|The lines tumble down as if in a cascade|
The cascade is a form which can be fun and rewarding to write. It gives you some of the elbow room of free verse – there are no rhymes or required number of syllables per line – but each line of the first stanza repeats as the last line of the subsequent stanzas. Thus the first line of the poem will be the last line of the second stanza, the second line of the poem will be the last line of the third stanza, and so on. This lends some form to the verse, and provides a little challenge and creative stimulus for the poet.
The number of lines in the first stanza thus determines the number of stanzas in your whole poem. In a tercet scheme, the line arrangement would look like this: ABC, abA, cdB, efC. For a quatrain, you would use ABCD, abcA, defB, ghiC, jklD.
Let’s have an example, the first cascade I ever wrote, to test the form:
The boy asks his father
the meaning of rain,
but the father does not listen.
The rain patters on the windowsill,
tickling the fantasy, when
the boy asks his father.
But the father is working, connecting the dots.
He’s not thinking about
the meaning of rain.
The drops call out to the open heart
and the flitting mind.
But the father does not listen.
Try writing one now; you’ll enjoy it! Feel free to submit your own cascades here on the blog.