Treasure Island

Sally Plumb Plumb

(23 9 1940 / Haverhill Suffolk England)

Tough Love


My father
called celery... salary,
and Valerie... Valaria.
What he called me
was nobodys business.
He used to lose
his mind
and say unkind things
to people.
It don't upset me
any more
for now I'm older
memory is a cold case.
His two faces,
one white.. then black,
were frightful.
A third face
was that of a child
who needed help.

Once, they carted my father
off in a straight jacket.
I don't think he ever knew
it was me who grassed him up.
My mother was faint hearted
at the time
and left it to me.
I jumped at the chance.
Madness had gone on for long enough.
Tough love?
No love... I was glad
to do it.
Couldn't wait.
Better late than never.
Who's clever?
I was fifteen at the time.
A lot of sniper fire
from sane people
could have dug my grave.
Conflict carries on relentlessly.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 18, 2012

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  • Walterrean Salley (7/4/2012 12:49:00 AM)

    Very moving. I’m sorry for your difficult childhood, Sally. Very sad about your dad, but you did what you had to do. 10 (Report) Reply

  • Danny Draper (4/20/2012 9:31:00 AM)

    This emotional poem shows strength and resilience and a language of street savvy that demonstrates a maturity beyond your years formed by your often tough experiences. And yet you still kindly reflect on your father's quirks despite his mental health issues, with a gentleness and resolve that shows great empathy and kindness even if tough love was the only true course against the growing disharmony in your life. A good and gutsy write. (Report) Reply

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