An Analysis Of Lucille Clifton's 'Forgiving My Father'

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In the poem “forgiving my father”, Lucille Clifton writes of a young daughter reminiscing about her father’s recent death. The daughter talks about it being Friday, it being payday. She discusses her father and how he owed her and her dead mother money when really they just wanted him to be present. The daughter feels she has had no time with her father and she resents him for it. He was not present in her life and now he has passed away, leaving her with a yearning for something that she will never obtain. It is apparent that she feels negatively toward her father; although, she loves him still after being a horrible father to her. When she calls him daddy she begins to hint at the love and endearment she still holds for him. The words payday and bill shape the poem to be about money; however, when reading more thoroughly it is actually about time. In the poem, money is a reference to time. She seems to be asking her father for his time even though he has no more to give. She has previously been neglected by her father and she feels that she deserved more of his time. It becomes obvious that the speaker has yearned for a relationship with her father for a long time when she says, “i wish you were rich so i could take it all”(line 10). She longs for some time with her father and wishes that he had more time so she could have a relationship with him. The relationship between the speaker and her father has seemingly been nonexistent her entire life meaning that he was not
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