Slimy, small, and screaming child, put into Daddy’s arms.
He looks at her, thinks to himself, “No one will do you harm.”
Little princess in the yard, running from a fiend
crying, “Daddy, there’s a monster chasing after me!”
Daddy rushes to her side to slay the foul foe.
She peeks out from behind and hears, “I’ll never let you go.”
But little princess doesn’t last as long as Dad would like:
Too soon, his Cinderella takes to slavery and spite.
The cares and worries of the world, too burdensome to bear,
attack her as a hungry wolf would sic a lonely hare.
From school she comes home every day, each time another hurt
look in her eyes gives evidence: she can’t see what she’s worth.
“You’ll never make it in this place, not with your dirty dress,
your grubby face and tennis shoes. My goodness, you’re a mess!”
She tells her faithful Daddy what the children said at school.
He tells her right back that she should not listen to the fools.
“They don’t know what they’re saying, dear, you’re beautiful to me.
And every day when you come home, I just can’t wait to see
that pretty, smiling face of yours that once you always had,
before the voices all around you made you turn it sad.”
She gazed at him with mournful face, eyes brimming red with tears,
and suddenly without her mask, he saw that in the years
she had indeed put on a picture, given out an attitude
that said, “I’ve got this all together so I really won’t need you.
Move along, you lesser beings, you’re just taking up my time.
I don’t have much to spare with you or any of your kind.”
But now, he thought, she’s open, and she’s ready to receive
a new kind of instruction: something that will help her leave
her worries and her fears aside—it’s time to start the chase!
Dear God, I would do anything to brighten up that face!
And so her Daddy opened up and shared about his life:
How he grew up with his old folks, how he had met his wife,
how when he was a little boy, his dad was never home,
how when he was much older he was oftentimes alone.
He discoursed on the little bits he knew she’d like to hear,
and then he leaned down, hugged her close, and whispered in her ear,
“My girl, do you remember when that monster in the yard
was chasing you?” She did remember, and she sniffled hard.
“That monster wasn’t just a piece of Cinderella’s mind.
That monster was inside of you, now you’ve brought it to light.
That monster chasing you around since you were only young,
has really chased us all around: each father, mother, son,
and daughter in this whole wide world has battled in the dark
against a beast so awful it would try to steal your heart.
He fights us all in different ways. To me he says, ‘No good.
You never will escape me, and your daughter never could.
Protecting her is all you’ve ever wanted in this life,
but let me tell you that you cannot save her from the strife
that this world always throws upon a precious little child.
“‘You were never strong enough to save her but a while.’
“My child, he says to you today, ‘You’re nothing more than dirt.
That’s all you’re ever going to be, and all you ever were.’
But he is wrong, my little girl, more wrong than anyone
could ever know until they have a daughter or a son.
Don’t let that monster tell you who you are or what you’ve been:
Let me tell you that you’re beautiful, again.
More precious than the finest jewel, Princess, you have my heart.
Please let me kill the monster. Don’t stay trapped there in the dark.”
The princess, who was more grown up than Dad would like to think,
wrapped up in Daddy’s arms replied, “You’re strong enough for me.”
From that day on, the princess knew, no matter what they said,
her daddy always had her back. They can’t get in her head.
She knows the dirty monster’s schemes, she knows his evil plot.
But she’s no longer worried since her father told her what.
That mask of hers will still appear and stay occasion’lly;
she finds, however, that it’s best to let her true self be.