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Best Famous Daughter Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Daughter poems. This is a select list of the best famous Daughter poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Daughter poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of daughter poems.

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Written by Christina Rossetti |

A Daughter of Eve

A fool I was to sleep at noon,
  And wake when night is chilly
Beneath the comfortless cold moon;
A fool to pluck my rose too soon,
  A fool to snap my lily.
My garden-plot I have not kept; Faded and all-forsaken, I weep as I have never wept: Oh it was summer when I slept, It's winter now I waken.
Talk what you please of future spring And sun-warm'd sweet to-morrow:— Stripp'd bare of hope and everything, No more to laugh, no more to sing, I sit alone with sorrow.

Written by Randall Jarrell |

Next Day

 Moving from Cheer to Joy, from Joy to All,
I take a box
And add it to my wild rice, my Cornish game hens.
The slacked or shorted, basketed, identical Food-gathering flocks Are selves I overlook.
Wisdom, said William James, Is learning what to overlook.
And I am wise If that is wisdom.
Yet somehow, as I buy All from these shelves And the boy takes it to my station wagon, What I've become Troubles me even if I shut my eyes.
When I was young and miserable and pretty And poor, I'd wish What all girls wish: to have a husband, A house and children.
Now that I'm old, my wish Is womanish: That the boy putting groceries in my car See me.
It bewilders me he doesn't see me.
For so many years I was good enough to eat: the world looked at me And its mouth watered.
How often they have undressed me, The eyes of strangers! And, holding their flesh within my flesh, their vile Imaginings within my imagining, I too have taken The chance of life.
Now the boy pats my dog And we start home.
Now I am good.
The last mistaken, Ecstatic, accidental bliss, the blind Happiness that, bursting, leaves upon the palm Some soap and water-- It was so long ago, back in some Gay Twenties, Nineties, I don't know .
Today I miss My lovely daughter Away at school, my sons away at school, My husband away at work--I wish for them.
The dog, the maid, And I go through the sure unvarying days At home in them.
As I look at my life, I am afraid Only that it will change, as I am changing: I am afraid, this morning, of my face.
It looks at me From the rear-view mirror, with the eyes I hate, The smile I hate.
Its plain, lined look Of gray discovery Repeats to me: "You're old.
" That's all, I'm old.
And yet I'm afraid, as I was at the funeral I went to yesterday.
My friend's cold made-up face, granite among its flowers, Her undressed, operated-on, dressed body Were my face and body.
As I think of her and I hear her telling me How young I seem; I am exceptional; I think of all I have.
But really no one is exceptional, No one has anything, I'm anybody, I stand beside my grave Confused with my life, that is commonplace and solitary.

Written by Edgar Allan Poe |

Sonnet -- To Science

Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet's heart Vulture whose wings are dull realities? How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing? Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car? And driven the Hamadryad from the wood To seek a shelter in some happier star? Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood The Elfin from the green grass and from me The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?

More great poems below...

Written by Homer |

THE ILIAD (excerpt)

  Achilles' wrath, to Greece the direful spring
  Of woes unnumber'd, heavenly goddess, sing!
  That wrath which hurl'd to Pluto's gloomy reign
  The souls of mighty chiefs untimely slain;
  Whose limbs unburied on the naked shore,
  Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore.
(41) Since great Achilles and Atrides strove, Such was the sovereign doom, and such the will of Jove!(42) Declare, O Muse! in what ill-fated hour(43) Sprung the fierce strife, from what offended power Latona's son a dire contagion spread,(44) And heap'd the camp with mountains of the dead; The king of men his reverent priest defied,(45) And for the king's offence the people died.
For Chryses sought with costly gifts to gain His captive daughter from the victor's chain.
Suppliant the venerable father stands; Apollo's awful ensigns grace his hands By these he begs; and lowly bending down, Extends the sceptre and the laurel crown He sued to all, but chief implored for grace The brother-kings, of Atreus' royal race(46) "Ye kings and warriors! may your vows be crown'd, And Troy's proud walls lie level with the ground.
May Jove restore you when your toils are o'er Safe to the pleasures of your native shore.
But, oh! relieve a wretched parent's pain, And give Chryseis to these arms again; If mercy fail, yet let my presents move, And dread avenging Phoebus, son of Jove.
" The Greeks in shouts their joint assent declare, The priest to reverence, and release the fair.
Not so Atrides; he, with kingly pride, Repulsed the sacred sire, and thus replied: "Hence on thy life, and fly these hostile plains, Nor ask, presumptuous, what the king detains Hence, with thy laurel crown, and golden rod, Nor trust too far those ensigns of thy god.
Mine is thy daughter, priest, and shall remain; And prayers, and tears, and bribes, shall plead in vain; Till time shall rifle every youthful grace, And age dismiss her from my cold embrace, In daily labours of the loom employ'd, Or doom'd to deck the bed she once enjoy'd Hence then; to Argos shall the maid retire, Far from her native soil and weeping sire.

