Secret Daughter

Hey everyone To say that this is not the easiest day of the year for me is I think putting it politely. You see it was on this day 12 years ago my dad took his final breath and went to his eternal rest. It was with thoughts of my dad very much on my mind that I decided to write this poem.

Like many of my recent poems, I decided to let a friend or in this case a group of friends, select the title. My reason for making this decision was that though I could see a few potential titles within the poem I was unsure which was the strongest or most suitable. My friends however had no such reservations and all agreed that Secret Daughter a title chosen by GAP Theatre Company’s Margaret MacMillan was easily the best choice of those on offer. Indeed my friend Emma who is in many ways like a daughter to me went even further saying it was the only title for it. I hope you enjoy reading this highly personal poem and that it does justice to the memory of John James Smith a man who proved that whilst any man can be a biological father it takes a real man to be a dad.

Secret Daughter
At 9.15 you breathed your last
In the calm of a summer’s morning
I knew it was time for your final sleep
as you shut your eyes you went to join kin not seen for years
Tears cascaded down my face
with the full force of a flood
I was never good at the stiff upper lip kind of stuff
I tell it like it is and get emotional sometimes
like you I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve
emotions like badges of belief
I get angry wherever I see chances denied
to those who need them most
A Glasgow girl I boast not what I will do
but talk of what I have achieved
you believed in me, made me strong
when the medical profession wrote me off
you were right they were wrong
you were always going to be
and you knew why
you wouldn’t allow me to die
without leaving footprints on the world
the daddy’s girl who grew up in the wrong gender
knew that my way and love me tender
were two of your favourite songs
though I think of another
you always played on Sunday’s
It was Perry Como singing for the good times
It was you not mum who got the goodnight kiss
yes we had arguments particularly on Scotland
but the reason they were so passionate
was due to the fact we wanted the same thing
our country to be a nation once again
not for Wallace, Bruce,
or Auld Lang Syne
times had moved on
we had called a truce on the past
we were far more concerned on how to deal with the Iron Lady and others of her creed
you taught me to hate greed
especially when so many lived in poverty
It was you claimed an insult to democracy
you were right then and your are still right today
Independence was you said the way to make the changes necessary
to build a better Scotland
A Scotland where freedom
would be more than a slogan
to write on a banner
A Scotland where Thatcher
nor her heirs and successors
would ever be welcome
unless they were visiting as rulers of another land
you seemed to understand the real story
you never did personal glory
it wasn’t your style
you smiled when I put Donny Osmond posters on my wall
I think you secretly wanted a daughter
little did you know you had one
and that she was, is, and will always be
a daddy’s girl to the end
at 9.15 you went to your final rest you had reached you destination
It was time for your well earned sleep

@ Gayle Smith 2015


2 Replies to “Secret Daughter”

  1. Thank you to all who chose the Title secret daughter.
    on reading the poem a good few times several things sprang to my mind but the words of this wonderful poem about your relationship with your dad spoke it.s own words within the poem to me in a spiritual sense..i know the love between a dad and his daughter is unique and special but this was a relationship that defines strength power emotions and love.
    i hope your Dad would be happy with the Title you chose.
    Thank you i feel blessed your friends liked it.
    Much love mgt xx

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