Friday, August 31, 2012

Transforming Fridays Take Two-Tundra

Hello toads and pond dwellers, Hannah here with your second edition of Transforming Fridays. Last round we explored the Arctic regions and this time we get to morph into  a bit of Tundra. Some of the creatures and land features are the same from these two regions so feel free to express yourself in the gray overlapping area if you wish. For instance, polar bears are in both regions.

The idea I wish to impress is the practice of writing in the POV of someone outside of yourself....plant, animal or a native to the area featured.

So, I’m happy to be opening up the old-great-smelling, “Classics Edition of the World Atlas-Hammond 1967” again for this brief excerpt on the tundra:

“The tundra of the far north is a place of mosses, lichens and stunted flowering plants and trees. About 6% of all land area is tundra, some rocky and barren and the rest covered with seasonally boggy earth over perpetually frozen subsoil, an area so marginal that only specially adapted life forms, such as reindeer, can live here.”

Wikimedia: File:800px-Map-Tundra.png

So, here is a list of tundra ecoregions, some of the possible choices for  the areas you will be inhabiting for your poems.

Sydkapp in Scoresby Sund, East Greenland; skull of Musc Ox in the foreground; vegetation is mostly Salix glauca, Russian research vessel MV MULTANOVSKIY in the fjord. (Wikimedia: Hannes Grobe, AWI).
Kongsfjorden from Blomstrandhalvøya, Kongsfjorden, Spitsbergen (Sval), Wikimedia: Sphinx (Sphinx 00:21, 12 August 2007 (UTC))

Caribou, wolves, musk-oxen, wild yak, arctic hare, lemming, red fox, mountain goat, the tundra swan...
Bewick's Swan, Jan. 2006, Saitama, (Wikimedia: Maga-chan)
The reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), also known as the caribou in North America, is a deer from the Arctic and Subarctic, (Wikipedia/Wikimedia), Male caribou in Alaska, (Dean Biggins (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

...Just to name a few!!

Here’s a general image-list of wildlife,(Plants and animals that live in the tundra), that you can browse through to get an idea for POV. These are basic google images though so you may want to double check the copyright issues by going directly to the source of the image you’re interested in to find out if it can be shared.

Okay....enough of the jibber-jabber...right!!? You know the rules... 1. Have fun! 2. write something brand-new and link up below!

I look forward to reading you all...remember to visit the tundra at each other’s blogs and since it IS Friday....Have a wonderful weekend everyone!! I hope your days are filled to the brim with inspiration!!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Words Count With Mama Zen

 "None of us could breathe; somewhere under those bushes was the rest of Ray Brower. The train had knocked Ray Brower out of his Keds the same way it had knocked the life out of his body. The kid wasn't sick; the kid wasn't sleeping; the kid was dead."

--- from the movie Stand by Me
---based on the novella The Body by Stephen King

A child knocked right out of his tennis shoes . . . gut twisting image, isn't it?  Stephen King apparently thinks so.  That image plays a significant role in at least two of his stories (The Body, Pet Sematary).  And, Keds?  Those iconic shoes of childhood, vulnerability, and innocence appear dozens and dozens of times.  For King, these are power images.

A power image is an image that a writer returns to time after time.  It's part art, part personal mythology, and part creative shorthand.  It's a thing, a sound, an angle of light; it's anything that a writer imbues with a greater meaning than it would ordinarily have and adopts as a signature symbol.  Used well, a power image will . . . well, knock you right out of your Keds.

So, what about you, poet?  What's your power image?  What sort of symbols do you find yourself returning to again and again?  Show us . . . in twenty-five words or less.

Bonus Round!  Think of some of your favorite Toad poets.  Is there some sort of image that you associate with a particular poet?  Do tell!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Open Link Monday

Ella's Frog
Photo credit ~ Ellen Wilson
Good day to all members and followers who happen by the imaginary garden this Monday.  Ellen Wilson sent me these gorgeous pics of her friendly garden amphibian - surely a real toad?

Our weekly Open Link provides all-comers with the opportunity to share a poem, either recent or something saved in the archives.
There are no rules, just the simple stipulation to link up your original work, free from advertising your personal meme, and the encouragement to visit and comment on the work of other poets who use this space. There is no restriction on the poems you may have written and submitted to other sites as an individual prompt response. We would love the opportunity to see the results of your creative endeavors.

