In Memoriam

What’s missing is the eyeballs
in each of us, but it doesn’t matter
because you’ve got the bucks, the bucks, the bucks.
You let me touch them, fondle the green faces
lick at their numbers and it lets you be
my “Daddy!” “Daddy!” and though I fought all alone
with molesters and crooks, I knew your money
would save me, your courage, your “I’ve had
considerable experience as a soldier…
fighting to win millions for myself, it’s true.
But I did win,” and me praying for “our men out there”
just made it okay to be an orphan whose blood was no one’s,
whose curls were hung up on a wire machine and electrified,
while you built and unbuilt intrigues called nations,
and did in the bad ones, always, always,
and always came at my perils, the black Christs of childhood,
always came when my heart stood naked in the street
and they threw apples at it or twelve-day-old-dead-fish.

“Daddy!” “Daddy,” we all won that war,
when you sang me the money songs
Annie, Annie you sang
and I knew you drove a pure gold car
and put diamonds in you coke
for the crunchy sound, the adorable sound
and the moon too was in your portfolio,
as well as the ocean with its sleepy dead.
And I was always brave, wasn’t I?
I never bled?
I never saw a man expose himself.
No. No.
I never saw a drunkard in his blubber.
I never let lightning go in one car and out the other.
And all the men out there were never to come.
Never, like a deluge, to swim over my breasts
and lay their lamps in my insides.
No. No.
Just me and my “Daddy”
and his tempestuous bucks
rolling in them like corn flakes
and only the bad ones died.

But I died yesterday,
“Daddy,” I died,
swallowing the Nazi-Jap animal
and it won’t get out
it keeps knocking at my eyes,
my big orphan eyes,
kicking! Until eyeballs pop out
and even my dog puts up his four feet
and lets go
of his military secret
with his big red tongue
flying up and down
like yours should have

as we board our velvet train.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Anne Sexton's poem “Daddy” Warbucks


  1. Ophelia says:

    @ Melissa and porshua: This is is not a poem by some person on the internet. This is by Anne Sexton. She did not set this website up, she will not read your comments, and she cannot “give it up” because she is already dead.

  2. Melissa McCaul says:

    nice poem it was good better than i could ever write in my life. LOL you seem like a good writier dont give it up!

  3. David Wilson says:

    there are strong echoes here of Sylvia Plath’s Daddy poems
    one thing struck my ear – the line:
    I never let lightning go in one car and out the other.

    it sounds to me like it should be “ear” not “car”
    I will see if I can find another copy somewhere to cross check

  4. porshua shantrice curtis says:

    i love the poem can you seen me some of your poems so i can read them at my friend daddy furneral? this poem espires me so much my email address is my address is 5341.w.adams and lockwood 60644 chicago illinois

  5. Katie Mongan says:

    every poem by her i read i love it… more and more i love to read them

  6. Jazmin Simmons says:

    This poem is interesting. It made me feel sorrow . In ways i can’t explain it . She put so much work into it . someone who can write a poem and make you feel like you see everything that she sees is exciting.Strange.

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