Daddy’s Dance


My father was a terrible dancer,

but that didn’t stop him from trying.

It didn’t matter if it was the big bands

of his youth that made him want to jitterbug

or odd rock song that took his fancy,

he’d bounce in his seat until someone

(usually me) took pity on him and asked him to dance.

It always seemed unfair that someone

who enjoyed music as much as he did

couldn’t sing or dance,

but then life is rarely fair.


The father-daughter dance on my wedding day

wasn’t upbeat or bouncy,

but a slow dance by tradition,

which only served to enhance

my father’s shortcomings as a dancer.

There was no video to capture the moment,

but I don’t need one to remember

how my father held me in his arms

as we shuffled in a circle.

I was his baby, perpetually his little girl,

and when I looked into his eyes

and said, “I love you, Daddy,”

his voice choked with tears

said, “I love you, too.”

We finished the dance cheek-to-cheek,

too moved to say anything more.


It was more than forty years ago

and my father’s been gone for too long,

but I can still hear his choked words in my ear

as if it was yesterday.


~Elise Skidmore ©2017


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  1. That was beautiful – a moment in my life that I always wish I had. I know my Dad was with me in spirit on my wedding day, but that was and still is a tough time for me. It’s the hardest part for me at weddings because I could only imagine what that moment would have been like. I usually cry and there have been times when I actually leave the room when I know the dance is going to happen. There is something special about a Daddy and his little girl on her wedding day. Those are very special memories. I enjoyed this, especially your line “but then life is rarely fair” because that is always how I feel about not having my Dad on my wedding day. I always felt cheated. But for the record, my Dad could dance a mean jitterbug. I love when your writing hits home. This one definitely did.

    1. Thanks, Regina. It means a lot to know a poem has touched someone. I think it brings us all together. I also know what you mean about how know our loved ones are with us in spirit is just not the same as having them with us in the flesh, though sometimes they make their presence known louder than other times. Yesterday was one of those days for me and so two poems inspired by my father were born.

      1. Oh I definitely agree that sometimes their presence is strong and you just keep thinking about them. Perhaps this poem really touched me more so now because this May would have been my 30 year wedding anniversary. There is a picture in my Mom’s room of her and I on my wedding day. She always loved that picture. I see it everyday. But I find myself reflecting and looking back a little more this year and seem to be a bit more emotional. This poem was a beautiful read.