One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Of Poems and Fruit

This special feeling towards fruit, its glory and abundance, is I would say universal. We respond to strawberry fields or cherry orchards with a delight that a cabbage patch or even an elegant vegetable garden cannot provoke. - Jane Grigson

Henri Cornelis Bol was born on 10th January 1945, and was a Dutch still life painter. His work was known for its realism and trompe l'oeil technique.  Bol was born and raised in the Southern Dutch city of Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant. He was the eldest son of painter Kees Bol. As I was browsing through his artwork I couldn't help but fall in love with the vibrant colors and intricate details. 

For today's challenge, I want you to write a poem about fruit. Not just any ordinary, everyday item on the dining table but your best-loved; the kind that makes your mouth water and pen savor every last detail. 


by Li-Young Lee

... Ripe ones are soft and brown-spotted.
Sniff the bottoms. The sweet one
will be fragrant. How to eat:
put the knife away, lay down newspaper.
Peel the skin tenderly, not to tear the meat.
Chew the skin, suck it,
and swallow. Now, eat
the meat of the fruit,
so sweet,
all of it, to the heart ... read full poem here.

The Consolation of Apricots

by Diane Ackerman

... Somewhere between a peach and a prayer, 
they taste of well water 
and butterscotch and dried apples 
and desert simooms and lust.
Sweet with a twang of spice, 
a ripe apricot is small enough to devour 
as two hemispheres. 
Ambiguity is its hallmark ... read full poem here.

Choose your own form or write in free verse, if preferred. I look forward to reading what you guys come up with. The link doesn't expire, so please feel free to write more than one poem. Please do visit others and remember to comment on their poems. Have fun!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tuesday Platform

Hello poets and poetry lovers. The end of November and all of December can get very hectic, but I am looking forward to a slow down in just a couple of weeks. I plan on indulging in good books, fine tea and lots of time wrapped in warm throw blankets once my vacation time starts, but until then I will be busy!

If you haven't succumbed to the busy-ness of the season, share something to savor during a quiet moment. Submit a poem, old or new, down below and splash into other pages to see what your fellow poets have created this week. If you like something, don't keep it to yourself. Conversation and constructive feedback in the comments section is always welcome.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Fussy Little Forms: Than Bauk

Happy weekend, Toads! Today let’s try the Burmese form called THAN BAUK. It’s a truly little form--smaller than even haiku at 12 syllables--and far fussier because of a strict rhyme scheme. Fun!

The than bauk form is a three-line poem with four syllables each, featuring rhymes in kind of a step pattern like this:
        x x x R
        x x R x
        x R x x

One could chain together several to make a longer poem, like this:
            x x x A
            x x A x
            x A x B
            x x B x
            x B x C
            x x C x
            x C x x

The fun thing about than bauk is that such a short rhyming form allows for a witty expression or epigram. Sharpen your wits!

Here is my attempt at a chained than bauk poem from a couple years back. Not very witty, but maybe expressive:

“She Wishes By the Seashore”

            echoes unwise
            undone alone
            unknown pinkest
            surges cresting
            not best but most


Wikipedia entry for than bauk poems

Poets Garret article with examples

Fun examples at All Poetry website

Let’s have some fun with the short and sweet. Feel free to link one or many verses if the fussy spirit moves you. Enjoy!


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Wordy Thursday with Wild Woman ~ The Silence Breakers

There was a lot to be discouraged about in 2017, but one positive is the rise of the "Me, Too" movement, revealing how many women have experienced some form of sexual abuse, harassment or assault. 

Women's strength and courage is validated by the Time Magazine devoting its cover this week to honour The Silence Breakers. Woman-strong, they stand together to acknowledge the brave actresses naming their abusers. The mighty are falling.

The rise of this movement, during a year when the political regime is trying to roll women's rights back into the 1950's, is stirring our souls. The "Me, too" movement includes just about everyone we know - millions of women are coming into the light of day and speaking out. We are saying "Enough!" 

So this is your moment to howl, my friends. Write your poem about any aspect of women's lives, our voices, our stories, our silencing, and/or our speaking out that you wish. Hear us roar! 

