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Portrait of the Artist as a Lone Tree

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The love of a daughter

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I sit upon the sofa and I smile
to see your well-learned haughtiness and rage,
forgiven for the reason of your age;
at two years old, you imitate the style
you’ve seen. And though I couldn’t see myself,
the long look back reveals from whence it came -
your mother used to play that awful game,
while I could only see the sweetest elf.
Yet anyway, you posture and you shout,
you stamp your little feet and make demands,
just copying what’s taught by other hands,
but in my heart I find no hint of doubt.
“I love you, daughter,” so I smiled that day;
the look you answered back still lives today.

And yet, just one year later we’re alone -
I stagger through my days, and have no hope.
Without you, I can scarcely try to cope -
and nothing I can do can melt the stone
that once was warmth and life and love to me.
No certainty had ever been so sure
that love throughout our marriage would endure -
and yet, it proved that this was not to be.
The last thing that I wanted was to yell
at daughter dear, who loved me so much more
than words could ever hope to show was sure;
to snap my troubles at you felt like hell.
“I love you, daddy,” so you smiled that day;
and all the pain and fear just went away.

Now I am weary, weary, worn and wild -
for years have fallen whilst the seasons turn.
But through the things you do, you mould a child -
and these are lessons men and girls can learn.

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