Poetic Form: Cascade Poem

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Since I was having trouble coming up with a poem today, I thought I'd investigate a new poetic form to help prompt me into action. I've seen the cascade poem mentioned a few times online, but I always assumed it meant the poem was comprised of stanzas with indented lines (creating a kind of cascading effect). But after researching online, I realize this assumption is wrong.

The cascade poem was a form invented by Udit Bhatia (who also apparently created the Alliterisen, which I'll try to deal with in a future post). For the cascade poem, a poet takes each line from the first stanza of a poem and makes those the final lines of each stanza afterward. Beyond that, there are no additional rules for rhyming, meter, etc.

So to help this make sense, here's what a cascade poem with a tercet would look like:

A
B
C

a
b
A

c
d
B

e
f
C

A quatrain cascade would look so:

A
B
C
D

a
b
c
A

d
e
f
B

g
h
i
C

j
k
l
D

And, of course, you can make this even more involved if you want.

Here's my attempt and example (going with a simple tercet form to get started):

"Conflict"

Tonight is perfect for staying inside,
but I'm busy contorting my organs.
For instance, my heart and brain love to fight.

Sometimes, you can see them twist my body
this way and that when it is raining, though
tonight is perfect for staying inside.

My lungs breathe heavy and my skin itches
to touch you, to let you know I'm all right,
but I'm busy contorting my organs.

It's a put off, I know. Losing control
when I'm around you, unable to say,
for instance, my heart and brain love to fight.

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Learn more about the cascade poem at Writing.com.

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Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer

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For more information on forms and poetry: