Fathers and Daughters Poems

Poems about fathers and daughters capture these two individuals’ special bond and dynamic. They explore fathers’ unique tenderness, protectiveness, and influence on their daughters’ lives.

The relationship between fathers and daughters becomes a tapestry of love, support, and guidance in these poetic compositions. These poems celebrate the unwavering support, encouragement, and belief in the potential of their daughters that fathers provide.

These verses delve into the shared moments of joy, laughter, and shared dreams between fathers and daughters. Father poems convey the warmth and security of a father’s embrace and the wisdom imparted through gentle guidance.

The Machinist, Teaching His Daughter to Play the Piano

by B.H. Fairchild

‘The Machinist, Teaching His Daughter to Play the Piano’ by B.H. Fairchild is a free verse poem about how the creative process can connect a father and daughter.

The relationship between the father and daughter in ‘The Machinist, Teaching His Daughter to Play the Piano’ is incredibly complicated, even so, that only sound, gestures, and music can display the difficulties they face. The father, dedicated to providing for his daughter, has silent and secret regrets about his life but continues working so his daughter can be free from manual labor.

The brown wrist and hand with its raw knuckles and blue nails

          packed with dirt and oil, pause in mid-air,

the fingers arched delicately,


by Sylvia Plath

‘Daddy’ by Sylvia Plath uses emotional, and sometimes, painful metaphors to depict the poet’s own opinion of her father.

The poem explores the complicated and troubled relationship between the speaker and her father. The speaker describes her father as a powerful and oppressive figure who she both loves and hates.

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,

The First Snowfall

by James Russell Lowell

‘The First Snowfall’ by James Russell Lowe is a deeply sad poem about the death of a child and what it’s like to consider that loss as time passes. 

The speaker of this poem is a father who, at one point, had two daughters. Sadly, the poem reveals one of his children died fairly recently, and he and his surviving daughter, Mabel, are still trying to recover from the loss.

The snow had begun in the gloaming,

And busily all the night

Had been heaping field and highway

With a silence deep and white.

The Wreck of the Hesperus

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

‘The Wreck of the Hesperus’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is a narrative poem about a shipwreck and the dangers of pride in an emergency.

In this poem, the skipper brings his lovely daughter along on his voyage to keep him company. However, when caught in a storm, the skipper is more invested in saving her than himself. Still, ultimately, he fails to keep her alive, and she departs with the ship and the rest of the crew.

It was the schooner Hesperus,

That sailed the wintry sea;

And the skipper had taken his little daughtèr,

To bear him company.

Tomorrow, At Dawn

by Victor Hugo

‘Tomorrow, At Dawn’ by Victor Hugo follows the speaker as they journey to the grave of a loved one, capturing all the ways in which grief has become their sole fixation.

Hugo wrote this poem on the fourth anniversary of the death of his daughter. The unexpected tragedy was a terrible blow to the writer, and as is clear in this poem written four years after her death, he still struggles with the topic. It's a deeply moving indicator of a father's love and grief for their daughter.

Tomorrow, at dawn, at the hour when the countryside whitens,

I will set out. You see, I know that you wait for me.

I will go by the forest, I will go by the mountain.

I can no longer remain far from you.

A Prayer for my Daughter

by William Butler Yeats

 ‘A Prayer for my Daughter’ by William Butler Yeats speaks about the poet’s family. It demonstrates his concern and anxiety over the future wellbeing and prospects of his daughter, Anne.

The unique bond between fathers and daughters is explored with tenderness and insight. Yeats articulates both the universal aspects of this relationship and his personal hopes for his daughter, creating an intimate portrait of fatherly love.

I have walked and prayed for this young child an hour

And heard the sea-wind scream upon the tower,

And under the arches of the bridge, and scream

In the elms above the flooded stream;


by Sir Walter Scott

‘Lochinvar’ is a ballad about a young and courageous knight who saves his beloved, the fair lady Ellen, from marrying another man.

While Walter Scott never explores the relationship between Ellen and her father, it seems that the father views Ellen as a piece of property and as a tool for forming alliances. Ellen's father never says a word to her, driving home the idea that they don't have a positive relationship.

