Friday, January 27, 2023

Poetry Friday: Cascade Poems


In 2023, the Poetry Sisters are exploring transformation in all its forms: conversion, alteration, metamorphosis,  mutation, growth, evolution, revision, modulation, change...

January's challenge was to try a cascade poem, in which the opening stanza (of any length) transforms into the backbone of the poem by "cascading" through the rest of piece. Specifically, each line of the opening stanza becomes the end line for each of the following stanzas. So, if you have a first stanza of ABC, then the next stanza is xxA, and then xxB, and then xxC.

It's a form that because of the repetition, can emphasize what doesn't change: for example, something we can't let go of---producing perhaps, a rant or a eulogy. It also lends itself to explanations of process, or logical argument, making change as orderly as a five paragraph essay. But, it turns out, I wanted to write  about love.

Yes, I know February is the designated month for that stuff, but doesn't January deserve a bit of affection too? And what is love but a transformation of how we see the world?

Nothing has changed since we were young.
You keep a coat for thirty-five years.
I never follow a recipe.
We walk, we talk, we hold hands.

Our first date was 1.1 hours in a Cessna; 
you logged it, pinpointed day and time; 
I had no idea the world held such steadiness;
nothing has changed since we were young.

I still try on new friends, new shoes, new lives,
wander into deep woods, find the sky again;
you land safely, time after time;
you keep a coat for thirty-five years.

You ask where I’m going---
how would I know? I gather words
until I have to give some away;
I never follow a recipe.

Years flow into years--
a steadfast meander;
you, the banks; I, the river; 
We walk, we talk, we hold hands.

---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

My poetry sisters' cascade poems can be found here:


Poetry Friday is hosted today by Bookseedstudio

Friday, November 25, 2022

Poetry Friday: Recipe Poems

The challenge for November was to create a recipe poem---any form or subject---and "serve it forth."   I fear mine is half-baked, but here it is:


5:00 PM

Open fridge.

Check date on yogurt.

Really should use it soon.

5:05 PM

Sift through recipes

until one rises

to the top: golden

carrot soup—with rye

toast croutons—

and tarragon-scented

yogurt swirl—



5:15 PM

Open fridge again.

Using gloves,

dispose of moldy bag

of carrots.

5:20 PM



beets (really?)


who has those

on hand?


no need to peel



5:30 PM

Pour a glass of wine.


a world where

Star Trek is real

and replicators 

produce carrots

on demand.

Eat celery

while considering

if potatoes

are close enough.

5:35 PM

Open freezer.

Stare at contents.

Close freezer.

5:40 PM

Add carrots

to your grocery list.

Chew on pencil.


5:45 PM

Open Grubhub.


No one delivers

carrot soup.

You knew that.

Who are you

to crave

such a thing—

Bugs Bunny?

6:00 PM

Stare at

grocery list.

Inspect bite-marks

on pencil. 

Open your mind.

When ready,

underneath “carrots”

carefully write

everything else

you need

you love

you will fight for 

until time

gets frothy





for as long

as it takes 

to feel full.

Serve it forth. 


    ----Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

My poetry sisters' recipe poems can be found here:






Mary Lee


Poetry Friday is hosted today by  Ruth at There Is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town

Friday, October 28, 2022

Poetry Friday: The Dansa

    Another Poetry Friday!  The days are tumbling by fast, my friends. 

October brings the "dansa", an old poetic form once popular with the Occitan-speaking troubadours who wandered France and Spain.  There's not much to be found on the internets about them other than the basic rules, and that they were often accompanied by joyful dancing.  At Tricia's suggestion, I focused on the "joyful" part.  

The rules are these:

-Opening quintain (or 5-line stanza) followed by quatrains (or 4-line stanzas)
-The opening line of the first stanza is the final line of every stanza, including the first
-Rhyme scheme in the opening stanza: AbbaA (capital A represents the refrain)
-Rhyme scheme in all other stanzas: bbaA
-No other rules for subject, length, or meter.

And here are the dance steps I composed: 

Apple Dansa 

These trees planted, row on row
burst with Stayman, Fuji, Northern Spy—
apples, apples of my loving eye—
beauties, born from best in show:
these trees planted, row on row,

some for eating, some for pie:
Macoun, Gravenstein, Winesap, oh, my…
tenderly, I take them, it’s the least I owe
these trees planted, row on row;

spilling fruit, their rosy faces cry
they—Blondees, Ginger, York—are why
the world rejoices— above, below—
these trees planted, row on row

are an orderly riot, a pugnacious reply
to bruising dark, and all that must die;
I bag them one by one, a rapacious crow.
Oh, these trees planted, row on row!

                    ---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved) 

Creative license was taken in this portrayal of apple orchards---not all varieties of apples ripen at the same time, as I learned on our apple picking trip.  For more accuracy, a fun list of apple varieties and when they are ripe is here.  

Also:  I tried a Blondee for the first time, and it's a new favorite.  What's yours?

My poetry sisters' poems are here:


NOTE: You're invited to our challenge in the month of November! Here's the scoop: we're creating recipe poems! Your choice of form, length, meter, or topic, but each poem will be an assemblage of elements, using recipe text/cooking instructions to create …something. From a recipe for disaster, to your favorite aperitif, you have a month to craft your creation and serve it forth on November 25th in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals.

Whatcha waiting for? Join us!

Poetry Friday is hosted today by the wonderful Jone Rush MacCulloch