‘I hate you,’ she yelled 
at the drug dealer
standing in the doorway
of his other, legal business
in the main street of town.

‘You ruined our boys!’ –
the lads just out of school
he gave jobs to and then 
got addicted. ‘I hate you!’ 
She bellowed his name.

‘I hear you,’ he said sourly,
eventually. But it wasn’t him
she was really telling,
it was the town. Some
muttered. Others clapped.

Maybe they knew
she took those boys in, 
fed them from her own pocket, 
helped them set up a band….
One by one they got away.

She invited the whole town
to her birthday party this year.
‘Just turn up,’ she said. Privately
told me how honoured she felt
as community elders turned up.

She never told me a lie,
even when I didn’t like the truth.
And she never told me a truth
that wasn’t said in love,
nor one that didn’t help.

At her memorial service, 
many wept. I made a speech 
and told the truth. The truth was, 
she was Love. (‘Hatred isn't wrong,’
she once said. ‘It springs from love.’

I didn’t understand at the time.
Thinking back, I do now.) 
We told stories of what she gave us
and how uncompromising she was. 
And played her song: ‘I did it my way.’

Written for Midweek Motif ~ Authenticity at Poets United


  1. ‘I did it my way.’---Wish this was the way of the world. Love the narrative.

  2. Wow! Thank you for telling this story of a most generous and genuine person. Every town needs at least one of these, and I'd like to know them all. Tears in my eyes. This poem is worthy of her.

  3. My goodness this is evocative! I am overwhelmed by the tone and the emotions in this poem, Rosemary. As Susan mentioned, it's worthy of her! ❤️

  4. She was real, and authentic - and she taught a lot of people how to speak up. Awesome! How cool that she gave those kids a better direction to go in. A gift beyond price.

  5. I second Susan's "Wow!" This is a profound poem. Really great. So much captured here.

  6. It's so sad, Rosemary, the way the get away. I'm seeing the struggle of a youngster now, she is 'too big' to be very close to grandparents, yet to so vulnerable to the 'glamor' of a scum. I like your declaration, " Hatred isn't wrong,’
    she once said. ‘It springs from love.’ That is often true but other times hate is unfounded prejudices.

    1. You’re right of course. And I’m so sorry about the grand-daughter. Hope she emerges soon, relatively unscathed!

  7. wow a very touching beautiful poem and I love the story telling

  8. It is a disaster and most unsettling to be let down by people one is familiar with. The sacrifices do not come easy in turning wayward kids to worthy citizens. Very well thought out Rosemary!


  9. Hatred isn't wrong,’
    she once said. ‘It springs from love. - so much to think about! That is going to be in my head for a while!


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