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To A Sad Daughter

Written by: Michael Ondaatje | Biography
 | Quotes (2) |
 All night long the hockey pictures
gaze down at you
sleeping in your tracksuit.
Belligerent goalies are your ideal.
Threats of being traded cuts and wounds --all this pleases you.
O my god! you say at breakfast reading the sports page over the Alpen as another player breaks his ankle or assaults the coach.
When I thought of daughters I wasn't expecting this but I like this more.
I like all your faults even your purple moods when you retreat from everyone to sit in bed under a quilt.
And when I say 'like' I mean of course 'love' but that embarrasses you.
You who feel superior to black and white movies (coaxed for hours to see Casablanca) though you were moved by Creature from the Black Lagoon.
One day I'll come swimming beside your ship or someone will and if you hear the siren listen to it.
For if you close your ears only nothing happens.
You will never change.
I don't care if you risk your life to angry goalies creatures with webbed feet.
You can enter their caves and castles their glass laboratories.
Just don't be fooled by anyone but yourself.
This is the first lecture I've given you.
You're 'sweet sixteen' you said.
I'd rather be your closest friend than your father.
I'm not good at advice you know that, but ride the ceremonies until they grow dark.
Sometimes you are so busy discovering your friends I ache with loss --but that is greed.
And sometimes I've gone into my purple world and lost you.
One afternoon I stepped into your room.
You were sitting at the desk where I now write this.
Forsythia outside the window and sun spilled over you like a thick yellow miracle as if another planet was coaxing you out of the house --all those possible worlds!-- and you, meanwhile, busy with mathematics.
I cannot look at forsythia now without loss, or joy for you.
You step delicately into the wild world and your real prize will be the frantic search.
Want everything.
If you break break going out not in.
How you live your life I don't care but I'll sell my arms for you, hold your secrets forever.
If I speak of death which you fear now, greatly, it is without answers.
except that each one we know is in our blood.
Don't recall graves.
Memory is permanent.
Remember the afternoon's yellow suburban annunciation.
Your goalie in his frightening mask dreams perhaps of gentleness.



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