Familiar, or: Family man

A kerf

"I'd be more useful dead."
"At least they'd get the money."
"Hell, at least I would finally be free."

"Mouths at home would get fed."
"So sad, it's almost funny."
"My children? Nah, they have no need for me."

"Construction doesn't pay."
"Ain't no help for a brother."
"There's only one way out that I can see."

"I'm ne'er home anyway."
"They would still have their mother."
"And... honestly? She'd probably agree."


  • 12 lines made up of 4 tercets;
  • syllabic: 6/7/10 per line;
  • rhymed: rhyme scheme abc abc dec dec.


The above kerf was written for Colleen M. Chesebroโ€™s โ€˜Tanka Tuesdayโ€™ prompt: Poets were prompted to write syllabic poems based on the theme of โ€˜usefulโ€™.

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

48 thoughts on “Familiar, or: Family man”

  1. It’s horrible David and deeply troubling that folk see their lives as so devoid of value and worth that they think they wouldn’t be missed! โ˜น๏ธโ˜น๏ธ

  2. So topical and to the point. I love the rhythm with this form, which I havenโ€™t come across before. Iโ€™ll have to have a go at a Kerf. Very well done, David ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ™‚

      1. That’s fantastic David! ๐Ÿ˜โค๏ธ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ Heartbreaking ๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’” yet fantastic! You’ve a wonderful ability to tell a powerful; vivid story in a few short lines. One of the previous comments on this mentioned that some folk see their lives like this! Sad thing is, it’s true. โ˜น๏ธโ˜น๏ธ

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