'The day my dad went mad' by Patricia Hughes is Poem of the Week
The Write Out Loud Poem of the Week is ‘The day my dad went mad’ by Patricia Hughes. The title of the poem speaks for itself. On her profile page Patricia says: “The written word has helped get me through many dark times. I have only recently started writing again after losing my creativity to depression … I believe that poetry and any form of self-expression can be an important part of recovery from mental illness.” In her replies to our questions she goes further, saying of her return to creativity: “I feel like I’ve released a bird out of a cage.”
What got you into writing?
I guess it was my love of books from an early age, it was a natural progression from loving words to trying to write words that mattered.
How long have you been writing?
I joined a local creative writing group in my thirties, but became mentally unwell for over a decade. I set aside all things creative for a long time. I was then offered some therapy and began writing again during that process, but it was solely as a means of healing. It is only in the past few months that I rejoined the local creative writing group. It has been a fantastic time. I feel like I've released a bird out of a cage.
Have you been to any open mic nights?
I went to my first open mic night in Belfast just three weeks ago. It was awe-inspiring to hear such fantastic poetry. Maybe soon I might find my voice.
Your favourite poem/poet?
Hard to say. The first book of poetry I owned and loved was Little Johnny’s Confession by Brian Patten. I love the beautiful bleakness of ‘This Dead Relationship’ by Katherine Pierpoint.
You're cast away on a desert island. What’s your luxury?
As long as there is an unlimited supply of decent red wine and tea for the morning after, my luxury would be a king-size bed with all my favourite books on it. I’m not keen on hammocks.
THE DAY MY DAD WENT MAD
by Patricia Hughes
He came undone with no sense of decorum.
His pants soiled and the room reeking of shit.
Paisley and the Pope shook hands in the Ivy house across the way,or so he said.
We laughed because it was easier than crying.
This was no celebrity breakdown;
there was chaos as he tried to climb the venetian blind,
And people sniggered as he danced with the shopping trolley,
mums best table lamp balanced on top to show him the way.
He became mute.
Exhausted by this world he retreated to some other benign place.
Lingered there for months,wrapped warm and cosy in a strait jacket.
He came home on Christmas day,a male nurse on either side of him.
His crazy blonde quiff still shone like a halo in the late December sun,
but nothing else remained.
He was a husk of a man,
A lithium hologram.