We welcome, of course, the viewpoints of our men poets. It is not only girls and women who suffer. Nobody wins in a climate of fear, oppression and abuse.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Greetings to all poets, wayfarers and friends. I came across this wonderful reading of "The Raven" read by James Earl Jones and couldn't resist sharing it with you guys. Hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I did.

The month of December is upon us, which is the time of lights, snow and feasts. Moreover it's the time when we wave goodbye to the old year and prepare for the onset of another. It's also my birthday month (grins and dances around happily).

If you have any thoughts to share, ideas you wish to release into the wild or a world view to express, then you have come to the right place. Please share a poem of your choice and enjoy the company of your fellow scribes. We look forward to reading you and hope you have a wonderful day ahead.

Share * Read * Comment * Enjoy

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Camera FLASH!

Are you ready for the flashbulbs to go off? Here is our photographic challenge for December.

Reginald Southey
Lewis Carroll (1857)
Fair Use

The challenge is wide open to any angle or interpretation.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A Skyflower Friday: Goodbye

Greetings to all in the Imaginary Garden!

Farewell ~ Ivan Aivazovsky (1895)

As another year comes to its natural conclusion, it may be time for some goodbyes - some important part of yourself may have to be left behind in 2017 or perhaps there is cause for a pruning of old, dead weight to make way for new growth and opportunities which lie ahead. Very few of us can say goodbye without regret or some measure of pain. I would like you to use these ideas as a springboard for your poem today.

I leave you with the famous quote from Romeo and Juliet:

'Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.'

And a music video

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Greetings, dear Toads. If winter is dancing towards your bit of the world, I hope you are making plans to stay warm. If you live where is toasty, I’m jealous of your luck. I truly dislike New York City winters. All right, I hate cold weather wherever I happen to be (while it tries to freeze me). But I love the transition from autumn to winter, when the forest changes her dress, when coffee and tea warm the soul, when I get to wear my favorite crazy socks, when I can spend more time indoors reading your poetry…

So, let me read your words. Share a poem, any poem. Warm other Toads with your heartfelt comments about their poetic words. And if you have crazy socks, wear them wildly.

as always, feel free to use my photo, with proper accreditation
(you wouldn't want anyone to think these HUGE things belong to you, do you?) 

Add the direct link to your poem to Mr. Linky. Direct links make him happy.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

November Themes!

Hello, dear Toads! Marian here, standing in for Kim in the Garden this weekend. Some of you might have noticed that I’m writing #30PoemsInNovember to benefit new immigrants to the USA via the Center for New Americans, a nonprofit here in western Massachusetts. I have done this challenge as a fund raiser for several years but took last year off. This year, I’m back in the game and totally inspired by my two kids, who are ALL IN, each creating 30 drawings in November! Amazing.

The kids created 30 themes for November and we 3 have been dutifully following along each day, writing and drawing to the themes. I thought I’d share the whole month’s worth of themes here so that my fellow Toads might pick one (or more!) and write along. Enjoy!

Anne Meuse, #7 Lies "I'm BrOKen"
Autumn leaves
Jack Meuse, #17 Drama "Comedy and Tragedy"
Shopping/Not shopping

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Creature Comforts

With the advent of the colder weather where I live, my children have taken to donning fleecy onsies, called kigurumi, when they are staying home and relaxing.

Not actually my children, but you get the idea.

Once I got done giggling at teenagers wearing the same pjs I bought for them a decade ago, I had to admit maybe they were on to something. Full body fleece is pretty darn sensible for the Philly 'burbs in November. And what's wrong in indulging in some creature comforts that make your inner child smile?

For today's Toad's prompt, I invite you to write about something simple that gives you comfort. It could be a favorite little ritual, like an afternoon cup of tea. It could be about your favorite comfy jeans or sneakers. It could be about just being able to sleep in. Remember, the poems should be new, created to fit this prompt. Be sure to check out your fellow poet's work as well, and don't be shy about starting some discussions in the form of thoughtful, constructive commentary. 

