Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The end :: Izy and Kenia - In Tandem

Hello toads! This is Izy and Kenia, and we're here to share the outcome of writing together closing the month of celebrations of IGWRT first anniversary. 

We were both so happy to be paired up for Toads in Tandem.  We had never worked together previously, and Izy had never even written a collaborative poem.  We had lots of fun discussing our project. We decided to go with a poetic urban intervention, after discovering we are both fans of Bansky and street art. The idea was to share the poem by leaving it in places where people wouldn't expect to find poetry. 

We picked a theme when Izy described her recent infatuation with the show 'Doomsday Preppers': she had watched a few episodes online. "It's all about people who are preparing for way beyond realistic doomsday scenarios." She explained, "They spend most of their waking hours preparing for this inevitable big bad that they think is looming over their shoulders but will never really happen.  What if we approached it from the angle of love your doomsday, something that would make it okay to be at peace with the chaos?" Kenia was immediately in love with the idea, and we decided to go forward with the Love Your Doomsday theme. 

So this is basically what the poem is about - a positive look into the end of the world. We took turns writing the stanzas. Izy opened the poem, and then the back and forth began. The poem has four stanzas that represent the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. We wanted to make it this meaningful. Kenia has printed 50 copies that she will continue sticking to lampposts, phone boots, walls, buses etc. in her surroundings.

The End

Momma spent years waiting for the floods
which would split the roads open
and the fiery sky that would burn.
She lined the garage shelves
with cream of mushroom soup
canned green beans
and fried onions
enough munitions to make
green bean casserole forever.
In the gun safe, she kept duplicates
of all her John Lennon albums,
for when that final day turned to night.

Dad couldn’t care less about
the floods or the fire.
He  had a beer regularly
watched soccer religiously
cursed occasionally
and made plans for the unlikely future:
to mend the rain gutter
to replace the Toyota’s blown tail light
to mown the lawn.

At the dinner table, no one spoke
of the things we knew where happening:
the foulness of the hot wind which clawed
and banged at the shuttered windows without end,
the dimness of noon which grew only dimmer,
and the smoke that rose from the ground,
tarring the backyard an endless yellow.

We learned silence and resilience
performing our chores.
We learned the lines in our palms
and on one another's faces
they revealed roads we walked,
in good times and in bad.
I remember, we smiled.
The minute past,
the minute ahead,
in the blink of eyes
They are gone -
what in the world
is ours to keep?

And because we both love photography, you can see some of the places this poem visited. 

(more photo taken by Kenia can be found here)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Open Link Monday

Calling All Toads to the Garden...

Normanack on Flickr
Creative Commons

This is the last open link of our anniversary month, and I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their thoughts shared, and incredible support of this site.  It fills me with the inspiration to embark on the second year of our group project in the hope it will go from strength to strength.  A special word of gratitude to those members who undertook to work together on our paired collaborations.  We have enjoyed the exceptional results of brilliant minds working together, and we will end this feature with our last post tomorrow. Be sure to drop in!

On this bright Monday, our open link provides everyone with the opportunity to share a poem of his or her choice, with no restrictions, except that it be the original work of the individual, and does not promote another  meme, or serve as any form of advertisement. Management reserves the right to remove any inappropriate links.
Please treat this invitation in the spirit in which it is intended, which includes visiting the blogs of the wonderfully talented poets who post alongside you and have a very happy day.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Mini-Challenge for Sunday ~ The Prince

This weekend challenge is a continuation of the Ballade form, which we became familiar with under the title of The Monk's Tale Stanza, or Huitain.  Our challenge is to take this poetic form one step further to the Dizain.

Dizain is a decastich, a whole poem made up of a single Ballade Supreme stanza, a 10 line stanza.

Line length: 8 or 10 syllables, iambs are not a prerequisite.

Rhyme Scheme: a b a b b c c d c d 


For those who would like to know how these stanzas become part of the whole, I have included the format of the full Ballade form, but this is not a requirement for today's challenge.
Source: Goodreads.com

The Ballade, itself, could not be called a mini-challenge, but I will leave instructions here for those who may like to attempt the full poem.

Also known as "The Prince", because it traditionally began with the salutation: "Prince!" as its opening word, in homage to the judges of Medieval poetry competitions, the Ballade uses the basic Huitain form for its stanzas, with the addition of line 8 becoming a repeated refrain and the poem ending on a climactic envoy of 4 lines.  Read more about the form, and see an example HERE.

The entire poem consists 28 lines: 3 eight line stanzas (with the final line repeated throughout) and the 4 line envoy.

Rhyme Scheme:  a b a b b c b C   a b a b b c b C   a b a b b c b C and the envoy b c b C

For those even more intrepid, The Ballade Supreme takes the Dizain form to a 35 line completed poem.  Find the instructions HERE.



For those who prefer the Free Verse option, your theme is "The Prince" (or "The Princess").

PS. There seems to be some confusion as to what this challenge entails.  It calls only for the ten line Dizain, and for neither the Ballade nor Ballade Supreme, which I have noted here for the sake of interest only.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Transforming Fridays

Welcome dear Real Toads, this is Hannah bringing you Transforming Fridays!! 

My intention is to stretch our imaginations beyond where we might normally explore in the area of our choices in point of view. In order to achieve this goal we’ll venture into each of the natural vegetation regions of the world! From the Tundra to the Rain Forest and beyond… :)

So some sweet serendipity came to me in the form of this really wonderfully old-smelling book, “the Classics Edition of the World Atlas-Hammond 1967.” My sister and I are helping my eighty-nine year old Grammy move to an assisted living home this summer that is closer to the two of us and in the process it has been great fun tripping down memory lane in the form of all the material treasures that hold so many memories for us!! This book is one of them and the excerpt below lives in it.

This week I offer you the, “Snow and Ice,” region of the world. Polar and Mountainous regions of perpetual ice and snow cover one-tenth of the earth’s land area. Windswept, always below freezing it can support life only peripherally, if at all.

(Oh, I wish you guys could smell this book!! Did I mention I love the odor of old books! ;)

For those of us feeling the heat of summer, I thought we might enjoy delving onto the ice!! 

This in-flight photo from the IceTrek expedition shows the edge of the Larsen B Ice Shelf. The surface is melted, and ice flows off the edge like a waterfall. Photo Credit: Courtesy Ted Scambos and Rob Bauer, NSIDC.

The Cryosphere Glossary here’s a handy link if you have any questions or simply want to play with some arctic language.

(This thin sea ice has buckled Image courtesy Andy Mahoney and the National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder).

So here are some links to images of some of the typical animal and plant wildlife that one would find in the arctic region.  

Here’s one of my favorites!
(Image/photo courtesy of the National Snow
and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder).

One could embody arctic sea-smoke or become the epitome of a giant slow moving alpine glacier. The choice is  yours. The only rule is that if you’re going to choose to be human you must write from the POV of a native to that region and portray life from their particular view...

(Illanguau checks the sled before the group sets off again.Image courtesy Andy Mahoney and the National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder).

….or the perspective of one of their team of helpers!

(This paw print was left by a sled dog Image courtesy Andy Mahoney and the National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder).

Okay, call me a fibber! There are two other rules...write and link something brand spankin’ new...no sharing oldsies and above all...have so much fun!!! 

:)’s to all poetic toads and peeps in the pond today!! I hope you enjoy this, I’m looking forward to finding out who each of you chooses to be and remember to hop around to everyone’s bloggy-pads, too, when you get the chance!!

Also, if you wish to dedicate your poems to details of global awareness with topics such as the decline in sea ice etc.  feel free to “go there,” if you like.

Most of the images and information I’ve gathered is accredited to the National Snow and Ice Data Center,  any additional information on such topics can be found there. It’s a great informational tool!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Words Count With Mama Zen

Good morning, Toads!

Welcome to Words Count with Mama Zen, a new monthly feature exploring the oft unappreciated art of not writing.


No, seriously.  How many times have you read a poem that would have been stellar . . . if it had not dragged on for six more unnecessary stanzas?  How many times have you been the guilty author of that poem?  There are thousands and thousands of tips out there to get us past writer's block, but little or nothing about how and when to shut the hell up.

Here, we will work on it together.

