Daughter Poems

Father DaughterOne member of the family which is sure to be the focus of the poet’s pen is the daughter. The young female presence in the home can create quite a stir and in a multitude of ways. From the moment she arrives on the scene, there are certain things which always seem to happen. Her room receives an appropriate paint scheme, the curtains are frilly and bright, and the toys that appear over the days of her growth from infant to toddler to young child speak of her anticipated role in society. She is cared for and protected in ways similar to boys, but with some very special differences. There is no doubt that she is a girl and that she should be treated as such. Daughters have been the inspiration to the writings of poets over the years, creating feelings of awe, pride, love and protection, yet stirring other feelings such as anger, loss, disappointment, and anxiety. For this reason, poems written about daughters are found on topics such as adorations regarding a child’s angel-like being as well as sad laments regarding daughters who have become indignant or indifferent.

Writing of the amazing love that a mother has for her daughter, Otomo no Sakanoue Iratsume, a Japanese poet from the eighth century, expressed her feelings in this untitled poem:

by Otomo no Sakanoue Iratsume

The same author went on to express the feelings of sadness during a time when she was separated from her daughter.

by Otomo no Sakanoue Iratsume

William Shakespeare often used the relationship among parents and their daughters — especially the with the fathers — as a significant theme in his writings. For instance, in King Lear, the very powerful father, who also suffered from a high degree of vanity, mistook the flattery presented by his oldest daughter for love, while assuming the honesty of his youngest daughter was betrayal. He rewards his eldest with a gift of highly prized land, while sending the youngest off, banished from their home. He later recognizes his mistake.

King Lear(an excerpt)
by William Shakespeare

Another poet who expressed an interest in the parent-daughter relationship was Sylvia Plath. Often remembered for her poem Daddy, she also penned several poems regarding her personal experiences of being a mother, as evidenced in the poems Balloons and Morning Song. In Balloons, she seems to capture the cheer and lightness of her daughter, using the imagery of balloons in the air throughout the house.

by Sylvia Plath

There is such a wide variety of poems written about daughters and their relationships with their parents that it is difficult to select only a few. It is no wonder that both the joy and sadness which a daughter can cause for her parents would be the subject of so many poems. From birth, through childhood, and on into adulthood, daughters bring such a range of emotions, that it seems appropriate to describe those feelings through heartfelt and expressive lines of poetry.

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