Written by Anonymous |

Ode to Joy

Wild and fearful in his cavern
Hid the naked troglodyte,
And the homeless nomad wandered
Laying waste the fertile plain.
Menacing with spear and arrow In the woods the hunter strayed .
Woe to all poor wreteches stranded On those cruel and hostile shores! From the peak of high Olympus Came the mother Ceres down, Seeeking in those savage regions Her lost daughter Prosperine.
But the Goddess found no refuge, Found no kindly welcome there, And no temple bearing witness To the worship of the gods.
From the fields and from the vineyards Came no fruit to deck the feasts, Only flesh of blood-stained victims Smouldered on the alter-fires, And where'er the grieving goddess Turns her melancholy gaze, Sunk in vilest degradation Man his loathsomeness displays.
Would he purge his soul from vileness And attain to light and worth, He must turn and cling forever To his ancient Mother Earth.
Joy everlasting fostereth The soul of all creation, It is her secret ferment fires The cup of life with flame.
'Tis at her beck the grass hath turned Each blade toward the light and solar systems have evolved From chaos and dark night, Filling the realms of boundless space Beyond the sage's sight.
At bounteous nature's kindly breast, All things that breath drink Joy, And bird and beasts and creaping things All follow where she leads.
Her gifts to man are friends in need, The wreath, the foaming must, To angels -- visions of God's throne, To insects -- sensual lust.

Written by Robert William Service |


 (16th January 1949)

I thank whatever gods may be
For all the happiness that's mine;
That I am festive, fit and free
To savour women, wit and wine;
That I may game of golf enjoy,
And have a formidable drive:
In short, that I'm a gay old boy
Though I be
My daughter thinks.
because I'm old (I'm not a crock, when all is said), I mustn't let my feet get cold, And should wear woollen socks in bed; A worsted night-cap too, forsooth! To humour her I won't contrive: A man is in his second youth When he is Seventy-and-five.
At four-score years old age begins, And not till then, I warn my wife; At eighty I'll recant my sins, And live a staid and sober life.
But meantime let me whoop it up, And tell the world that I'm alive: Fill to the brim the bubbly cup - Here's health to Seventy-and-five!

Written by Margaret Atwood |


 My daughter plays on the floor
with plastic letters,
red, blue & hard yellow,
learning how to spell,
how to make spells.
* I wonder how many women denied themselves daughters, closed themselves in rooms, drew the curtains so they could mainline words.
* A child is not a poem, a poem is not a child.
There is no either / or.
* I return to the story of the woman caught in the war & in labour, her thighs tied together by the enemy so she could not give birth.
Ancestress: the burning witch, her mouth covered by leather to strangle words.
A word after a word after a word is power.
* At the point where language falls away from the hot bones, at the point where the rock breaks open and darkness flows out of it like blood, at the melting point of granite when the bones know they are hollow & the word splits & doubles & speaks the truth & the body itself becomes a mouth.
This is a metaphor.
* How do you learn to spell? Blood, sky & the sun, your own name first, your first naming, your first name, your first word.

Written by Michael Ondaatje |

To A Sad Daughter

 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.

Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson |

Ballad of a Ship

 Down by the flash of the restless water 
The dim White Ship like a white bird lay; 
Laughing at life and the world they sought her, 
And out she swung to the silvering bay.
Then off they flew on their roystering way, And the keen moon fired the light foam flying Up from the flood where the faint stars play, And the bones of the brave in the wave are lying.
'T was a king's fair son with a king's fair daughter, And full three hundred beside, they say, -- Revelling on for the lone, cold slaughter So soon to seize them and hide them for aye; But they danced and they drank and their souls grew gay, Nor ever they knew of a ghoul's eye spying Their splendor a flickering phantom to stray Where the bones of the brave in the wave are lying.
Through the mist of a drunken dream they brought her (This wild white bird) for the sea-fiend's prey: The pitiless reef in his hard clutch caught her, And hurled her down where the dead men stay.
A torturing silence of wan dismay -- Shrieks and curses of mad souls dying -- Then down they sank to slumber and sway Where the bones of the brave in the wave are lying.
ENVOY Prince, do you sleep to the sound alway Of the mournful surge and the sea-birds' crying? -- Or does love still shudder and steel still slay, Where the bones of the brave in the wave are lying?

Written by Ben Jonson |

On My First Daughter

On My First Daughter
by Ben Jonson

Here lies, to each her parents' ruth,
Mary, the daughter of their youth;
Yet all heaven's gifts being heaven's due,
It makes the father less to rue.

At six months' end, she parted hence
With safety of her innocence;
Whose soul heaven's queen, whose name she bears,
In comfort of her mother's tears,
Hath placed amongst her virgin-train:
Where, while that severed doth remain,
This grave partakes the fleshly birth;
Which cover lightly, gentle earth!

Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning |


ALL are not taken; there are left behind 
Living Belov¨¨ds tender looks to bring 
And make the daylight still a happy thing  
And tender voices to make soft the wind: 
But if it were not so¡ªif I could find 5 
No love in all this world for comforting  
Nor any path but hollowly did ring 
Where 'dust to dust' the love from life disjoin'd; 
And if before those sepulchres unmoving 
I stood alone (as some forsaken lamb 10 
Goes bleating up the moors in weary dearth) 
Crying 'Where are ye O my loved and loving?'¡ª 
I know a voice would sound 'Daughter I AM.
Can I suffice for Heaven and not for earth?'

Written by Jackie Kay |

The Mother Poem (two)

 I always wanted to give birth
Do that incredible natural thing
That women do-I nearly broke down
When I heard we couldn't
And then my man said to me
Well there's always adoption
(we didn't have test tubes and the rest
then) and well even in the early sixties there was something
Scandalous about adopting
Telling the world your secret failure
Bringing up an alien child
Who knew what it would turn out to be?

But I wanted a baby badly
Didn't need to come from my womb
Or his seed for me to love it
And I had sisters who looked just like me
Didn't need carbon copy features
Blueprints for generations
It was my baby a baby a baby I wanted

So I watched my child grow
Always the first to hear her in the night
All this umbilical knot business is
Nonsense-the men can afford deeper sleeps
That's all.
I listened to hear her talk And when she did I heard my voice under hers And now some of her mannerisms Crack me up All them stories could have really had me Believing unless you are breast fed You'll never be close and the rest My daughter's warmth spills over me Leaves a gap When she's gone I think of her mother.
She remembers how I read her All those newspaper and magazine Cuttings about adoption She says her head's an encyclopedia Of sob stories: the ones that were never Told and committed suicide on their wedding nights I always believed in the telling anyhow You can't keep something like that secret I wanted her to think of her other mother Out there thinking that child I had will be Eight today nine today all the way up to God knows when.
I told my daughter; I bet your mother's never missed your birthday How could she Now when people say ah but It's not like having your own child though is it I say of course it is what else is it She's my child I have brought her up Told her stories wept at losses Laughed at her pleasures she is mine.
Well maybe that is why I don't Like all this talk about her being black I brought her up as my own As I would any other child Colour matters to the nuttters But she says my daughter says It matters to her.
I suppose there would have been things I couldn't have understood with any child We knew she was coloured They told us they had no babies at first And I chanced to say it didn't matter What colour it was and then they Said oh well are you sure in that case We have a baby for you To think she wasn't even thought of as a baby! My baby my baby.

