to an end one day

She was nowhere to be found
People looked for her every where
Everyone was now suddenly worried
Until now, no one bothered to care

Days passed and there was no sign of her
Soon she was out of every one's mind
When I went to look for her belongings
The umbrella, the bag and the hat I could find

The temple now wore a deserted look
With dust and dirt like a barren ground
I collected her last memorabilia and left
For the temple keeper was no longer around

Written for Magpie Tales: Mag 271.

Linking this to Write Tribe Festival of Words #4 Day 2 for the theme Creativity and Inspiration, where I have used the above picture as my inspiration to weave a story around it.


  1. I feel so sorry for the temple keeper.

    There are people like this in real life as well, people who we don't pay attention to because we are so self-involved.

  2. Aah! If only she could have found love and affection while she lived. A beautiful take on the picture prompt, Soumya!

  3. Beautifully penned! Spectacular, Soumya! :)

  4. Very well written soumya:) Could visualize the sad plight of her. I have personally come across people who had once upon a time led a Queen size life and one point reduced to nothing and have become homeless.All i could do was listen to thier painfull stories and a little bit of help from what i could afford Yes, it not only happens in films you see :(.

    One such story on my blog too for the same picture

    1. I agree. If only they found well wishers in real life also.


  5. Oh so sad that there was no one when when she should have some body around. This was touching and well written Soumya.

  6. She didnt deserve this. :(
    So many people like her...there existence ignored.
    This was good Leo. I am so sorry for being away and not visiting this place.

  7. What a sad plight! If only she had had a happier life...

  8. Oh a sad tale and one that is so common. Sometimes we only notice people once they are gone.

  9. Soumya...this is something incredibly written I would say. Though it's sad still there's a beauty within. I could visualize the happenings as every other day we meet somebody like her :(

  10. Such a sad state no one cared about her while she was around. Sometimes that is the way in life isn't it, unfortunately. Great take on the picture Soumya! :) <3

  11. Poignant poem! The plight of the temple keeper breaks the heart. We do have many such broken hearts around us. If only we could come out of our comfort zone and show some compassion. Brilliant post Soumya :)

  12. What a heart-wrenching story inside your poem. Why is it that it's only when someone's gone that we miss them?

  13. so much sadness in your words. If only people would care more. Beautiful write.

  14. That's reality, nice story! It happens all around us to so many people. We need to start showing a little more love and a little more care.

  15. This is sad. Living a life like that, and finally bidding farewell in loneliness :-(

  16. How do you come up with such magic? Love it.

  17. Poignantly penned. I feel sad for the temple keeper :(


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