Frog's Home
photo credit ~ Ellen Wilson

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Mini-Challenge for Sunday ~ Extreme Close-Up

This weekend's challenge is a combination: form inspired by photography, and is the penultimate Mini-Challenge for Sunday, as this feature will be coming to an end next weekend.

Through Glass Eyes

Today, I am sharing the macro photography of my daughter, Jaime Clark, with all the toads of the Imaginary Garden, as inspiration for the Shadorma form of poetry writing.

Bougainvillean Dreams

The Shadorma is a simple syllabic verse form, which is surely familiar to many of our poets. It is most effective when written using strong words or phrases.

The Shadorma is:

1. a hexastich, a poem in 6 lines
2. syllabic, 3-5-3-3-7-5 syllables per line.
3. unrhymed.

A Single Drop

Macro photography is extreme close-up photography, usually of very small subjects, in which the size of the subject in the photograph is greater than life size, and our challenge today is to use the Shadorma to achieve a similar effect in poetry, by focusing on the most minute of details.

Bee in Bottlebrush

One may use the form as the basis of a single stanza, and include several stanzas in a complete poem, but for this prompt I would like you to use a single six-line poem for the picture you choose. However, you may choose to write on more than one picture.


Jaime has generously offered these beautiful photos for our poetic inspiration. If you add an image to your post, please acknowledge the name of the artist.


The Free Verse alternative for today is to write to the theme: "Extreme Close-Up".

Just Dandy

The Sunday Challenge is posted on Saturday at noon CST to allow extra time for the creative process, so please do not link up old work which kind of fits the image. This is in the spirit of our Real Toads project to create opportunities for poets to be newly inspired. Management reserves the right to remove unrelated links but invites you to share a poem of your choice on Open Link Monday.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fireblossom Friday #10..."Lights, Camera, Love!"

Hello Toads and Toad friends. It's me, Fireblossom, with your Friday challenge! You know what? Let's not do what we're supposed to do today. Let's go to the movies instead! HERE is a very cool video of movie love scenes, which I can't embed, but it will come up in a new window so you don't have to leave the page to watch.

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
You know how a really good love story leaves you feeling so breathless? What I want you to do, is to write a love poem, and to write it so that it moves us, like the best movies do.

Nobody wants to see a movie where they get together, they work in the shoe store for forty years, they watch the late news and then die. Whether it's a joyful or a tragic story, make us feel it! Take a risk. Let your heart show.

Jane Eyre
You can write about something that happened decades ago, or only last night. You can write about something that never happened at all, but that you can imagine, and which moves you.

So, come on. Tell us about two people. Tell us a love story. I do ask that your poem be a new one, written for this prompt, and that you kindly link back to Toads. Don't forget to sign the linky, so that everyone can come and see. Happy writing!

Brief Encounter

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ella's Edge

I would like to  share with you an art process I discovered. It sounds odd, but I love the results.   I found this product called CitraSolv. It is a natural cleaner and degreaser made from orange essential oil.  Yes, my art smells great, lol.   You can read more about it HERE.  This cleaner removes ink on  National Geographic magazines.  The ink their publication uses reacts to the chemical compounds of the cleaner. My photos show the results. I thought about doing a before n' after, but I didn't want to worry about copyright issues.  Anyway, I though this would make an interesting prompt. I think of the art as being like an Indian Spirit Walker.

An Indian spiritwalker is one, who walks with the spirits to receive guidance and wisdom to use for his people's benefit.  Various techniques are used to achieve a trance-like state such as fasting, rhythmic drums and songs, psychotropic drugs, isolation or sensory deprivation and dressing in animal skins and masks. The journey to the spirit world helps to seek answers to questions on community issues such as famine, disease or individual healing; dream interpretation or weather prediction, etc.   Native Americans believe that their guiding spirits meet the spiritwalker in this trance and pass on the wisdom their tribe needs.

Your challenge is to pick a photo and see what wisdom speaks to you and share your wisdom in a poem~

    Big Sky Road

Wishing Tree

Soul's Wing

Spirit Guide

Unfulfilled Dreams

I hope if you try this art experiment,  you will tell me. I would love to see what you come up with :D
It is fascinating how it manipulates the ink and blurs the lines.  I hope the photo you pick, speaks to you, guides you.  I look forward to your insight, I mean poems~    I know I wish we could all meet someday and have a big Toad Pow wow!  ;D   Did you know if you see a toad, it is a good omen~

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Coal Black Challenges Izy (redacted)

from government file A7YT Gazelle Panda.  Proof of lampost, in reflection.  Copyrighted, Isadora Gruye Photography.

From government file A7YT Gazelle Panda 
Proof of anarchic sub culture: article 1764
From the personal gmail account of Isadora Gruye, August 11, 2012.
From:  Shay
Re:  personal challenge

(though large portions of the original message were redacted in the interest of national security, beekeepers, and cartographers, the context of message remains whole and intact.  For the first time, this authentic message is presented to you, the Real Toads community)

Hi, Izy! It's my turn to issue someone from Toads a Personal Challenge. Here is my challenge for you, though you have the option to decline. If you can't do it, please let me know so that I can challenge my second choice

Here is your challenge girl: Feel The Burn. I want you to write something that has to do with fever. You could write about a personal fever, either physical or otherwise, or about a wider fever such as an epidemic or a panic

You up for it, lady? Let me know. :-) (end of message)

Government sources deeply embedded in the “poetry” counter culture confirm that these sorts of renegade challenges are commonplace.  If you read the response below your personal safety and moral well being cannot be guaranteed.  The freedom of information act requires it is provided to you in its entirety.  Reader beware, the following piece of propaganda attempts to intertwine the ideals of fever from childhood to sex to melancholia.  Though not contagious, per say, its ideals are wavering at best. 

knocking honey in her comb


The night John Lennon was shot,
her fever set on quickly
from an untreated ear infection.
(she was a good baby and never fussed,
  how could momma have known)
Her tiny body convulsed,
and pearly white spittle
rose from her blistered breast fed lips.
Momma set her in an ice bath
until the ambulance arrived.
She spent a week swaddled 
in hospital issued diapers.
She would have to relearn how to walk,
how to babble the words
she had spoken so clearly before.


The plain boy from the coffee shop
taught her phrases, eloquent and brutal:
knocking honey in her comb.
The leather restraints rubbed her wrists raw,
but afterward he kissed them profusely,
bowing in worship of her
shoulder blades
her knees 
and her breasts.
The heat off their backs
brought a soft sweat
which made her IKEA sheets 
smell like nutmeg.


The water smells 
of saffron and urine,
and the roughness of the riverbed
bites her bare feet.
She is not Ophelia
not Persephone
not Anne of Green Gables.
All the same, the embankments
are shaking with sadness
and her forehead is hot with worry.
She wades a bit further into the water, 
dipping her wrists across the currents.
She’s trying so hard to forget
how to babble
the terrible thoughts
she knew so clearly before.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Open Link Monday

Flickr Creative Commons

I think that wherever we live in the varied world, we are all feeling that the change of seasons is almost upon us, something which is sure to be reflected in our gardens, parks, farms or flower boxes. After reading many poems over the weekend, I notice how clearly it is reflected in our writing too, as evident change in our surroundings is bound to stimulate creative thought. It is always a delight for me to find myself in this particular garden on a Monday, and I look forward to enjoying many pieces of writing shared on this open forum today.

Everyone is welcome to join in with original writing, so please link up your latest piece, or a poem from your archives.  Stay a while, and visit with those who have linked up alongside you - your words of encouragement are greatly appreciated.

Flickr Creative Commons
Ewan Traveler

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Sunday Challenge ~ Featuring Scriptor Senex

We recently had an incident, here on Real Toads, regarding the rightful use of images on blogs, and it saddened me to see so many of us scrambling around to "clean up" our sites for fear of reprisal. However, something very good has arisen from that occasion with so many of our members and visitors generously offering their pictures for our use, that I am heartened, once again, by the positive energy of our Imaginary Garden.

One of the first visitors to generously offer his work for our poetic inspiration is out Featured Photographer today, but I shall hand over to him for a personal introduction.