Written by Suheir Hammad |


 leaves and leaving call october home
her daughter releases wood
smoke from her skin
rich in scorpio
blood survived the first
flood each new year marks
a circle around her
thick bark middle
this the month summer and
winter fall into each
other and leave orange
yellow ashes
the vibrancy of death
carry it all
coiled in my belly
cut on the cusp 
of libra tail 
tips the scales
tonight it is raining in
the tradition of my parents
wanted a daughter not a writer
happy birthday poet
who loves you baby
the way your mama did
under her breast the way your
father did under his breath
leaves and leaving have known
my name intimately
i harvest pumpkins
to offer the river eat
buttered phoenix meat
to celebrate a new year
new cipher for my belly
i got a new name
secret nobody knows
the cold can't call me
leaving won't know 
where to find me 
october gonna hide me
in her harvest in
her seasons
happy birthday daughter
of the falling

Written by Roger McGough |

Let Me Die a Youngmans Death

 Let me die a youngman's death
not a clean and inbetween
the sheets holywater death
not a famous-last-words
peaceful out of breath death

When I'm 73
and in constant good tumour
may I be mown down at dawn
by a bright red sports car
on my way home
from an allnight party

Or when I'm 91
with silver hair
and sitting in a barber's chair
may rival gangsters
with hamfisted tommyguns burst in
and give me a short back and insides

Or when I'm 104
and banned from the Cavern
may my mistress
catching me in bed with her daughter
and fearing for her son
cut me up into little pieces
and throw away every piece but one

Let me die a youngman's death
not a free from sin tiptoe in
candle wax and waning death
not a curtains drawn by angels borne
'what a nice way to go' death

Written by James Weldon Johnson |

Go Down Death

 Weep not, weep not,
She is not dead;
She's resting in the bosom of Jesus.
Heart-broken husband--weep no more; Grief-stricken son--weep no more; Left-lonesome daughter --weep no more; She only just gone home.
Day before yesterday morning, God was looking down from his great, high heaven, Looking down on all his children, And his eye fell of Sister Caroline, Tossing on her bed of pain.
And God's big heart was touched with pity, With the everlasting pity.
And God sat back on his throne, And he commanded that tall, bright angel standing at his right hand: Call me Death! And that tall, bright angel cried in a voice That broke like a clap of thunder: Call Death!--Call Death! And the echo sounded down the streets of heaven Till it reached away back to that shadowy place, Where Death waits with his pale, white horses.
And Death heard the summons, And he leaped on his fastest horse, Pale as a sheet in the moonlight.
Up the golden street Death galloped, And the hooves of his horses struck fire from the gold, But they didn't make no sound.
Up Death rode to the Great White Throne, And waited for God's command.
And God said: Go down, Death, go down, Go down to Savannah, Georgia, Down in Yamacraw, And find Sister Caroline.
She's borne the burden and heat of the day, She's labored long in my vineyard, And she's tired-- She's weary-- Do down, Death, and bring her to me.
And Death didn't say a word, But he loosed the reins on his pale, white horse, And he clamped the spurs to his bloodless sides, And out and down he rode, Through heaven's pearly gates, Past suns and moons and stars; on Death rode, Leaving the lightning's flash behind; Straight down he came.
While we were watching round her bed, She turned her eyes and looked away, She saw what we couldn't see; She saw Old Death.
She saw Old Death Coming like a falling star.
But Death didn't frighten Sister Caroline; He looked to her like a welcome friend.
And she whispered to us: I'm going home, And she smiled and closed her eyes.
And Death took her up like a baby, And she lay in his icy arms, But she didn't feel no chill.
And death began to ride again-- Up beyond the evening star, Into the glittering light of glory, On to the Great White Throne.
And there he laid Sister Caroline On the loving breast of Jesus.
And Jesus took his own hand and wiped away her tears, And he smoothed the furrows from her face, And the angels sang a little song, And Jesus rocked her in his arms, And kept a-saying: Take your rest, Take your rest.
Weep not--weep not, She is not dead; She's resting in the bosom of Jesus.