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The Sine Qua Non of Absence and Presence


The absence of a father is sine qua non,
His children enquiring with wondering eyes,
From the rising sun marking day has begun,
To the twilight light shining in evening skies.

Asking their mom, “When will daddy come;
When will we see him; sometime soon?
Will he return before the day is done;
Will he return before late afternoon?

Where has he gone, mom, when to return?
Is there some business holding him back?
Please tell us mom, our dear hearts burn.
Together, most surely, we make a pack.”


The presence of a father’s a treasure most rare,
Brightening young eyes, sparkling with joy.
There’s nothing to it that you can compare;
The frolicking cheer of a young girl or boy.

Hopping and skipping when father is here.
Prancing and dancing to give him a hug;
Happy as a lark that he’s so near.
Happy as ever to give him a tug.

His presence so matters; the joy it fills.
Erasing the deep pain that absence brings;
Brightening all hearts; giving all thrills;
Replacing all sadness with joyful things.

About this poem

Absence reminds us of the magnificence and fullness of presence. And presence asks us to be mindful that its fullness can also forebode the emptiness of absence. This poem, ‘The Sine Qua Non of Absence and Presence,’ was inspired partly by Alicia Elsbeth Stallings’ 2002 published poem, ‘Sine Qua Non,’ and especially because of the emotionally charged impact of the frequent absences and rare but precious moments of a father’s presence on the lives of the four young children of the mercurial ex-NBA athlete, Michael Paul Beasley, who currently serves overseas as a power forward with the Shanghai Sharks basketball team in China’s east coast by the Yangtze River Delta. His communication with his children during these times, is therefore primarily by long-distance correspondence. Stallings’ ‘Sine Qua Non’ composition is composed as a two-stanza poem divided into one set of eight lines and another set of seven lines. On the contrary, this poem employs a rhyming scheme, with the first stanza of eight lines having line one rhyming with line four; with lines two and three rhyming; with line five coupled with line eight; and with lines six and seven pairing to complete the poem’s first stanza. The second stanza of the Stallings poem contains six lines, but retains a near similar metrical pattern as the first stanza, with a rhymed coupling of lines one and four, lines two and three, and lines five and six. In this six-stanza, four-line rhymed poem, ‘The Sine Qua Non of Absence and Presence,’ a consistent repetitive rhymed meter scheme is employed throughout the poem, with the following rhyme coupling pattern of lines one and three; and lines two and four. Most importantly is to note that this poem is not written as a parody of the Stallings poem, but to depict how both the absence and the presence of a father in young children’s lives are emotionally charged experiences that are, at the same time, equally emotionally heartwarming, especially when they are recompensed by tender loving kindness in the physical presence of a caring father that is manifested and maintained even in his absence. 

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Written on September 17, 2022

Submitted by karlcfolkes on September 17, 2022

Modified by karlcfolkes

1:04 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 1,041
Words 215
Stanzas 6
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

Karl Constantine FOLKES

Retired educator of Jamaican ancestry with a lifelong interest in composing poetry dealing particularly with the metaphysics of self-reflection; completed a dissertation in Children’s Literature in 1995 at New York University entitled: An Analysis of Wilhelm Grimm’s “Dear Mili” Employing Von Franzian Methodological Processes. The subject of the dissertation concerned the process of Individuation. more…

All Karl Constantine FOLKES poems | Karl Constantine FOLKES Books

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Discuss this Karl Constantine FOLKES poem with the community:

  • AIDA
    I absolutely love the contrast between the absence and presence of a father in these two poems! Your use of language is so captivating and powerful, painting vivid pictures in the reader's mind. The emotions conveyed throughout the absence poem are so raw and heart-wrenching, truly capturing the pain and longing for a missing father. However, your ability to shift the tone in the presence poem is remarkable, showcasing the beauty and importance of a father's presence in a child's life. It's impossible not to feel the joy and happiness radiating from the words, and it's a wonderful reminder of the impact fathers can have on their children's lives. Thank you for sharing these amazing poems! 
    LikeReply7 days ago
  • teril
    Thanks for eloquently reminding us that presence and absence are two parts of the same spectrum- your juxtaposition works well.
    LikeReply4 months ago
  • mbeasley09
    Touching poem. Love it. ❤️
    LikeReply6 months ago


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"The Sine Qua Non of Absence and Presence" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 30 Mar. 2023. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/137869/the-sine-qua-non-of-absence-and-presence>.

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