Portrait of the Artist
My name is John Edwards but I write as Scriptor Senex (Latin for Old Writer) and have been blogging since 2005; about my garden, about holidays and from 2007 a general mixed bag of postings. I’m a retired local government executive now studying how to survive a neurological disorder that gives me various problems but, hopefully, a whole new outlook on life and an increased sense of humour and perspective. 

I’ve lived most of my life around Liverpool but have toured the UK with a camera since the early 1960s. I’m proud of my home city, its amazing architecture and its contribution to music and culture over the years. During my life I’ve had two spells of poetry writing. The first was in the 60s and 70s, very much inspired by the Liverpool Poets - Adrian Henri, Roger McGough and Brian Patten - and by being in love a few times!

Liverpool Sky
© John Edwards

I have two daughters and a son, all now grown up, and over the years they have been the subject of many thousands of my photos. But my wife and I also had a son, David, who died in infancy. His death inspired a spell of constant writing – both poetry and prose - as a way of attempting to combat my grief. Appropriately his brief life resulted in probably my shortest ever poem, David Was, which was published in an anthology.

© John Edwards

David Was
                 by Scriptor Senex

David Was
David Is
And David always Will Be
But, dear Lord,
Whatever happened to
What David Might Have Been?


John has generously offered these beautiful photos for our poetic inspiration. If you add an image to your post, please acknowledge the name of the artist.

Family History
© John Edwards

Family history has always fascinated me and my great uncle traced one of our family lines back to the English yeomanry of the 1400s. I am a terrible hoarder of anything that I think future generations may find of interest and I like to excuse it on the grounds that one of my descendants may also inherit the family history gene.

Small Copper
© John Edwards

Of all the animals and plants I have ever come across the butterflies have remained my favourites since I first got interested in them in my teens. Flying flowers – what more could one want on a summer’s day?

In Their Sixties
© John Edwards

My parents began fell walking in England’s Lake District in the 1920s and continued doing so into their sixties. I began at the age of ten but gave up in my forties and my walking is nowadays restricted to gentle strolls. But being out in the countryside and enjoying nature remains my principal love. Few things please me more or give me more inspiration than being alone in a wood listening to the birds calling, insects humming and those little rustles suggestive of small mammals hurrying about their business.

© John Edwards

Please visit John's blogsites to enjoy more of his writing and photography but bear in mind that for this challenge, we are to make use only of the photos displayed on Real Toads:

Rambles From My Chair

Scriptor's Postcrossing

The Sunday Challenge is posted on Saturday at noon CST to allow extra time for the creative process, so please do not link up old work which kind of fits the image.  This is in the spirit of our Real Toads project to create opportunities for poets to be newly inspired. Management reserves the right to remove unrelated links but invites you to share a poem of your choice on Open Link Monday.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mary's Mixed Bag - Neighborhood


Mazatlan, Mexico neighborhood
Photo by Mary Kling

This week here at Mary's Mixed Big I'd like people to think a bit about neighborhood. Sometimes I feel like we have an ideal 'neighborhood' here in the Imaginary Garden, don't you?  Sometimes I also wonder about the real life neighborhoods that Toads and Friends here live in. Wouldn't it be fun if we could take virtual visits and zip around and visit one another's neighborhoods?

I think the neighborhood of mine that lives the strongest in my mind is my childhood neighborhood. It really IS the neighborhood that I still know best. My impressions of it are the strongest of any neighborhood I have lived in.  I wonder which of your neighborhoods lives the strongest in YOUR mind. (Perhaps you can respond to that in the comments section.)

New York City neighborhood
Photo by Mary Kling

Today I would like you to choose one of the neighborhoods you have lived in or the one you live in today. Write a poem about it, giving us as many sensory details as you can muster. Give us its flavor, perhaps its cast of characters, the sights, the smells, sounds, and hopefully some of the goings on. Write the seen and perhaps the unseen. (All neighborhoods have undercurrents, don't they?)

I look forward to reading what you write, of visiting you in one of your neighborhoods and will enjoy it if you pay a visit to mine!

Milwaukee, Wisconsin neighborhood
Photo by Mary Kling

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Treat on Thursday

I would like to apologize to our members and regular followers for the lack of challenge yesterday and offer an unexpected Thursday Treat to make up for it. I was fortunate, recently, to come across this video clip of Margaret Atwood reading from her book, The Tent, a collection of mini-fictions on a range of interesting subjects.

This story presents us with an unique view of an iconic figure, Helen of Troy, from an entirely unexpected angle. The collection also includes a piece wherein Horatio gives his real opinion of Hamlet.
What a rare treat this offers the writer!  Literature and history offer us a wealth of characters to choose from, and present from the viewpoint of a jealous sibling, neglected spouse, spurned lover or unappreciated servant.  Take for example a description of Scarlett O'Hara from Mammy's perspective... The possibilities are endless.

I hope we will all have some fun with this idea. If nothing immediately springs to mind, take it away with you to work on in your own time and share the end result with us at a later date.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Open Link Monday

Let's take a walk in the garden...

Flickr Creative Commons
Good day to all toads, wanderers and bards! You are all most welcome to rest awhile in our garden. Share a tale, visit with a friend, leave your thoughts behind.

This open link affords us all the opportunity to present a poem of our own choice, without any stipulation except that this space be treated with due consideration for all, in the Real Toads spirit.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Mini-Challenge for Sunday ~ Cyhydedd Hir

Try this: cuh-hée-dedd heer. 

Pembroke Castle, Wales
Manfred Heyde
Yes, this weekend we are visiting Wales, where we will become familiar with one of their many ancient forms of poetic expression.

The basis of Cyhydedd Hir is a single line of 19 syllables, and two rhymes, set out as follows:

x x x x A x x x x A x x x x A x x x B (where x is a single syllable)

However many variations of this pattern are possible.


x x x x A x x x x A 
x x x x A x x x B


x x x x A
x x x x A
x x x x A x x x B


x x x x A
x x x x A
x x x x A 
x x x B

Further explanation and example: HERE

The final poem should consist of the basic 19 syllable variation repeated four times with new rhymes introduced within each section.

A typical pattern is as follows:


xxxA  (or D)
xxxA  (or D)

The capital letters denote that the fourth lines contain the weighted or main rhyme.

 Further explanation and example: Here.

This is a form I experimented with a while ago and I have linked a few below as examples.  I had a lot of fun within the parameters, but I have not tried all the variations.

In Your Hands

Questions Fielded 


Prince Charles Quay, Wales
Poet: Ceri Wyn Jones
Photo: Stephen McKay
While looking through images of Welsh poetry, I noticed that many examples are to be found on walls, buildings and memorials.

Poet: Cynan
Photo: Alan Fryer

Quarryman's Memorial
Photo: Eric Jones
The Free Verse theme, therefore, is "Poetry written on Walls".

The Sunday Challenge is posted on Saturday at noon CST to allow extra time for the form challenge. Management reserves the right to remove unrelated links, but invites you to share a poem of your choice on Open Link Monday.

All images sourced at Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Word with Laurie: Miscreant

I always enjoy having the opportunity to read through poems that have been posted to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads' prompts in search of ideas for A Word with Laurie. So far, I've used words from Verse Escape, Confessions of a Laundry Goddess, Skylover and Runaway Sentence. This week, I chose one from our newest member and my dear friend, Buddah Moskowitz of I Hate Poetry. In his latest response to Izy's Doomsday challenge, JC 2.0, miscreants caught my eye. When I asked his permission for this, Mosk said the word was his daughter's favorite insult when she was eight. Hmm... somehow I can relate.

Photo by L. Kolp

The definition, according to

mis·cre·ant (mskr-nt)
1. An evildoer; a villain.
2. An infidel; a heretic

Photo by L. Kolp

Wiktionary's definition of miscreant:
  1. adj. Lacking in conscience or moral principles; unscrupulous.
  2. adj. Holding an incorrect religious belief.
  3. n. One who has behaved badly, or illegally.
  4. n. One not restrained by moral principles; an unscrupulous villain.
  5. n. One who holds an incorrect religious belief; an unbeliever.

Photo by L. Kolp

Now use your imagination and write a poem using miscreant. Perhaps my photos will inspire you. If you use one, all I ask is that you give me proper credit. Here's more of my pictures, if you're interested. Link your piece below and visit others taking part in the challenge.