Near: World Premiere of Sylvestrian Near Rhyme


My father went from obscurity to a sort of small renown.
He worked hard as a rancher and the mayor of our town.
He met my mother at a dance in her sister’s borrowed gown–
both of them lonely visitors to a faraway strange town.
I’ve thought about it often since we laid him down.
Why didn’t I ask more questions? Why didn’t I write it down?

Many a calf he helped to birth and many a field he’s mown.
Avoided his mother if he could–long-suffering aged crone.
Not many highways traveled,nor many airwaves flown.
He died in his angry daughter’s arms–the two of them alone.
I’ve thought of it often till regrets have turned into a drone.

His eyes were always looking further over yon.
Over a ripening field of wheat or over a fresh-mowed lawn.
Working, often, until dark and up again at dawn.
A man of camaraderie and wit and brains and brawn.

He liked to tell a story and sing a rousing tune.
Stand on the porch at midnight to piss under the moon.
He gave me a turquoise ring, a baby rabbit and a coon.

Now that he’s very gone away.  Now that I’m very grown,
I know my flesh is of his flesh. My bone is of his bone.

And I wish that I’d asked more questions. That we’d both been less alone.

The form of this poem is one consisting of six stanzas, the first with 6 lines and each thereafter one less line.  Each line in each stanza rhymes with all the other lines in that stanza and each stanza’s rhyme is a near rhyme to the last. The name of this form is Sylvestrian Near Rhyme and since “Near” describes both the theme and form of my poem, it is also the name of the poem.  And yes, I did make up the form!  I’d love it if poets given to rhyming and meter would attempt the form and send me the results as comments or a link to this blog.

For dVerse Poets Pub

16 thoughts on “Near: World Premiere of Sylvestrian Near Rhyme

  1. Marilyn Armstrong

    Oh how I wish I’d asked more questions, gotten answers when I could, written them somewhere or at least remembered them. By the time I realized I should have done it, it was too late. Everyone was to old to remember details of things that had happened 75 years ago. Not dementia … just time.

    Great poem. Bet it speaks to everyone our age in some way.


  2. calensariel

    Hey Judy! Got my last post for the challenge drafted. I’m breathing again! You know, I feel the same way about my mom. Trouble with her was when you asked her questions her pat answer was always “There’s nothing good to tell you about>” After she died my brother, sister, and I all said we felt like we didn’t know her at all. She was a complicated woman. Would your dad have answered you had you asked him more questions?


    1. lifelessons Post author

      He always just made a joke of things and my mother would say, “I never told my mother anything that would make her feel bad!” She did the same with us. We heard stories, but not about feelings or the bad times.


  3. jaya

    Now that he’s very gone away.  Now that I’m very grown,
    I know my flesh is of his flesh. My bone is of his bone.
    Beautiful lines. Reminds me of my father. Though we did speak of many things, I wish we had spoken more. I wonder why fathers don’t mention the hardships they’ve been through. It’s only as we grow older that we realize there was so much more to the wonderful man we called Father.
    Thanks for this share.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. vidyatiru

    that line – And I wish that I’d asked more questions. — that truly is what i feel of all who are now no longer there – my grandparents (my maternal grandma – only a few months ago), and my father-in-law, and other family members who i treasured; and now makes me more determined to ask more questions and listen, truly listen to their answers of the loved ones around us today…

    truly touching poem and loved these lines –
    Now that he’s very gone away. Now that I’m very grown,
    I know my flesh is of his flesh. My bone is of his bone.


  5. sarahsouthwest

    I don’t know how I ended up here today, but I’m glad I did! This is lovely. The rhyme scheme feels very classical – I was reminded of old ballads – and the subject matter is really well done. I was wondering why I missed this prompt, and realised it was just after my mother in law died, and we were doing funerals and stuff. She was a great one for telling tales of the past. We all listened, but now, reading this, I’m thinking “Should have written them down…”



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