I was tempted to write "404: Poem Not Found", but I restrained myself...
(Poem #404) Daddy
You 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 mustache 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.
Reams have been written about Sylvia Plath and her relationship with Ted Hughes; here's the final paragraph of an interesting essay I found on the web: "By analyzing "Daddy" in terms of the vampire metaphor we see how the poem attacks the speaker's husband on a symbolic level while condemning her father on a literal level. Although Heather Cam points out that "Otto Plath and Ted Hughes . . . are no more a Nazi Daddy nor `a man in black with a Meinkampf look' than Plath is a gipsy Tarot mistress who feels herself to be Jewish" (431), the vampire metaphor corresponds exactly with the poet's situation at the time she wrote the poem. While she had once loved her husband, she was suddenly forced to realize that he was capable of treating her horribly. In writing "Daddy" she seems to have realized the degree to which her feelings of abandonment following her father's death, which was out of Otto Plath's control, set up the devastation she felt following Hughes' departure, which was his conscious action. It is only natural that she would find an image which would link the two men but condemn only Hughes for his abandonment of his family. Seeing Hughes as a monster, Plath wrote "Daddy" in an attempt to overcome her feelings for him while exorcizing the memory of her father's equally painful though unintentional abandonment. Despite the mixing of father and husband in the antagonist of "Daddy" it is obvious which man Sylvia Plath is addressing with the poem's last line, written during the breakup of her marriage and three months before her suicide: "Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through" (80). " -- from http://members.aol.com/raisans/plath.htm Reading Plath's poetry is always a gut-wrenching experience , but it's rewarding, too, in its own way. 'Graphically macabre, hallucinatory in their imagery, but full of ironic wit, technical brilliance, and tremendous emotional power', 'poetry of this order is a murderous art'. Today's offering is all the above and more. As a poem it's astonishingly vivid and powerful: the single, insistent rhyme, the almost hysterical repetitions of phrase, the multiple layers of meaning and metaphor, and above all, the passion driving each and every word - all of these combine to make it an emotional tour-de-force. thomas.  which is possibly why she hasn't featured on this list as extensively as some 'lighter'  poets.  word used in both senses.  The Academy of American Poets, www.poets.org  I don't remember who said this, but it was somebody famous. [Links] There's a Plath bio accompanying 'Winter Landscape, with Rocks', at poem #53 For sheer power, there are few poems that can compare with 'Ariel' (which, despite my normal indifference to Plath, is one of my favourite poems ever), at poem #129 (though one of our readers wrote in to say that it 'blurred the line between poetry and madness' - which may be true, but which doesn't detract from the experience in any way) A milder poem than either of the above is 'Child', at poem #366