O young Lochinvar is come out of the west,

Through all the wide Border his steed was the best;

And save his good broadsword he weapons had none,

He rode all unarm’d, and he rode all alone`


by T.S. Eliot

‘Marina’ presents the joy of the spiritual awakening of a lost individual, offering hope to the readers living in a desolate modern world.

Fathers and Daughters: The poem is foregrounded on the father's narration of his lost daughter and her rediscovery. The rediscovery of the lost daughter is the poem's central symbol presenting the sublimity and joyfulness of religious awakening.

What seas what shores what grey rocks and what islands

What water lapping the bow

And scent of pine and the woodthrush singing through the fog

What images return


by Maxine Kumin

Amid opulent bills and undersea dreams, Kumin’s ‘Spree’ unveils family conflicts and materialistic illusions with evocative language.

This poem navigates the father-daughter relationship through power dynamics and influence. The father's dominance and financial control shape the daughter's perception of authority. The poem's exploration of his indulgence, her yearnings, and the consequences of materialism encapsulate the intricate bond between fathers and daughters, emphasizing how paternal actions impact identity and desires.

My father paces the upstairs hall

a large confined animal

neither wild nor yet domesticated.

About him hangs the smell of righteous wrath.


A Picture of Otto

by Ted Hughes

‘A Picture of Otto’ by Ted Hughes is addressed to Sylvia Plath’s father, Otto. It contains Hughes’ disagreements about how he and Otto were depicted in Plath’s work.

Explore more poems about Fathers and Daughters

Amateur Fighter

by Natasha Trethewey

‘Amateur Fighter’ is a poem about a speaker thinking of her father, a boxer. His painful journey inside and outside the ring is portrayed through this piece.


by Jackie Kay

‘Divorce’ by Jackie Kay is about parent-child relationships and how children are impacted by adults’ issues. The speaker is a teenager who is struggling to contend with her parent’s relationship with one another. 

For My Daughter

by Weldon Kees

‘For My Daughter’ by Weldon Kees is an interesting poem about a speaker’s thoughts about having a daughter and considering her death. 

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

Full Moon and Little Frieda

by Ted Hughes

In ‘Full Moon and Little Frieda,’ Ted Hughes describes his daughter’s observations of the world around her, reflecting on nature and family.

A cool small evening shrunk to a dog bark and the clank of a bucket -

And you listening.

A spider's web, tense for the dew's touch.

Missing My Daughter

by Stephen Spender

‘Missing My Daughter’ by Stephen Spender is a poem about a speaker’s desire to see his daughter and how he feel trapped in a prison of loneliness. 

This wall-paper has lines that rise

Upright like bars, and overhead,

The ceiling's patterned with red roses.

On the wall opposite the bed

Poem at Thirty-Nine

by Alice Walker

‘Poem at Thirty-Nine’ by Alice Walker describes the speaker’s father’s life. She admits how much she misses him and how she wishes he hadn’t had such a hard life.

How i miss my father.

I wish he had not been

so tired

when i was


Sine Qua Non

by A. E. Stallings

‘Sine Qua Non’ by A.E. Stallings is a thoughtful depiction of what “absence” and “nothing” feel like. The poem is specifically concerned with one speaker’s father. 

The Moss of His Skin

by Anne Sexton

‘The Moss of His Skin’ by Anne Sexton is an unforgettable poem about a young girl who is buried next to her father.

The Myth of Music

by Rachel M. Harper

‘The Myth of Music’ by Rachel M. Harper describes the mythical power of music and its ability convey one’s generational and familial relationships. 

The Writer

by Richard Wilbur

‘The Writer’ by Richard Wilbur depicts a father watching his daughter create her first piece of writing. The poet uses clever and creative examples of figurative language in order to depict the struggle new and experienced writers go through. 

To My Father, Who Died

by Dawn Garisch

Dawn Garisch’s poem ‘To My Father, Who Died’ is about the relationship of the poet’s father with the sea. It depicts the cycle of life and death through the metaphor of the sea.

Traveling Light

by Alice Fulton

‘Traveling Light’ by Alice Fulton is a powerful poem that weaves together images of the present and the past. Throughout, readers can explore Fulton’s understanding of her relationship with her father and her current relationship with the landscape around her.

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