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
Of seaweed snarled these miniatures of hands;
The night’s slow poison, tolerant and bland,
Has moved her blood. Parched years that I have seen   
That may be hers appear: foul, lingering   
Death in certain war, the slim legs green.   
Or, fed on hate, she relishes the sting   
Of others’ agony; perhaps the cruel   
Bride of a syphilitic or a fool.   
These speculations sour in the sun.   
I have no daughter. I desire none.

  • Weldon Kees, "For My Daughter” from The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees edited by Donald Justice by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. Copyright 1962, 1975, by the University of Nebraska Press. © renewed 2003 by the University of Nebraska Press.

  • Source: The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees (2003)

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"I learned that no matter how many times I do it, I will still be nervous when I speak in public. I also learned that it is possible to experience the same poem many times in a row and still feel like I am discovering something new about myself through the words of the writer."
Madeleine Schroeder
2017 OH POL Champion