Let's get started with a little challenge.  Poets are often accused of living in their own little worlds.  So, tell me about yours . . . in thirty-five words or less.  Free verse or form; your choice.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"Tandem Toads," with Hannah and Ella

Hello fellow Toads...Ella and Hannah here with our special collaborative poem; we’ve been joyfully fusing our muses for you all!!

Hannah n’ I have a few things in common, we both love the color green, we both love to frequent our favorite watering holes and we both were born and raised in Maine. Where were you born? 

(Ella)  I was born in Belfast, Maine, but also have lived in Bangor, Winter Harbor and Brunswick.  I grew up in Searsport, where the heaven kisses the sea and hugs the shore.

(Hannah) I was born in Portland and have lived in Bath, Brunswick, Yarmouth and Georgetown, (the latter is where my heart poetically leaps from, mostly, anywhere green that's sprinkled with the salted sea)!

Little fact about distance between our birth cities?
Distance between Portland, Maine (ME) and  Belfast, Maine (ME)
How many miles? 102 Miles / 174 Km
How many hours? This take 2 hours 3 mins

This is Georgetown, the pond that awakened my 
heart poetically in my early worded years and the 
ocean and trees have inspired my poetry and prose since. 
Perhaps Ella and I will meet here for a ride in a kayak someday!!     

Hannah, this my pond, the Penobscot Bay. 
Maybe someday we will visit it, when
I come back home! It is in Searsport, Maine, 
where my poetic soul sprouted roots.

Oh, this is beautiful, Ella!! There're two chairs 
ready with our names on them!! ;)

So here it is poetic friends!!! The big "Tandem Toad," effort...
and we're offering it to you in a form!!

The villanelle is 19-line poem consisting of 5 tercets and a final quatrain. It requires no set meter, nor number of syllables per line. It carries a pattern of only two rhyme sounds (ABA in 5 tercets, and then ABAA in final quatrain). The first and third lines of the first tercet repeat alternately as a refrain closing the succeeding stanzas, and rejoin as the final couplet of the quatrain.

Mainely Green Origins

 We've roiling roots in the same corner of this verdant earth,
 as we beautifully unfurl like briny wharf roses in the rain     
 our salty ponds glistened, as the loon wailed announcing our births.

   A tidal pool with seaweed lace exposes our labyrinth’s girth,
      the blue lined horizon outlines our gracious pinegreen domain;
    we've roiling roots in the same corner of this verdant earth.

    Stepping over invisible boundaries,we arrive from this emerald turf,
   the eastern most tip of the nation, born each of a salted bay in Maine;
    our salty ponds glistened, as the loon wailed announcing our births.

  Enamored by our rocky coast, threads of floating light and surf,
we embrace our (fertile) lives in transcending patina terrain;
  we've roiling roots in the same corner of this verdant earth.

These feet have heated a spiral of joy in a jade-sea of worded worth,
miles and time had separated us and then brought us together again;
our salty ponds glistened, as the loon wailed announcing our births.

These hearts began beating, green-loving and full of verbacious mirth,
the mermaid’s song spreads its blue blanket in our garden of Zen.
We've roiling roots in the same corner of this verdant earth,
 our salty ponds glistened, as the loon wailed announcing our births.

  Collaboration © Copyright  protected for Ella Wilson and Hannah Gosselin

It has been such a joy working on this together!!! 
We've made plans to meet...

When Ella comes home, she and I will be meeting 
at my favorite watering hole,“Café Creme!” 

We can’t wait!

This is inside my favorite watering hole. 
They use coffee bags for curtains. It is called Muddy Waters.  
Hannah if you are ever in my neck of the woods, we will meet here. :D  

I'd love that, Ella!!!

We're so grateful for this pond we've been blessed to share!! Thank you, fellow toads for joining us in this tribute toward our salted-birth-ponds today!! All the Best and Smiles from us both!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Open Link Monday

Calling all toads ...

Normanack on Flickr
Creative Commons

Welcome to all poets who have come to join us in the imaginary garden this Monday.  As you may know, our blog name was derived from Marianne Moore's Poetry, more specifically the lines:

One must
make a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
result is not poetry,
nor till the poets 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 is often our task to create an imaginative environment in which the harsh realities of human existence is exposed; it is not our business to fear the 'real toads', but to drag them out from under their rocks and examine them for poetic truth.  It is also true, that all poets owe a huge debt to those who have come before them, the intrepid path-finders, who led the way by their own examples.  
In our anniversary month, it would have been remiss of me not to acknowledge the very poet who gave rise to our mission here at Real Toads.  

