Books

Daddy


You do not do, you do not do

Any more, black shoe

In which I have lived like a foot

For thirty years, poor and white,

Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

 

Daddy, I have had to kill you.

You died before I had time–

Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,

Ghastly statue with one gray toe

Big as a Frisco seal

 

And a head in the freakish Atlantic

Where it pours bean green over blue

In the waters off beautiful Nauset.

I used to pray to recover you.

Ach, du.

 

In the German tongue, in the Polish town

Scraped flat by the roller

Of wars, wars, wars.

But the name of the town is common.

My Polack friend

 

Says there are a dozen or two.

So I never could tell where you

Put your foot, your root,

I never could talk to you.

The tongue stuck in my jaw.

 

It stuck in a barb wire snare.

Ich, ich, ich, ich,

I could hardly speak.

I thought every German was you.

And the language obscene

 

An engine, an engine

Chuffing me off like a Jew.

A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.

I began to talk like a Jew.

I think I may well be a Jew.

 

The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna

Are not very pure or true.

With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck

And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack

I may be a bit of a Jew.

 

I have always been scared of you,

With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.

And your neat mustache

And your Aryan eye, bright blue.

Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You–

 

Not God but a swastika

So black no sky could squeak through.

Every woman adores a Fascist,

The boot in the face, the brute

Brute heart of a brute like you.

 

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,

In the picture I have of you,

A cleft in your chin instead of your foot

But no less a devil for that, no not

Any less the black man who

 

Bit my pretty red heart in two.

I was ten when they buried you.

At twenty I tried to die

And get back, back, back to you.

I thought even the bones would do.

 

But they pulled me out of the sack,

And they stuck me together with glue.

And then I knew what to do.

I made a model of you,

A man in black with a Meinkampf look

 

And a love of the rack and the screw.

And I said I do, I do.

So daddy, I’m finally through.

The black telephone’s off at the root,

The voices just can’t worm through.

 

If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two–

The vampire who said he was you

And drank my blood for a year,

Seven years, if you want to know.

Daddy, you can lie back now.

 

There’s a stake in your fat black heart

And the villagers never liked you.

They are dancing and stamping on you.

They always knew it was you.

Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.

 

A poem by Sylvia Plath

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25 thoughts on “Daddy

  1. I’m not sure exactly what you’re trying to say here. I hope it helped and will take place over actually killing someone, even though you may feel you have to.

    I thought you wrote this at first and was going to be amazed. Now I just think of you as a thief.

    • Haha I was hoping that everyone thought I was a poetic genius, but with my Kim Kardashian poem, people probably would’ve figured out that I wasn’t.

      Basically what I was trying to say is that all dads are the worst. I heard this poem on Christmas and I really liked it.

  2. A gripping life says:

    The audio of her reading this poem is fierce and full of venom, agree? I have no doubt it was because of her relationship with him that she took her life. It’s amazing how someone can cause so much pain to others and still be clueless.

    • It was really good! It was a great way to hear her words for the first time. I’m sure his influence was definitely a major factor as to why she ended her life. He sounds like a Nazi creep to me.

  3. Lily, Ms. Plath had a very dark side and I sense some big Daddy issues in this poem. Have you read the Bell Jar?

    Anyway, I also sense this is close to home for you and I wish you much healing and love through this and much, much happiness. I know that you’re hurting now and I so hope you find solace with your husband, Mom and friends. Be well, dear one! xo

    • I read the Bell Jar once and I didn’t really like it. I read it again and still didn’t like it that much. I don’t know why. But I really love this poem.

      Thanks so much Brigitte! Sometimes life is hard, but it’s nice when you find someone else’s words to describe how you’re feeling. I definitely have a good support group–I’m a lucky one! xo

    • Hah yeah. Thanks Guap. Sometimes I need to have a therapeutic blog post every now and then. I’m sure I’ll be back to normal by tomorrow!

    • Haha I know right? I was hoping that everyone would think it was I who wrote these awesome words. I just save my poetry skillz for the Kardashians… sigh.

    • Yeah it’s so great! I could see writing an essay on it–there’s so much to say. It’s weird, I didn’t really like The Bell Jar, but I really love this piece so much.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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