My Daughter is not a princess

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So this last weekend my wife and I hosted a Burn’s Night dinner for a few of our friends.  It was great and we’re planning to make it an annual tradition.  My favorite part of the night was after dinner sitting in a circle drinking whiskey and having everyone recite their favorite poem (sometimes with a little help from google for folks who didn’t have something memorized).  I used to go to poetry events all the time when I was writing and performing more regularly and didn’t realize how much I had missed it.

In any case, later that night I found myself inspired to write something new for the first time in a while. This one popped up in my head half-formed as I was tossing and turning and I just had to get out of bed and write it down, knowing it would be gone by morning if I did not.

My Daughter is not a Princess

From the moment of her birth when nurses wrapped her all in pink
Told us that she looked so pretty, didn’t even stop to think
I’ve seen my little girl peppered and assaulted with assumptions
Archaic and absurd and serving no proper function
She’s no pretty little princess, I suggest you watch your jargon
For my daughter’s not a trophy or prize for which to bargain!
No ornamental sentimental fainting child of incest
So I’ll thank you to remember that my daughter’s not a princess!

The uselessness of royalty has long been well established
Send parasites to guillotines – now that’s a better habit!
But if she must be royal – let her be like Boudicca
Fighting against empire and all the crimes she saw
Let her live her life a rebel like Elizabeth G. Flynn
Disdainful of all danger, and with a world to win
May she speak her mind with passion like Red Emma on the stage
Or be like Ursula Le Guin, and build a world upon a page

If she must chase unicorns, I hope she’ll be a ranger
Defending wildlife – remember rhinos are endangered!
Let her disdain privilege, demand an equal voice
Knowing every person in this world deserves a choice
And if she pursues a prince (or a princess if she chooses)
May they be like Kropotkin, with a mind for lighting fuses
For ideas can cause cause explosions like no dynamite could do
Let her not accept convenience, but search for what is true!

Or let her disregard all her old dad’s aspirations
Dream her dreams, sing her songs, and dance in elation
Her path is hers to choose, not yours or mine – remember?
And I can’t know what challenges that this path might engender
So I’ll help her find her strength, her true north in the storm
For she has been at war since the day that she was born
I’ll shield her while I can, put strong weapons in her hands
Love her and support her where’er she makes her stand