Read more about Marianne Moore HERE.

Once again, you are invited to share a poem of your choice with us - something old; something new.  The work should be original, and an individual piece. Please do not use our link to advertise your own blogsite or meme.  Management reserves the right to remove inappropriate links.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Sunday Mini Challenge

Surprise, it is me, Ella posting the Sunday Mini Challenge. Today I would like you to time travel with me, to another era. Yes, I have been swimming in the attic again, with the dust motes.  This time I found a box of sepia photos tucked away in an old trunk. I love vintage photos. I love the look, the outfits, and the time worn color. I wonder what  their lives were like?!    On occasion, I  purchase photos and use them in my art work.  These are from my personal stash. 

Your challenge is  to adopt an ancestor and give him or her a voice.  Imagine what they lives were like, their struggles and their joy.   Who where they?  What was their day like?  What was their name?  Adopt an ancestor and give us clues, about their past.   Select a photo, that stirs an emotion in you.

Here are a few photos I purchased. If nothing speaks to you go to this web site and select one. If you select from this site or another one, be sure to link it to the owner.  :D

I look forward to kicking the dust around with you and see what memories are stirred. This reminds me, I need to make sure I write and date all my personal, family photos.  Do you date and write names on all of yours?   I know with online photos we have advantages, but I still enjoy holding a vintage photo and reliving a memory.  I can't wait to hear your voice behind these faded photos!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fireblossom Friday--The Devil, You Say!

Hello Toads and Toad followers. It's me, Fireblossom, with another Fireblossom Friday! 

I don't mean to shock you, but...

...this time, we're going to the devil!

The devil may take unexpected forms,

or try to get you to do unhealthy things.

I want to tempt you to write something about the devil, or any of his minions. Incubi, Succubi, imps, witches, all of them are fair game.

Just take a little trip with me.

All our friends will be there! Just write a new poem for this prompt, having anything to do with devils or their underlings. Then link up and...

...pray you haven't gone wrong for good!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

the road

    Straining to hear
Broken eggshell pieces on white plate of the day,
    drops of leftover rain
scattered leaves on brown feet of the road--
    bouncing from leaf to leaf
where does one find the path on these highways?
    in surround sound--

Inside the mailbox, spider dusty,
    Trucks rumble by, 
outside the lamp post, black sentinel.
    an engine idles, 
On the roped mat, where are the footprints?
    children holler. 
In the river of stones, where are the fish?
    It's like trying to hear a rainbow 
In the smoggy sky, where are the banners?
    from the bottom of a well.

We trudge in the lead-stained edges of our palms

    Struggling to coax the sun
in the everyday, seeking the spark to move our lips.

    from the corners of her eyes
We flounder, scouring the sea with nets and ropes

    to light and heal
to find that the pearl is inside us. The fire is within us
    the parts of her that are ravaged.

We marvel at the sunrise on the moon-shaped lake,
    She heard about a man
whose arms are wide as the river, face of red wine.    
    who wrapped himself in plastic
Gather all the broken pieces, layer a brick stone,    
    and lay on a hot tar roof,
lean on your back, a forest sleeps in your hands.
    begging the sun to come and heal him.
We build the road, one step at a time. 

This meandering created by  
Grace and Marian.

Happy Birthday to Imaginary Garden With Real Toads! 
We are honored and grateful to be part of this inspiring group.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bonus Open Link

Greetings to all toads and visitors to the imaginary garden!

Today marks the official anniversary of Real Toads, and I invite you all to join in our celebration by sharing a poem, using the Mr Linky, or your thoughts, in the comment box. It also happens to be Mandela Day, marking Nelson Mandela's 94th birthday. He has made a world-wide appeal for people to donate their time - exactly 67 minutes - to serving others. Perhaps this might inspire some poetic thoughts in you today.

