Tuesday, April 30, 2013

1 to 30, A to Z!

Congratulations, Fair Toads! You did it! You made it to Day 30 of National Poetry Writing Month. Only one more poem to go... So let’s make it a doozy, I say. Something to remember!

It’s a simple challenge, really. Starting with the letter A, every next word should start with the next letter of the alphabet. Like this:
April brings
challenges daily--
Everything feels
great here...
I did this challenge some time ago, with four trips through the alphabet. (If you’re interested to see it, click here.) No length requirement today, except for a minimum of 26 words, A-Z. Trip through the alphabet as many times as you like. It’s pretty fun once you get going, though I will tell you, X is a rough one. (Even my word heroes, They Might Be Giants, had to get creative with X. See below.)

No admonitions about writing a new poem for this challenge, as if you already have done this, I’d be interested in seeing it! Otherwise, get snapping, Toads. A to Z!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Open Link Monday

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden ...

I can't believe it is the last Monday in April already and we have arrived at our 29th post on Real Toads. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members of Real Toads who jumped in, ensuring a prompt/challenge or link a day. Without their dedication, this extravaganza of poetry would not have been possible. My gratitude also goes to our loyal followers and friends who visited RT every day and helped to keep up the momentum of NaPoWriMo through their participation and support. The merry month of May is sure to be a lot quieter around here, but we will be back to our regular prompts and challenges on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, as well as Open Link Monday. Without further ado, I invite you all to link up a poem today: something old, something new, not borrowed, maybe blue.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Birthday in April ~ Harper Lee

Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books.  I prefer to search library stacks because when I work to learn something, I remember it. 
Harper Lee, O Magazine (June 2006)

Nelle Harper Lee was born on 28 April 1926.

Press Photo
Fair Use
 Certainly she needs no introduction. Her magnum opus, To Kill a Mockingbird, has sold over 30 000 000 copies world wide and was voted the 'Greatest Novel of all Time' in a poll conducted in 2008.

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch
Fair Use

I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird. I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers but, at the same time, I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement. Public encouragement. I hoped for a little, as I said, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I'd expected. 
Harper Lee, quoted in Newquist (1964)

The brilliance of her novel lies in the fact that whoever reads it (wherever that reader may be in the world, or how far removed in time from the 1930s in which the story is set) will not come away from the experience without the deep sense that something of value has been added to their understanding of the world. 

Harper Lee is our source of inspiration today. With no further instructions or restrictions I ask you to focus your writing on a theme, quote, character or personal experience related to To Kill a Mockingbird, in any form you choose.

For a list of quotes visit the Goodreads page.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Transforming Frog Day!!

Hello Toads!!

First, a round of applause to all for participating in the added challenges this month...you all deserve it!!

Secondly, I’m going to do something a little different this time around...

We’ll still be transforming but not based on my old atlas list of ecoregions, today let’s perpetuate some awareness for our friendly cousin the frog for it IS Save the Frogs Day!!

According to the Save the Frogs site:

Save The Frogs Day is the world's largest day of amphibian education and conservation action.

In an effort to raise awareness of the plight of amphibians, the scientific community has declared Saturday April 27th, 2013 the 5th Annual 'Save The Frogs Day'. On this day we encourage the appreciation and celebration of amphibians by people from all walks of life. Only a small proportion of our public is aware that frogs are disappearing, and amphibian conservation efforts will not be successful with an un-informed public. Our goal is to make the amphibian extinction crisis common knowledge, and Save The Frogs Day is our best way to make this happen!

So, also there’s a running poetry competition!!

The 2013 SAVE THE FROGS! Poetry Contest will run from January 15th to October 15th, 2013. All ages and nationalities are encouraged to enter!

There’s a lot to explore over there so jump on over if you get a chance!

In the meantime my challenge to you today is to go roaming and find a frog to give voice to!

Try to relay a bit of their environment and feel free to add any details that make the species you chose to feature unique.

This guy looks like he has a lot to say!!

(Image via Photobucket: txquacker)

Please, spill some fresh ink for a new poem written specifically for this inspiration and I hope you’ll have fun leaping around to each other’s poetic frog homes!!

Hoppy writing!! ;)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fireblossom Friday: Not Feeling Like Yourself?

Hello, dear Toads and visitors. Fireblossom here with another Fireblossom Friday challenge. Let me ask you a question: do you ever just not quite feel like yourself? Ever feel like someone handed you the wrong script, or have a moment when you just don't recognize your own life? Goody! That will make my work here easier. Get ready to give your imaginations a work-out.

Native Americans believed that each creature possessed its own "medicine", and that this power, or mojo, could be transferred. I want to take that idea a big step further. Suppose you woke up one morning, and your body was just the same as always, but that the spirit of an animal, or bird, or some other creature, had taken you over from within. 

I don't mean that you wake up wishing you were a bird (for example), or feeling metaphorically like a bird. I mean you wake up and you ARE a bird, but you are still physically human, and can talk, and move in the world that way. The transformation is inner. Imagine how frustrating it would be not to be able to fly. What feelings might you have, looking at ordinary birds? How might your behavior and relationships be altered? 

