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This is a writing community with a core membership of 20 ‘Toads’. We extend an open invitation to Followers and Visitors in all our prompts and challenges, asking only that you enter into the spirit of our Mission Statement.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Get Listed for October - Ghost Stories

fair use: image here

The northern hemisphere tumbles into Autumn; Winter slinks nearer. Harvests are in. Frost will soon limn trees into skeletal silhouettes.

Liminality is a social ritual spanning a number of pre-Christian cultures, and pre-dates Halloween.

"El Día de Muertos - The Day of the Dead - celebrations in Mexico can be traced back to a pre-Columbian past. Rituals celebrating the deaths of ancestors had been observed by these civilizations perhaps for as long as 2,500–3,000 years. In the pre-Hispanic era skulls were commonly kept as trophies and displayed during the rituals to symbolize death and rebirth. The celebration takes place on October 31, November 1 and November 2."

"Samhain (pronounced /ˈsɑːwɪn/ sah-win or /ˈsaʊ.ɪn/ sow-in[1] Irish pronunciation: [sˠaunʲ]) is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the "darker half" of the year. It is celebrated from sunset on 31 October to sunset on 1 November, which is nearly halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice."

(both from Wikipedia)

Halloween is all about skimpy outfits, er, trick or treat, ok, Christmas light strands repurposed with orange bulbs, well - ghosts and witches and monsters and politicians.

So in the spirit of spirits, gather around the embers of a dying fire and tell your spookiest ghost story, using at least 3 words (or reasonable derivatives) from this list.

fairy, portal, sacrifice, feast, smoke, winter, slaughter, spirit, veil, ritual, trick, disguise

As a reminder, please write your new pen, post it to your blog, and link to Real Toads using Mr. Linky below. Then, come back later - perhaps after midnight - to read and comment on your fellow poet's own pens.





Tuesday, October 21, 2014

From free to form - Personal Challenge for Björn

Hi there, dear amphibians of a virtual garden, here is Björn, a quite recent tadpole, unaware of consequences of signing up I got an email from the renowned and most skilled poet Hedgewitch. I had missed this slight drawback from signing up to be a toad, but at least one of you will have to expect an email from me the next few days. As many of you might have noticed I share the rare interest of actually write poem to form and meter.


The challenge was fairly straightforward: to take a piece of free-verse of mine that I think could gain from being elaborated to a form poetry such as a pantoum, sonnet, villanelle or terza rima. Often I write my  form poetry because they help me get inspired with the progression of the poem, the rhymes for instance help me to push the story ahead (a little bit like found poetry). On the other hand when I write free verse I’m often inspired to start with, so form come secondary. Therefore this was more of challenge than I thought to start with.


A while ago Marian wrote a prompt on the music of David Hidalgo. I saw some of the music as a kind of death-dance where the dawn was the end, and I used a refrain there “this night of sanguine hips” and thought that this would work in a villanelle. I thought I wanted to keep the dance in my poem so I went with tetrameter instead of pentameter to make it more in line with the origin of the rural dances that are supposedly the origin of the villanelle. I have reworked this a lot more than I usually do with my  form poetry but I hope it works for you.




This glowing night of sanguine hips

In glowing nights of sanguine hips,
we shed our last maracas tears;
and sway away when sun has slipped.

From burning cheeks, mascara drips,
but doom of dawn is not yet near,
this glowing night of sanguine hips.

With graveyard dust on blood-filled lips,
we’re dancing with the utmost care;
and sway away when sun has slipped.

We’re blessed by songs in sooty scripts
within this shroud the light is dear,
in glowing nights of sanguine hips.

Cause 6 feet under, worms will grip
our corazon of moonlit years.
We sway away when sun has slipped.

You gently let your eyelids zip,
to quench the dread of concrete fears.
Our final night of sanguine hips,
sashay below when sun has slipped.


There is no link-up today, but if you feel inspired to write something from this, put it on the comment section or link it up on an open link challenge.