My personal thanks go to everyone who has made this site the success it is. You are an on-going source of inspiration to more people than you can imagine.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Toad's "In Tandem" with Margaret & Corey

Joseph Sherrick Farm, outside Sharpsburg, MD.  Site of the Antietam Civil War Battle

Tattered Glory


Upon whitewashed porch I pause, 
unwilling to flee, unable to stay,
gaze upon our fields of wheat, flax and corn;
the only truth I understand...
Floorboards vibrate with distant drums;
death's march surely heading our way.
Hold your letter loosely, wishing 
instead I held your hand.
Your namesake remains, he is my rock,
but dear, our Johnny’s run off 
wearing treacherous Union blue!
My heart bleeds, shattered in two.

My Love, 

           The time is ripe for justice and truth
The sound of drums carries my heart and my want
If God desires me to be beholden to righteousness
Then I raise my arms in defense of my land, my ancestors
Glory be to God
  My son, I have left you with the burden of a lifetime
Yet you accept even when the temptation of battle sings
  I will owe you my love and my land as compensation
  For honoring our home and our roots as cause.... dear boy

          Glory be to God
  My precious girl, your eyes carry me forward and up
To guard a way of life given freely by the hand of fate
Too young to understand these words or my pursuit
But one day you will read these words and rejoice in our way


A tattered letter, three months old, I caress,
your hand still bold; it gives me hope.
My heart cries out for news of our sweet boy!
Weary, weary, I sit.  Imagine 
beneath my feet, cellar shelves stocked 
with your favorite: butter; apple, peach 
and plum, crocks of preserves, sugar, 
flour, a winter’s worth of huckleberry stew.
But it’s gone!  We evacuated hastily, in terror
I grabbed the children, your pocket watch!  
Naught remains, but the clothes upon our backs.
“Be not of the World”  'taint so hard no more.
My Love, 

           I have lost a score of comrades, much sorrow
I can only believe that God has a place for them
  At the head of his table, a great feast in truth’s honor
My eyes have witnessed the blood of the battle... they are weary
Keep the faith my friends, my loves
My son, word of your steadfast authority has reached my ears
Keep your eyes on strangers my boy and trust no one
If death comes knocking swallow the key and be sure
That I am doing my best to stem the tide
Keep the faith my friends, my loves
  My precious girl, growing undeterred on the door step of hell
I barely had the chance to calm your cries, a man’s real duty
But if God wills, I will return and coddle you ten fold
And patch the cuts and bruises of war and you will grow

Our precious Mary greets rows of rag tag boys 
that pass our way.  One confessed “I may 
now find peace as Heaven’s surely as fine
as your blue eyes”.  He reminded me of you.
Oh sweetest husband, come back, matters not 
if you aren’t whole.  Just forever hold me.
I’m hungry, cold, lonely...  Glories price to steep to bear;
Sweet Jesus!  Our Johnny’s dead!  Buried who knows where.
I’m too drained to cry, too tired to comfort little Jacob,
Will, baby Lisbeth.  Darling, desert this God forsaken cause!
Together we can rally; rebuild this house, our life;
but what kind of crops will grow, fertilized with blood soaked misery?
My Love, 

            My faith in God’s plans is tested daily, I question
My desire to return whole has passed with the spirits
One hundred thousand men before me, I fear its fate
Your letters and soft skin mask mud, blood and hunger
Goodbye dear ones, keep the faith
My son, the time has come to wrap neat the past
Take only what is dear and move on with protective hands
Place them on the heads of the women and cry
For the tides have turned and God’s will favors others thinking
Goodbye dear ones, keep the faith
My precious girl, I hope you have your mother’s eyes
And keen sense of what makes this world turn... beautifully
Remember me as the ghost of perseverance and love
Of an idea whose time has run its ill conceived course
by Margaret Bednar (Art Happens 365and Corey Rowley (Herotomost)

How fun was this!?  Corey Rowley, you made this collaboration process a pure joy, and not because you agreed 100% with what I wanted to do (although that does make things go quite smoothly when working with me) but because of your talent, encouragement, and eagerness.

Thank you, Kerry, for such a fun experience and such a wonderfully tended garden, and we hope everyone enjoys this collaboration written in celebration of the Imaginary Garden with Real Toad's one year anniversary.