Selected Poems

8 Loving Poems About Dad For Father’s Day

Last Updated: January 15, 2023
father's day poems

Father’s Day is quickly approaching, and what better way to celebrate than with some of the best poems about dad out there? Whether you’re a father yourself or just looking for a little inspiration, these poems will give you a taste of what’s possible. From celebrating the good moments to coping with the tough ones, these poems will touch on every aspect of being a father. So whether you’re looking to express your feelings or just feel a little better, these poems are sure to hit the spot. Happy Father’s Day!

1. Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

Those Winter Sundays is a reflection on the speaker’s relationship with his father and the speaker’s past lack of appreciation for the sacrifices and hard work of his father. The imagery of fire and warmth is used to symbolize the father’s efforts to provide for and protect his family, even though he is not acknowledged or appreciated. The poem also illustrates the imagery of “polished shoes” to show how the father’s love and care for his child are expressed through small acts of kindness. In the final line, Robert Hayden expresses sorrow and longing for a deeper understanding and appreciation of the love and sacrifices of the father.

In general, the poem is a powerful and evocative poem that explores the complexities of family relationships, particularly the relationship between a father and a son. It is a powerful meditation on the nature of love and the complexities of family relationships. In this video, Robert Hayden brings his iconic poem Those Winter Sundays to life with his own reading, offering a unique and intimate insight into the emotions and themes of the work.

2. My Father in English by Richard Blanco

First half of his life lived in Spanish: the long syntax
of las montañas that lined his village, the rhyme
of sol with his soul—a Cuban alma—that swayed
with las palmas, the sharp rhythm of his machete
cutting through caña, the syllables of his canarios

My Father in English describes the speaker’s reflection on the life of his father, who lived half of his life in Spanish and half in English. The poem uses rich imagery to convey the father’s connection to his island home and his culture, as well as the difficulty of leaving it behind and starting a new life in a foreign country. Richard Blanco uses the repetition of “indeed” to highlight the father’s attempts to understand and use a new language, despite the difficulties he faced.

The poem explores the themes of exile, sacrifice, and love and also touches on the subject of language and communication, as the father struggles to master the English language and connect with his family in a new country. In the end, it manifests the speaker’s gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices his father made, and his own sense of identity that emerges from his father’s experiences.

3. my father moved through dooms of love by E. E. Cummings

and nothing quite so least as truth
—i say though hate were why men breathe—
because my Father lived his soul
love is the whole and more than all

my father moved through dooms of love utilizes rich and evocative imagery and language to describe the speaker’s father. The poem describes the father as a dynamic and powerful force, and has a sense of contrast, as it depicts the father’s power and beauty in contrast to the darkness and cruelty of the world. The father is characterized as a singer, a creator of beauty and joy, and as a figure who brings peace and calm.

E.E. Cummings also refers to love, family, and identity, as the father’s presence and influence shape the speaker’s own sense of self. The poem also touches upon the concept of freedom and conformity, where the father is described as someone who goes beyond the boundaries of society and the expectations of others and instead lives his life fully and authentically. The final lines of the poem express the speaker’s deep love and admiration for his father, and the belief that love is the most important thing in life.

4. Only a Dad by Edgar Albert Guest

Only a dad, but he gives his all
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing, with courage stern and grim,
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen,
Only a dad, but the best of men.

Only a Dad describes a father and his role in the family. Edgar Albert Guest uses simple and straightforward language to convey the image of a father who is hardworking, dedicated, and selfless. The poem also highlights the father’s humility, as he does not bring home gold or fame, but is content with the love and joy of his family. The concept of sacrifice is emphasized, as the father bears the hardships of life for the sake of his family.

The poem also mentions the father’s courage and determination, as he works to provide for and protect his children, just as his own father did for him. Throughout his lifetime, the father’s actions are driven by love for his family. The final lines of the poem show admiration and respect for the father, recognizing him as one of the best men.

