"poem for my dad and Sylvia Plath" by Eva Valenti
I'm crying for the girls who had to rise
Like buds unwatered from the crusty earth
Without you there to wipe their weeping eyes
And help them understand what they were worth.
I never felt such pangs of disregard
Cause I had words, and you, to keep me whole
So even though that ground was awful hard,
Your black shoe sheltered me with solid sole.
Daddy, you have tread a thousand paths
In boots that echoed solemn, black and worn
And ringing clear with sighs and rhymes and maths
And in them were a thousand times reborn:
You flopped and worked and then one day you flew,
(Just like your father flopped onto these shores)
So I, when flailing, turn my mind to you
And grin (as grin i must) and flop some more.
I'm crying for a poet whose bleak rage
Left her a puddle on bleak kitchen tiles
Whose life and death were puppets on a stage,
Who didn't find her own genius worthwhile,
Because you weren't there to make her see.
[Yes, she's that poet I could well have been
All tear-filled eyes, all dark and feminine:]
It's hard to be a girl, as you well know.
But, Dad, it ain't been all that bad for me:
This bud just needed words, and you, to grow.