You can be a tiger or a snake or a mouse or anything you like. Just remember that this is inner reality, not metaphor. To illustrate, if I am an crocodile, I might write something like this:

My children look at me, expecting something.
I slip into the pool, and feel it on my strange soft human skin;
I could sun myself here but my children stand at the edges, calling.
Why?  I can't remember what I am supposed to do.

or, as an elephant:

I am so small, and my nose is useless for the most part.
I have an overwhelming urge to be with my sisters and daughter.
I can smell the water in the tap, three rooms away, and want to lead us to it.
Instead, I drink coffee from a cup, held in these odd human hands.

See? NOT "I wish I was a bird and could fly". No. ZZzzzzzz. 

Not to put too fine a point on things, but experience has taught me this next part is necessary. Fireblossom Friday is a challenge, not a prompt. It isn't a loose suggestion, it's a specific thing, so please either take on the challenge as I have laid it out, or don't link to this challenge. Please don't say, "well, I felt like doing something else", or "I didn't get the memo." Here's the memo. Explore your inner reality of being some kind of non-human creature, and what that would be like. 

One more thing. Minimum of seven lines, which means no haiku. Please link a NEW poem written for this challenge. Thanks, and enjoy! I'll be around to read everyone's entry. Now stretch those imaginations!  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Out of Standard: Cliffs Notes

Greetings Garden Dwellers:

Izy here, back for my final April prompt.  Many of you have been writing at a break neck volume, and I applaud you all.  Today I have something by way of a treat for you, so limber up those writing muscles and warm up the ink in your pens (or, er um, hover lovingly close to your keyboards).  My muddy buddies, I proudly present

Out of Standard--The Cliffs Notes Edition

With each out of standard challenge, I set before you a challenge to defy the conventions of a particular theme.  I call upon you to write out of the standard and find new places in the everyday, and today we are going to retool your favorite story.

And let me be clear here:  by favorite story, I mean that book you return to time and again.  Or that TV show you watch back to back episodes of on a rainy Sunday, or that song, that video game, that painting.  Stories are embedded everywhere, and we all have one we hold above the others.

The Challenge: 

Take your favorite story and condense it into a poem no longer than ten lines, a "Cliffs Notes" version.

Your "Cliffs Notes" should be a reflection of what you feel is most important about the story you chose. For instance...if I were to write a Cliffs Notes poem for Charlotte's Web, I may not even get to mentioning a spider.  On the other hand, if I were to write a Cliffs Notes poem for The Big Lebowski, you'd probably get six lines about bowling and sweet sweet German marmets.  The choice is yours.  

Go now my toadlings and bring me back something shiny and new from the stories you know and love so much!  Also, like every challenge, your poem must be newly written for this challenge and not one which you have previously written which conveniently fits the theme.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hello / Goodbye

A Farewell by Harriet Monroe

GOOD-BY: nay, do not grieve that it is over—
  The perfect hour;
That the winged joy, sweet honey-loving rover,
  Flits from the flower.
Grieve not,—it is the law. Love will be flying—        5
  Yea, love and all.
Glad was the living; blessed be the dying!
  Let the leaves fall.

File:Butterfly On A Tiger Lily (174107415).jpg
Butterfly on Tiger Lily Enjoying the Food 
by audreyjm529 , via Wikimedia Commons

Two prompts in a row!  
What fun!  
And yet, this is my last for a while as I take time off to work on another important project.  I'll be finishing the April challenge and then I'll be here on Mondays, so this isn't goodbye. Yet my last prompt as a Toad and for Day 24 of our April Challenge is:


Write a Hello and/or Goodbye poem. 


A Few (of many) Possibilities:

  1. an entire saga from hello to goodbye of a person, event, toy, place, time of life, or etc 
  2. a goodbye to one that is a hello to another 
  3. a goodbye that is not a goodbye at all
  4. a charm to get rid of or to gain something
  5. anything you want that includes an idea of hello or of goodbye or both
Whatever your focus, get emotional, and make us readers feel that emotion by showing instead of telling.

Here are two examples for you, but remember to consider Haiku and Lune,  Limerick and other forms as well.

(1) John Updike makes me feel loss in one of my favorite goodbye poems.  Here he also celebrates the importance of hello:  

(2) Lisa Russ Spaar explores the possibility of saying goodbye to the self in this wonderful poem:      
Turning to watch you leave,
I see we must always walk toward

other loves, river of   heaven
between two office buildings.

Orphaned cloud, fish soup poppling,
book spined in the open palm. Unstoppable light.

I think it is all right.
Or do tonight, garden toad

a speaking stone,
young sound in an old heart.

Annul the self? I float it,
a day lily in my wine. Oblivion?

I love our lives,
keeping me from it.

Source: Poetry (February 2013). Used by permission of Lisa Russ Spaar.

I love this!    All the sounds and silences she describes!  And Joy.