In the meanwhile, I think I'll browse kirugumi websites and see if I can find a fun onesie for myself. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Greetings to all poets, wayfarers and friends. I came across this wonderful reading of 'Ode to Broken Things' by Pablo Neruda and couldn't resist sharing it with you guys. Sigh.. living near the equator is a different experience altogether as the weather here is hot and humid; apart from the average rainfall which is two hundred and fifty centimeters in a year. I often long for winter as the days go by, and find myself missing the tingling sensation of cold weather, warmth of coffee and woolen socks.

On a lighter note, it's Thanksgiving on Thursday! Wishing you all a blessed day, full of joy and light! I am thankful this year, for the company of good friends, and to be part of this incredibly creative and gracious blogosphere. 

If you have any thoughts to share, ideas you wish to release into the wild or a world view to express, then you have come to the right place. Please share a poem of your choice and enjoy the company of your fellow scribes. We look forward to reading you and hope you have a wonderful day.

Share * Read * Comment * Enjoy

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Weekend Mini-Challenge: Doors

Doors mark our coming in and going through and out of this life. Big doors, little doors, stone doors, blue doors.

“If one were to give an account of all the doors one has closed and opened, of all the doors one would like to re-open, one would have to tell the story of one’s entire life,” writes Gaston Bachelard in The Poetics of Space.  

The Romans had a deity for doors: Janus, the two-faced god. January ends one year and begins another, and Janus sanctifies all passages and transitions with a gate that swings both ways. He was associated with Portunus, another gateway god who presided over harbors, travel, and shores.

Because doors have two sides to them, our relation to them is always duple. Albert the Great wrote, “In Germany there once lived twins, one of whom opened doors by touching them with his right arm, and the other who closed them by touching them with his left arm.” Our brain is halved by left and right hemispheres, each with their own realm of functioning—one analyzing, reducing, the other synthesizing, adding up. Is there a door between them which keeps us fiddling with its lock at the same time keeping its bolts in place?

Doors font inspiration. What creative impulse in us can resist opening them?  A shepherd on a remote Hebrides island in the early nineteenth century accounts that at night, “a woman often came out of the sea and said strange foreign words at the back of his door, and these, he added, in a whinnying voice like that of a foal ; came, white as foam ; and went away grey as rain. And then, he added, ‘she would go to that stroked rock yonder, and put songs against me, till my heart shook like a tallow-flaucht in the wind.’" (Fiona MacLeod, “Sea Magic”)

There’s always a danger in doors; they secure our world but also knock loudly with the Other. According to the old Irish dinshenchas, the hero Riach places into a well the severed heads of warriors slain in battle. The presence of the heads seems to magically affect the water and it becomes highly dangerous. In order to prevent it from rising up against him, Riach constructs a building over it in which it can be contained. But one night he forgets to place the capstone “door” back over the well one night and it rises up and drowns him.

Today our theme is Doors: Portals in, passage out. Find a door and try it.  Will it open or is it barred? Half-open, almost-closed? What freedom flows in as you go out? And what is the melancholy click of a door closing forever? Is there one door representative of the whole, a page which emblems the bestiary? Or is there a poem which resembles a house-shaped Advent calendar, with a door or window to peer into along every step of its way? You choose.

Write a poem about one door (or many) and bring it back here to share with your fellow portalettes. (Hmm.) What will we open on our separate lily pads? What singing skulls and water wonders we will find! What an Advent calendar we will house!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Bits of Inspiration ~ Dragonfly

First of all I must brag about my daughter, Carrie. She is Artist Relations Director at Art Colony Association Inc. and they are the producers of the Bayou City Art Festival. It is an important event in Houston. We are so proud of her. It would take pages to write all the work she puts in along with staff to bring all this talent together in our city. 

At the this year's Bayou City Arts Festival I discovered the beautiful art of Ann Byrd and purchased two prints.  One print is a dragonfly.

I really love how she describes her art. "My pieces tell a story, but not the whole story. They are windows into certain glimpses in a narrative that is already in play. Visions of things you catch out of the corner of your eye, but cannot be sure are real or merely ghosts of your imagination."  Ann Byrd

I'd like to share the totem meaning of the dragonfly and quotes with you.

