Tuesday, October 03, 2006

To my daughter

That my heart is like a spike stuck in my chest
is natural because you are you.
I would not want to change you
although we cannot cross the same bridges.
Promise and truth have never been friends for us although
I would still lay down my life for you (and that is not a promise).
My eyes dim while yours grow brighter.
Your son makes my smiling face absurd and, at last,
I have harmed everyone by wanting to be good.
I always kill myself first like a coward;
I could gouge my eyes out but am still afraid I'd see you suffer.
My vanity is my legend, large as a lake,
with me trapped on the shore like a small intention.
Every time I flail out too far from the shore and drown,
I see your smile and know it was worthwhile.
We will always be lost in this love which has found us.
Regrettably you will always be small like a bright and shinny seed
and life will always thwart the fast running feet of our dreams.
Still you and I will face the world, hand in hand,
clown-like, in our Halloween costumes.

20 comments:

gulnaz said...

this one got my eyes wet...its a strange relationship we share with our parents, fathers.....well you hve said it so beautifullyhere, what can i add

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks Gulnaz! Yes, no more foolishness, people are imperfect and therefore love imperfectly. Just the truth without hiding in lots of illusion is not so comfortable but it better helps us understand the dynamic that love is and the mechinisms that make it work!

Natalia L. Rudychev said...

Powerful write. Profoundly deep and moving.

csperez said...

beautiful poem

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks Natalia! I know this is not as reader friendly as the poems filled with fluff and illusion. Hopefully the honest experience of it will make up for any discomfort it causes (with my humble apology). Thanks for the insightful comment. It really helps to have an idea of what people experience when they read a poem.

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks csperez! I'm still drunk from reading about your wonderful weekend.

_Soulless_ said...

I always kill myself first like a coward;
I could gouge my eyes out but am still afraid I'd see you suffer.


Self-sacrifice is best known and understood by a parent. ^_^ Your daughter is blessed to have a father who fears not the written expression of his love.

Thank you for allowing your readers to witness it, be moved by it. Cheers.

Pat Paulk said...

No matter how old they get, they're always like a "spike stuck in the chest". From one grandfather to another, great poem!!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks soulless! I'm glad you are so sympathetic and generous with your love. I'm sure it makes your father very happy. Thanks for the wonderful comments.

Russell Ragsdale said...

Now ain't we a pair, grandpaw poet! Thanks Pat!

M. Shahin said...

A dad writing a letter to his daughter - that is beautiful and touching...

This letter is beautiful because it shows the imperfection of a relationship between a father and daughter, which makes it even more perfect :-)

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks m. shahin! The secret is not with the love (which creates the relationship), it is with the forgivness which allows it to continue and hopefully improve.

Sue hardy-Dawson said...

Beautiful-so truly understandable to any parent the bitter sweet love for your children

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks Sue! I was absolutely certain you'd understand where this poem came from. Thanks for the great comment.

gautami tripathy said...

My dad always used to say that he loved me as I was. You brought back all those memories. He is gone now and I miss him so much. Thanks for this great post.

polona said...

hi russel,
this is a wonderful, moving poem. you desribed the complexity of the parent-child relationship so well... thank you for sharing.

Plus Ultra said...

Ah lovely, I am a father and grandfather and I know the spikes in my heart, but you describe the father and daughter relationship so well that it brings tears to my eyes...

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi gautami tripathy! My dad's gone too, I know what you mean. Thanks for the wonderful comments.

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks polona! It often seems to me poetry tends to avoid the complexity of this relationship because it is so difficult for many poets to sense the beauty here. Thanks for the great (and much appreciated) comment.

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks plus ultra! I'm glad this played some chords for you. Children and grandchildren are great. Thanks for the touching comment!