Fixing What Rips–a Cascade Poem

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Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)

I’ve been dealing with some back pain–what the heck? I’ve never had back pain and don’t have any idea what I’ve done. But anyway, I was soaking in a steaming hot bathtub last week and totally flaked on the live write for the Poetry Princesses. Ugh. I missed them!

But Monday, I took a few minutes and wrote a first draft of a cascade poem. I’d never heard of a cascade poem before, but I think it’s an interesting and flexible form.

My husband, Randy, is always showing me great images from the Facebook Group, Historic Photographs. They share public domain images, and they’re amazing. He had shown me the below image on Sunday, and I decided to merge that image with the yearlong lens of transformation that the Poetry Princesses are embracing. Isn’t that kid’s expression priceless?

Here’s what I came up with as I thought about how mending and fixing things often comes at the cost of some discomfort.


Next month, we’re doing ekphrastic poems, so find an image and be inspired by that! We’ll be posting and sharing on Feb. 24 (#poetrypals if you share on social media). 

[ETA: Well, heck, I used the wrong template for this post, and I have no links to my Poetry Sisters. It’s been that kind of a week.]

I’m sure there will be many more thoughtful poetry posts than mine if you check out the Poetry Friday Roundup with the kind and creative Jan Annino!


23 Responses

  1. Wow! That picture is a treasure and your poetic response is perfect. I especially like your ending line, and, you’re right, the kid’s expression is priceless! On another note, I also managed to do something to my back this week, too, for the first time ever! (I made the mistake of picking something up off the floor. Instant ouch!) Sending empathy and healing vibes your way!

    1. We have to quit doing those reckless activities like bending over! Seriously, hope your back feels better soon. Mine is easing…

  2. Hope you feel better soon, Laura! I agree, that picture is priceless and your poem says so much. Thanks for sharing. Now I know what a cascade poem is.

  3. I love that image and how you worked it into a wise cascade poem. ” but we can stretch and be mended.” I hope your back heals without any invasive procedures. Backs can be tricky. Take care!

  4. What a photo! And what a gently powerful grandma to keep that lad still enough on her lap to make the mend. Or maybe he had felt the “sharp needle prick” and knew it was worth it to stay still! Both your poem and the photo are so evocative. Here’s to “running wild and careless” and to grandmas with sewing baskets and ready needles.

  5. Oh, that photo!! I love the way you revere mending here, but honestly. (And also, dear Laura, I can’t help but think that the grandmas might have some remedy for your back, too!)

  6. I hope you are feeling better. Back pain makes everything harder. You wrote a perfect poem for the photo! I especially love the second stanza. So lovely!

  7. Your first stanza is such a wonderful opening to this poem. The photo is beyond priceless, but the final line is the one that will stick with me.

  8. Your poem has a beautiful lilt to it with the cascade of rhyme you tucked in there. I adore this variation of the form. (That photo seems almost photo-shopped in its ridiculousness, even though it’s not. Why can’t he take his shorts off? And who is taking the picture??)

  9. You made the tercet work so beautifully!! And that PICTURE!! That poor child is in for a lifetime of spit-on-my-finger smudge removal and collar straightening. No wonder he loves sticks, fences and that wild, careless life…

    I’m so sorry your back punked out on you. It’s sometimes hard to remember our bodies do their best for us when we feel so betrayed by abrupt, random pain. Hope it passes soon.

    1. Hahahaha–and NOW that child is a character in a book. He has to be, doesn’t he?

  10. That image is just delightful. I’m trying to imagine my daughter at that age staying that still. THere would have been needle pricks for sure! I love your poem to go with it. Hope that back straightens out soon.

  11. Laura your poem is delightful, and I hope there are few ouches in there for this little tyke and hopefully, very soon for your back too–feel better! And the pic is picture- perfect, thanks!

  12. I like the idea that sometimes the mending depends on stretching rather than tightening, and I feel certain that your back wrote that line! You’ve given us a good source for our ekphrastic poems for next month–bring on the historic photos!

  13. I love that your poem feels hopeful, Laura. We need a lot of that lately. That picture is priceless, so glad you have Randy giving you inspiration, too. Hope your back is “mending” through your own “stretching”!

  14. Oh, Laura, I love the way you used the photo for such inspired lines.
    “We can stretch and be mended” — yes and yes. ❤️

  15. That image is so perfect for your poem! I miss my Grandma…this poem reminds me of all the fixing she did. I’d love to let her know how much I appreciate it now!

  16. That kid! He’s a relative of Peter in The Snowy Day for sure! The poem works wonderfully with the photo. I like the near rhyme of “rips” and “pricks” and “fixing”—and “fences” and “fixing,” too.

  17. Hahaha! That photo made me laugh, Laura. What is it about grandmas and their way of knowing how to mend the seen and unseen hurts?

  18. Wow! I agree that photo is priceless. I agree with some others that said your poem is perfect for the photo. The photo made me chuckle. I agree with Rose, also. Now, I understand a cascade poem. Your poem flows effortlessly from stanza to stanza. I love your poem and all its double meanings, especially “but we can stretch and be mended.” I can’t stop reading your poem; I resonate with every stanza. Love how your last stanza ties your whole poem together.

    I hope your back is feeling better soon. Thank you for sharing your poem, the photo, and your inspiration. 🙂

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