The dragonfly totem carries the wisdom of transformation and adaptability in life. As spirit animal, the dragonfly is connected to the symbolism of change and light. When the dragonfly shows up in your life, it may remind you to bring a bit more lightness and joy into your life. Those who have this animal as totem may be inclined to delve deep into their emotions and shine their true colors.

"Time is for dragonflies and angels. The former live too little and the latter live too long."  ~  James Thurber

"It's very far away/It takes about a half a day to get there/ If we travel by-dragonfly." ~  Jimi Hendrix
Who would deduce the dragonfly from the larva, the iris from the bud, the lawyer from the infant? ...We are all shape-shifters and magical reinventors. Life is really a plural noun, a caravan of selves." ~ Diane Ackerman

Also the painting is titled "Tipping Point." 
tip·ping point
1. the point at which a series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change.

So for today's challenge I would like you to write an original poem about a  dragonfly/dragonflies. It can be in any form you choose. Please post it on Mr. Linky and visit your fellow poets to read where their wings took them.

Note: I've contacted Ann and have been given permission to use and share her  dragonfly print. If you use the dragonfly art print on your page, please credit Ann Byrd and link it to one of her art sites. The first link I used is to her Facebook page. The second is her website. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Hello poets and poetry lovers. We're in the second week of November here in the USA and I'm thanking the universe for warm slippers and good cups of tea. I am also currently warming my spirits with this sweet song I heard recently in a fitness class of all places. Just goes to show you can find magical little delights anywhere, as long as you are paying attention.

Please share some of the magic of your pen with the rest of us at the garden. Submit a poem, old or new, down below and splash into other pages to see what your fellow poets have created this week. If you like something, don't keep it to yourself. Conversation and constructive feedback in the comments section is always welcome.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Fussy Little Forms: Rondelet

Happy Weekend, Toads! Today I offer to you the very definition of a Fussy Little Form, the RONDELET. The rondelet is a short French poetry form featuring a strict rhyme and meter pattern plus a lovely repeated refrain. It looks like this:

Line 1 :: A—four syllables
Line 2 :: b—eight syllables
Line 3 :: A—repeat of line one
Line 4 :: a—eight syllables
Line 5 :: b—eight syllables
Line 6 :: b—eight syllables
Line 7 :: A—repeat of line one

Of course, mapping it out that way does not allow for the beauty of this form, which is in part due to the refrain (lines 1, 3, and 7). The refrained lines should contain the same words, but substitution or different use of punctuation on the lines is accepted. For example, here is a rondelet about the rondelet, by Charles Henry Luders (1889):

Is just seven verses rhymed on two.
A rondelet
Is an old jewel quaintly set
In poesy--a drop of dew
Caught in a roseleaf. Lo! For you,
A rondelet.

Here is one of my rondelet attempts, called "Mount to the Sky"
You looked like rain
before the wild hurricane flew.
You looked like rain.
Clamoring down tin eaves, the pain
rollicked like thunder. Meanwhile, you
colored outside the lines. All blue.
You looked like rain.
(from my book Responsive Pleading)
And here is a more detailed explanation from a format challenge handed down in earlier times by former Toad, Pirate Grace O’Malley in earlier Garden times: SHORTENING THE SAILS

I hope you all will be inspired and try it. Rondelet, rondelet!

from Libri de piscibus marinis in quibus verae piscium effigies expressae sunt by Guillaume Rondelet (1554)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

(in)Famous and possibly fictional

 Image from White House public archives.

Greetings Garden Dwellers!

Welcome back to the Out of Standard, where I will call upon you to break out of the every day box and explore new territories. So get those ink wells refilled and a fresh sheet of parchment. Your challenge lies ahead.

(in)Famous and possibly fictional encounters
Write about a relative's encounter with a famous person. That's all. The encounter doesn't have to have actually happened. And the famous person does not need to be living or even from the same era.  Uncle Bob could have met Wilma Flintstone at the Grand Canyon, or your niece could have gone to the future and met BeeBop, the only robot in the world to be elected earth president. If you prefer the more traditional route, perhaps your mom did actually meet David Bowie at a laundromat and now is your time to commit that to paper.

So go now, my muddy buddies.  Brig us us back something new and unexpected.