“To a Daughter Leaving Home” is a poem that relates a girl slowly biking away from her mother, to a grown woman who is leaving home for good. The poem is written in run on lines to create a rhythm. When the daughter first learns how to ride a bicycle she “wobbled away […] on two round wheels”. Also the mother is “loping along beside [her]. The words wobbled and loping symbolize childhood and fun. Yet, now the scenario is still the same because the daughter is leaving home and the mother wants to walk beside her, but not there is no more wobbling and loping. The mother is surprised by the daughter’s will and skill: “my own mouth rounding in surprise when you pulled ahead down the curved path of the park”. This shows that the mother does not know how great the capabilities of her daughter are. Also I believe this shows the difference between childhood and now. The daughter is only going down the curved path which goes easily back to home, but now she is not going on the curved path again.
As the poem goes on, the language becomes less childlike. As the mother sees the girl in the distance she is “screaming with laughter”. The daughter is no longer wobbling and she is living life. Yet she still has “hair flapping” which shows that some part of childhood will always be with her. She is excited to move on, grow up, and experience the world. The run on lines not only create a rhythm but they also demonstrate the childhood feel of the poem. Everything new that happens is a surprise that occurs on the next line. The last line compares the girl’s hair to a “handkerchief waving goodbye”. The use of the word handkerchief shows that this departure is bitter sweet. She is waving goodbye, but it is like a handkerchief which is associated with crying.