Cascading Nation

Now not so much a nation as a place
for pushing through a bruit cacophony
of cultures in discordant synergy,
dismissing calm consensus, wit, and grace
as if considered discourse would abase
befuddled masses yearning to breed free
and manifest a new world destiny
while tumbling headlong in this teeming race

one cataract of countless souls who flow
an arcing aching ecstasy of flight
and moiling mists, as falling waters might
cascading take a form we think we know

so protean Niagara remains
unchanged by waters drawn from many rains.



For over 40 years Jon Parsons has been a trial lawyer in California helping small businesses and individuals navigate an increasingly difficult environment.

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7 Responses

  1. Cheryl Corey

    An interesting analogy, Jon. Those roiling, cascading waters an apt metaphor for the times we live in; and where are the Frederick Church’s of today?

  2. Margaret Coats

    Trenchant poem commingling socio-political motion of persons in a nation with the spectacular motion of a natural phenomenon at a national border. And it’s all done with wit and grace. You’ve been very sparing of punctuation in this sonnet, but the very capable English syntax supplies it, which is the mark of a master with language.

  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    In line 6 of this poem you write “yearning to breed free.” Is this a misquotation of the well-known phrase from the Lazarus poem that reads “yearning to BREATHE free.” or are you consciously changing it for some satiric or ironic purpose?

    • Jack DesBois

      I noticed the paraphrase, too, and regarded it as a comment on the Sexual Revolution in America, to go along with the references to belligerent cancel culture and worship of the socialist New World Order. I wonder, though, if the masses are really yearning to breed free (thereby defying miscegenation codes), or if they just want to have indiscriminate sex without the breeding part… At any rate, it’s a clever turn of phrase that made me smile. Thank you, Mr. Parsons!

      • Jack DesBois

        … and on my second reading I caught the substitution of “befuddled” for “huddled.” Such fun!

  4. C.B. Anderson

    In line 2, did you mean “brute” rather than “bruit?” My dictionary offers no adjectival usage for “bruit.”

  5. David Watt

    I wonder if “bruit” is used as a medical term meaning an abnormal sound
    produced by an artery. This meaning would tie in with the sound of rushing liquid.


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