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Rhyme and Reason: Cascade Poem

Serafina Kubersky ’26

Cascade Poems exist in a very niche space, having only been created in 2007 by Udit Bhatia. Like its namesake, Cascade poems fall down the page in a waterfall . They are sensational for writers wanting to practice refrains without constrictions on meter and rhyme, like many complex forms of poetry. 

Cascade poems create a tumbling effect as lines build on lines and resolve into familiar phrases. They can be as long or as short as the writer’s heart desires. The length of the poem is determined by the number of lines in the first stanza, allowing freedom in execution.

Each stanza typically mirrors the length of the first. What creates the cascading effect is the refrains, or the repetition of certain lines and words. 

The first stanza contains all of the refrains for the piece. Each  stanza that follows should end with the corresponding line in the initial stanza. Each line must become a refrain. 

Line one of verse one becomes the last line of the second verse. Imagine that the first stanza goes ABC, where each letter represents a different line. The second stanza should then be DEA, where A is the first line of the poem verbatim. 

This continues until all of the lines in the first stanza have been used. 

What seems to be a confusing and complex structure becomes simple in practice. With no set limitations on rhyme or meter, the author can choose to challenge themselves by adding additional constraints. 

There is freedom in the fluidity of the phrases, and, chosen correctly, the refrains can deliver a unique experience to the reader. 

If you plan to write a Cascade poem, remember that the initial stanza is the most important. The initial stanza is the basis of the entire poem and needs extra time to be perfected. 

Once the refrains are in place, try to contextualize them. Although this is not required, contextualizing provides an extra punch when accomplished.  This may help to set up a central idea in the writing, whether it be hope or loss or change and can help to center the poem, establishing repeated metaphors. 

Overall, writing a Cascade poem is a wonderful creative outlet for practicing refrains, while still being able to express themes. Lines tumble down the page in a way that creates a sensational experience for both the reader and the writer. 

Draped in Blue

by Serafina Kubersky


My dress is young and bright.

The lights sparkle in my eyes.

why aren’t you here?


Sent a red kiss with your invitation.

You loved when i wore blue, so

my dress is young and bright.


The rumors deaden my ears.

In this room of blue,

the lights sparkle in my eyes.


cold dark air in your place

hushed promises whispering 

Why aren’t you here?

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    HannahDec 28, 2023 at 7:56 pm

    Wonderful as always, Serafina! Keep it up!