If I were to pick one out of the two Canadian love poems written by Michael Ondaatje, I would probably choose the poem ‘To A Sad Daughter’. The reason behind my decision is I think the mentioned poem shows a deeper form of love than the other choice. That is not to say that ‘The Cinnamon Peeler’ is lesser in value however. It is just that while ‘The Cinnamon Peeler’ speaks of a man’s love and devotion to his wife, ‘To A Sad Daughter’ is about unconditional love of a father to his daughter. In many culture, that kind of love is always unquestionably the best form. The best men may end up falling out of love but even the worst man can never really forget about his child.
Also, I chose ‘To A Sad Daughter’ because it shows the other side of the story. In most literary works, the point of view is either on the mother or on the child. Very rarely do we read poems where the father is the one who talks about his feelings. This lack of fathers’ point of view is perhaps the effect of social roles. Most societies dictate that men should be firm and strong and to show any kind of tender affection is seen almost as a weakness. ‘To A Sad Daughter’ however freely goes against this predestined norm. The father in the poem declares unabashed that he loves his daughter and all of her shortcomings, even her ‘purple moods’ and that the only thing stopping him from telling her just how much he loves her is that he knows it will embarrass her.
Perhaps the best thing I like about ‘To A Sad Daughter’ however is that it is realistic and heartwarming. I said it is realistic because it depicts a daughter that is far from the ideal dainty little girl. In real life, most girls actually have more character and most of them are a far cry from what fairytales used to tell us. In the poem, the daughter was a bit boyish. She was a fan of sports and she was not afraid of brawls or wounds. You could also sense in that story that she grew up to be an independent kind of woman. In short, a lot of woman in the present time could relate to the kind of girl that the daughter was in the poem. The poem was heartwarming because I could feel the sincerity of the father in the poem. I could feel his joy at having his daughter with him and his longing for her when she came at the age when she preferred her friends over her father. I could feel his worry that the world may harm her or that her decision may not always be the best ones. Towards the end of the poem, when he said, “Don't recall graves. Memory is permanent,” I knew that he was sad but he was trying not to show it because he wanted his daughter to be happy even when the time comes that death will separate them.
Brett, Stewart. “Poetic analysis of To a Sad Daughter written by Michael Ondaatje.” WriteWorkTM. Gradua Networks, April 2010. Web. 20 Dec. 2013.