5. The Gift by Li-Young Lee

Death visited here!
I did what a child does
when he’s given something to keep.
I kissed my father.

The Gift reflects on the speaker’s childhood memories of their father and the way he took care of them when they were injured. It depicts how the father removed a metal splinter from the speaker’s hand by reciting a story in a low voice. The speaker is unable to remember the story but can recall the father’s voice, his hands, and the tenderness he showed to the speaker. The poem also describes the speaker’s present life as a father himself, where he takes care of his own wife by removing a splinter from her hand.

The poem discusses about love and connection, as the speaker’s actions are driven by love for his family, just as his fathers were. Li-Young Lee also addresses the topic of memory and how past experiences shape the present. In the end, the author expresses gratitude and appreciation for the father’s love and care, and how his actions are shaped by his father’s teachings.

6. Daddy by Sylvia Plath

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.

Daddy by Sylvia Plath is a powerful and emotional poem that explores the speaker’s complex relationship with her father. The father is described as a powerful, oppressive figure who controlled the speaker’s life for many years, represented by the “black shoe” and “bag full of God.” The poem also addresses that the speaker’s past experiences with her father continue to affect her in the present. The author expresses her sense of liberation and freedom in the end, as she finally breaks away from her father’s influence and takes control of her own life.

Overall, Daddy is a powerful and emotional poem that explores the speaker’s complex and painful relationship with her father. The poem contains vivid imagery, metaphor, and allusion to convey the speaker’s feelings of ambivalence, betrayal, and grief, and touches on themes of identity, memory, trauma, and death. Below is a video of Sylvia Plath reading her iconic and powerful poem Daddy, delving into oppression and the relationship with her father

7. Nettles by Vernon Scannell

Stood upright any more. And then I lit
A funeral pyre to burn the fallen dead,
But in two weeks the busy sun and rain
Had called up tall recruits behind the shed:
My son would often feel sharp wounds again.

The speaker in Nettles is a father who witnesses his son, aged three, fall into a bed of nettles and suffer from painful stings. The nettles are utilized as a metaphor for pain and suffering, which the father is powerless to prevent or alleviate. The father’s attempts to soothe his son’s pain are temporary, as the nettles will always grow again, just as pain and suffering will always return in one form or another. Vernon Scannel chooses the words “called up” to describe the new nettles growing behind the shed suggesting that pain is inevitable and that it is something that will always be present in one’s life.

Overall, Nettles is a poignant and emotive poem that explores fatherhood issues and the relationship between a father and his child, and the pain and suffering that is an inherent part of life. The imagery of the nettles as a metaphor for pain and suffering highlights the father’s ability to protect his child from the harsh realities of life.

8. All My Pretty Ones by Anne Sexton

Only in this hoarded span will love persevere.   
Whether you are pretty or not, I outlive you,
bend down my strange face to yours and forgive you.

All My Pretty Ones by Anne Sexton reflects on the speaker’s relationship with her father, who has recently passed away. The poem is filled with imagery that conflicts with the speaker’s memories of her father, as well as the possessions he left behind. The speaker contemplates the various possessions her father left behind, such as the gold key, woolen mill, and English Ford, which are all symbolic of his success and wealth. However, the speaker also reflects on the darker parts of her father’s life, such as his alcoholism and the fact that he left behind a diary detailing his struggles with alcohol.

Despite these darker aspects of her father’s life, the speaker ultimately forgives him and finds solace in the memories and possessions he left behind. The poem explores topics of grief, forgiveness, and the complexity of family relationships.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, these 8 loving poems about dads showcase the unique and special bond between a father and child. Through the use of vivid imagery and heartfelt words, these poems tell the stories of the love, sacrifice, and guidance that dads provide for their children. From the hardworking father who toils endlessly for his family, to the dad who teaches his son to face his pain, these poems celebrate the role of the dad as a superhero in the lives of their children. These stories remind us that a father’s love is truly one of the greatest gifts we can receive.

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