Personal Response: “To a Sad Daughter” – Michael Ondaatie
Strangely, the poem, “To a Sad Daughter” by Michael Ondaatie, caused me to reflect and realize numerous factors of the relationship I share with my own father. This poem discusses a father and daughter’s relationship in the father’s perspective. By reading this poem, I feel as if I heard my father’s thoughts. The father and daughter in this poem experience a large emotional gap similar to the one my father and I share. I have never understood my father very well I feel that he has never understood me well. Reading this poem though, I was able to understand my father’s side more part of my personal response was guilt.
I realized that I have never thought much about my father in comparison to my other family members who live with me; in a sense, I have neglected my father. It stunned me because similar to my father, the father in this poem strongly feels towards his daughter and realizes that she is embarrassed by her father’s confession of fatherly love towards her. I am culpable of feeling embarrassed by my father’s proclamations words of love. It never occurred to me that my father could feel so much hurt inside of him even through our distance.
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This father feels much pain and I am certain that my father has felt the same type of ache standing by watching me go through my adolescent problems and knowing that he can not intervene. The line that had the greatest impact on me was, “sometimes you are so busy discovering your friends I ache with loss – but that is greed. ” (44-47) The line struck me because I know my father feels this way, however, I never acknowledged his feelings in this area. My father is far from us and I could say that he believes that we do pay more attention to our friends with us than him.
It reminds me of when we return to Hong Kong for vacation. Often, my brothers and I go out with my friends during Hong Kong. This is because we are on vacation, but my father feels overlooked by us and in a sense cheated since we seldomly see him yet we go out with our friends when we have the chance to spend time with him. This poem allows me have a deeper understanding towards the relationship that exists between my father and I. I allows me to reflect more upon what he complains about and understand where he is coming form.