What is the theme of the poem "Wordsmith" by Susan Young?

There are several themes at work in the poem "Wordsmith" by Susan Young. The most likely one is the love between a father and his daughter, even though there is only one instance of the word "love," nor is there any physical act like a hug or a smile. But it's clear the girl loves her dad: when he speaks at the end, the girl is "aglow" with love and happiness.

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In Susan Young's poem "Wordsmith" there are several possible themes. First and foremost is that of the love between a father and his daughter. Though Young titles the poem "Wordsmith," it's not the father but the daughter who is the wordsmith. The girl's father doesn't show his love through words but through acts, in this case taking care of the 58-year-old family house.

Over and over again
with precision and grace
he fills and smooths and sands
as if filling in all of the empty crevices
with the words he didn’t know how to say

Another possible theme is that the daughter has an abiding interest in words—she describes the cracks in the house’s walls as “long-winded” and says they are “like run-on sentences.” The father's tools are not words but an "industrial-sized bucket" and a "shiny spatula."

A closer reading provides another theme: that of tension between a parent and a child. It is possible the cracks in the wall could represent cracks she sees in her father; it is a rite of passage that children eventually see flaws in their parents. There is a possible tension between the father and daughter, since their interests likely don’t bisect. In this instance, however, the girl elevates her father to king—the king of filling cracks, while she is the humble child in awe of her father.

Though the daughter is the wordsmith, her father maintains his position of importance, filling the empty crevices—the inevitable cracks exposed in all families, happy or otherwise—“over and over again with precision and grace.” The love shines brightest at the end of the poem, when, after her father finally speaks, the daughter’s face is “aglow” with happiness and contentment with her non-wordsmith father.

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