by Sylvia Plath

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, 
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo. 

Daddy, I have had to kill you. 
You died before I had time—- 
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God, 
Ghastly statue with one gray toe 
Big as a Frisco seal 

And a head in the freakish Atlantic 
Where it pours bean green over blue 
In the waters off the beautiful Nauset. 
I used to pray to recover you. 
Ach, du. 

In the German tongue, in the Polish town 
Scraped flat by the roller 
Of wars, wars, wars. 
But the name of the town is common. 
My Polack friend 

Says there are a dozen or two. 
So I never could tell where you 
Put your foot, your root, 
I never could talk to you. 
The tongue stuck in my jaw. 

It stuck in a barb wire snare. 
Ich, ich, ich, ich, 
I could hardly speak. 
I thought every German was you. 
And the language obscene 

An engine, an engine, 
Chuffing me off like a Jew. 
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen. 
I began to talk like a Jew. 
I think I may well be a Jew. 

The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna 
Are not very pure or true. 
With my gypsy ancestress and my weird luck 
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack 
I may be a bit of a Jew. 

I have always been scared of you, 
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo. 
And your neat mustache 
And your Aryan eye, bright blue. 
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You—— 

Not God but a swastika 
So black no sky could squeak through. 
Every woman adores a Fascist, 
The boot in the face, the brute 
Brute heart of a brute like you. 

You stand at the blackboard, daddy, 
In the picture I have of you, 
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot 
But no less a devil for that, no not 
Any less the black man who 

Bit my pretty red heart in two. 
I was ten when they buried you. 
At twenty I tried to die 
And get back, back, back to you. 
I thought even the bones would do. 

But they pulled me out of the sack, 
And they stuck me together with glue. 
And then I knew what to do. 
I made a model of you, 
A man in black with a Meinkampf look 

And a love of the rack and the screw. 
And I said I do, I do. 
So daddy, I’m finally through. 
The black telephone’s off at the root, 
The voices just can’t worm through. 

If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two—- 
The vampire who said he was you 
And drank my blood for a year, 
Seven years, if you want to know. 
Daddy, you can lie back now. 

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.