Weldon Kees

(1914 - 1955 / Nebraska / United States)

For My Daughter - Poem by Weldon Kees

Looking into my daughter’s eyes I read
Beneath the innocence of morning flesh
Concealed, hintings of death she does not heed.
Coldest of winds have blown this hair, and mesh
Of seaweed snarled these miniatures of hands;
The night’s slow poison, tolerant and bland,
Has moved her blood. Parched years that I have seen
That may be hers appear: foul, lingering
Death in certain war, the slim legs green.
Or, fed on hate, she relishes the sting
Of others’ agony; perhaps the cruel
Bride of a syphilitic or a fool.
These speculations sour in the sun.
I have no daughter. I desire none.

Comments about For My Daughter by Weldon Kees

  • Lantz Pierre (4/10/2017 12:15:00 AM)

    The true terrifying breakthrough of this poem is that last line. It starts with a statement of looking into his daughter eyes and ends with a statement that no such daughter exists. In between is a litany of the horrors, the worst things that a father could foresee for loved and innocent child. In the end there is no daughter either because he has convinced himself of the immorality of bringing a life into a world where such suffering would lay in wait for the unexpecting girl, or his daughter is a corpse and her immoral choices in life have caused him to disavow her. Either way, the difficulty of understanding the final line is the same difficulty proposed by trying to reconcile the evils and immoralities in the body of the poem projected by a father upon his daughter. It is just unthinkable. Brilliantly executed. (Report)Reply

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  • Bri Edwards (4/9/2017 10:20:00 PM)

    Cryptic! ? .................... (Report)Reply

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  • (4/9/2017 8:20:00 AM)

    The night's slow poison, tolerant and brand. Thanks for sharing it here. (Report)Reply

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  • (4/9/2017 5:05:00 AM)

    an interesting poem of disownment? ........well penned. (Report)Reply

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  • Rajnish Manga (4/9/2017 1:52:00 AM)

    The poem creates a very poignant atmosphere. But, the line of the poem is not easy to comprehend- 'I have no daughter. I desire none'. Daughters are treated like stars or divine gifts in most of the families. Thanks for sharing. (Report)Reply

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  • Edward Kofi Louis (4/9/2017 1:05:00 AM)

    Hinting of death she does not heed! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report)Reply

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  • Bernard F. Asuncion (4/9/2017 12:51:00 AM)

    Coldest of winds...... thanks for posting.... (Report)Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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