Poetry challenge #33: Silent cascade

The form I’ve been using a lot recently is the cascade. Shadow Poetry explains how to do it, but it’s not difficult, no rhymes and a lot of repetition. Four stanzas of three lines where the first line becomes the last line of the second stanza, the second line becomes the last line of the third, and the third line becomes the last line of the fourth. It creates an attractive trickle-down effect.

The picture of a cascade I had in mind is entitled Silence so you can think of the title as a bonus prompt. Otherwise, you might like to use these words:

Cascade, tresses, eagle, abandon, rippling

This is another rather odd painting. Silence, next to a waterfall? What is the woman listening for? Her expression isn’t fearful, more interested than excited. And what is that deer doing behind her? See what you can get out of it and post the link to your poem in the comments. My poem is below.


Standing in the cascadeโ€™s spray,

Water tresses, sunlight glinting,

Watching the river run away,


I wonder is bright water rippling

On the bank where now you stand,

Standing in the cascadeโ€™s spray?


Does your heart lie dull, a dead weight,

The joy too sharp in night time dreaming,

Water tresses, sunlight glinting?


Or do you soar in wild abandon,

Eagle-free on pinions spread,

Watching the river run away?


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

68 thoughts on “Poetry challenge #33: Silent cascade”

    1. I’m glad you like it. It’s a painting I’ve used before to illustrate a poem. I like the strangeness of it. The deer is artistically not exactly in perspective unless it’s a miniature variety and it looks as though it’s about to leap off a cliff, but it adds to the off-kilter atmosphere.

  1. do you find that knowing so much about form enhances or inhibits …. I’m ignorant and just write I write regardless but I wonder if more technical tools would help or hinder?

    1. I used to shy away from anything that looked like a formal pattern. It’s very easy to end up with dee der dee der dee der dee der stuff. Writing rhyme is like playing with fireโ€”it might blow up in your face. It takes nerve and it makes you think about every image and the overall effect before you let it stand. Sometimes though a rhyme and a rhythm flow perfectly and can change a poem from being just pleasant wallpaper to hitting a deep resounding chord. I am such a pretentious git…

      1. Buddhists believe that if we repeat words ofen enough they cease to have meaning so have a care ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. An interesting form–reminds me of a Troiku where you use each line of an opening haiku as the first line in three more haiku–this of course uses the lines at the end of each stanza–a bit more challenging but will be worth a try ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I’ll definitely be participating in this one, Jane. A whole story flashed across my mind in the couple seconds it took to read your choice words. Now I’ll be trying to capture it all in the form you’ve given us. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. If you want to use a different form, don’t try and force your idea in the one I suggested. Post it as it comes. You can always try out the cascade form on a different poem ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hi Jane,
    As always, I like to research the imagery in a painting first. My search led me to Celtic Mythology, the Faerie King (Stag), the ash (rowan) tree and the eagle that sits atop the tree. And my story features a young maiden trying to hear the twinkling bell sounds of Faerie voices carried by the wind. Here is my Cascade Poem then:

    (I really like this poetry form! :))

  5. Your tresses loosed, raven cascade
    Our wild abandon in the shade
    Watching an eagle soar on high
    The rippling brook soft bubbled by
    I wish we could have longer stayed
    (now that’s pretentious.)

      1. If it’s a homage, I’d let it pass. And as long as you don’t mix up thee and thou ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve seen that in poetry quite often, as well as forgetting and sticking in the odd ‘you’ and ‘yours’ too. Looks silly.

      2. Oh it was a full blown, late teenage phase! ๐Ÿ˜€
        I’d only read Keats and Byron and the other Romantics… Apart from Yeats and Auden, I don’t think I’ve read much of anyone from the 20th century. Neruda et al just don’t strike a chord somehow. ๐Ÿ™‚

      3. I know what you mean. It’s like the difference between Beethoven and Pierre Boulez. Very worthy I’m sure, and cerebral, but Boulez just doesn’t set my heart singing.

      4. I’m no expert, but I’d be willing to bet that Beethoven will last longer than Boulez and Keats will be remembered longer than Sylvia Plath.

      5. I wonder. How many read Keats anymore? Or Plath too, for that matter. I love Urdu Poetry for example but people just stare at me disbelievingly when I quote a couplet. Let’s hope though! ๐Ÿ˜Š

      6. I don’t appreciate the finer points of French poetry either, so Urdu… School children are still taught ‘classic’ poetry though, the things with a rhythm and a rhyme. I’m sure that aspect of culture will remain even when fashions change.

      7. Urdu is quite similar to Hindi, so you’d expect Indians (at those in the northern states) to appreciate it. French poetry, I’ve never read though I suspect some of the best sophisticated sarcasm must have been penned in that tongue. ๐Ÿ™‚

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