File:Vasnetsov samolet.jpg
The Flying Carpet, a depiction of the hero of Russian folklore, Ivan Tsarevich,
by Viktor Vasnetsov (1880). Oil, canvas.

~Write a new poem addressing Hello and/or Goodbye.

~Put it in Mr. Linky and leave a comment.

~Come back to read other poems and write comments for the poets. 

~I'll be coming around to visit each of you in the next few days.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Birthday in April ~ Shakespeare

Today, the 23rd of April, is the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth in 1564, and—52 years later—the anniversary of his death.

~Today's Prompt~
Write a new poem inspired by 
Shakespeare, the Bard.

(From Becky To, with permission)

Shakespeare' influence on the English language and on world literature is hard to measure.  Chiefly remembered for his dramatic works, Shakespeare was also an inspired poet. His sonnet sequence - consisting of 154 separate poems - is often cited as "the finest collection of love poems in the English language."  

Title page of Shakespeare's Sonnets (1609)

It is also one of the most mysterious as scholars still do not know the identity of the young man and the Dark Lady who inspired them.  

File:Statue Of Shakespeare.jpg
Statue of Shakespeare in London. Photo Taken by Lonpicman

Other major poems by Shakespeare are: Venus and Adonis (1593), The Rape of Lucrece (1594) and A Lover's Complaint (1609).  These last are narratives complete with drama. In dialogue, they would be plays.


~Ideas for your Shakespeare-inspired poem~

  1. I imagine that I could share a joke or critique with Shakespeare!  What about you?  Try a poem of dialogue with Shakespeare.  
  2. I imagine rivaling him in writing a poem to or about my love.   How about trying this, in sonnet form or free verse?
  3. Or you may celebrate Shakespeare by letting a phrase or a line of his inspire a poem of your own.  You may choose any line from any Shakespeare’s drama or poems.  Here are a few of my favorite lines which may inspire you: 
~“Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.” 
~“Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?” 
~“So are you to my thoughts as food to life, or as sweet seasoned showers are to the ground.”
~“Why should we rise because 'tis light? Did we lie down because t'was night?” 
~"For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;Lillies that fester smell far worse than weeds.” 
~“What is your substance, whereof are you made,That millions of strange shadows on you tend?"
~“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
~“If music be the food of love, play on.”
~"Look, how a bird lies tangled in a net, So fasten'd in her arms Adonis lies"
~“Now I will believe that there are unicorns...”
~“Sweet are the uses of adversity Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.”

Find Shakespeare quotes on the web everywhere, including:  


Remember to share the link to your new poem on Mr. Linky and leave a comment.  
Then come back to read and comment on the rest.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Open Link Monday

Welcome ...

HD Wallpapers PK

It is World Earth Day and surely a wonderful day to spend in our Imaginary Garden. Let us all accept the challenge to work towards a cleaner, greener Earth.
It is also the end of the third week of NaPoWriMo and those who have participated will write their 22nd poem today. I hope that you will be sharing it with us on OLM. For our regular visitors, the invitation remains to link up a poem of your choice. I look forward to an enjoyable day of poetry reading!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Sunday Mini-Challenge : Lune

Hello to all the Toads and Pond Dwellers!   

On April 25, 2013 at 21:57, we will see a full moon.   So, I think it is timely that the poetry form we tackle today is called Lune, which is French for “moon.  In mathematics, the lune is a shape that is similar to a crescent moon.

© picture by MamaZen

This 3-line poem has been called the American haiku and has two variations:   

Robert Kelly, an American poet,  invented the Lune poetry form.  He felt that adhering to the strict form of Japanese haiku (5-7-5 syllables) in English creates a different poem than the Japanese intention. He invented the Lune to remove these differences, and the only requirement is the 5-3-5 syllables. There are no other rules i.e. no need for a cutting word or punctuation.    Rhymes are fine; subject matter is wide open. 

In his book, Lunes, Robert Kelly has a short foreward:

Lunes are small poems that spend half their lives in darkness & half in light.  Each lune has thirteen syllables one for each month of the moons year. 

a minute ago
that tree was
still full of blackbirds


is this form too short
love alone
makes do with less

Jack Collom created his version by accident.  He was, "beginning to work with schoolchildren when he misremembered Kelly's idea as a count of 3/5/3 words, rather than syllables." In doing so, he created a new variation of the Lune. As a happy coincidence, this variation made it easier for kids to create Lunes, since words are easier to count than syllables.

Here is one from Kim Nelson:

Tucson's winter moon
peaks down at desert life
chilling deepest night

In writing the lune poem, be guided that the intention is to make the minimal reverberate to the maximum.  Each lune is a separate poem.

So, our challenge today is to write a new lune poem either using the following:
Kelly Lune -Three lines containing a syllabic count of 5-3-5 (thirteen syllables).
Collom Lune -Three lines containing a word count of 3-5-3 (eleven words).

This can be a single lune or a series of interlocking lunes.  

I look forward to your words.   Happy Sunday to all ~ 

Grace (aka Heaven)