A Love Poem for Daddy?
You've Got to Be Kidding!

ou certainly have a weird sense of humor there at RALPH.

I was looking for a poem to give to my Dad on Father's Day. My search came up with what was billed as "A Father's Day Love Poem."

And what do I get? Nazis. "Ghastly Statue." "A bag full of God." And,

    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.

Who are you trying to kid? And what is going on there? You got problems with fathers?

Father's Day was set up in 1935 to honor the hard-working father, one who supported his family, gave love and comfort to the kids, and deserved our honors.

And what do you give us: "Panzer-man, panzer-man, o You!"

You guys sick or something?

--- Seth556@aol.com

§     §     §

Text of the poem (as posted) follows:


<ou 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 grey 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 gypsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Tarot pack and my Tarot pack
I may be a bit of a Jew.

I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat moustache
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.

--- Sylvia Plath
© 1963, Ted Hughes

Department of Critiques
Of Unidentified Book Reviews
Concerning Unnamed Books

yeah- um

it's pretty obvious that you didn't finish the book, I'm nearly done and your description is clearly off, misleading, for lack of a better word patheticlly stupid.

the book is great, really great, a fantastic use of prose, interesting character and real emotion. the book is grounded in so many interesting and worthwhile ideas.

do you have any sense of what you've written.

you look like a fool

--- jeanne feuerstein
Janet Shalwitz

Send us e-mail


Go Up     Go Home

Go to the most recent RALPH