Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Birthday in December ~ Christina Rossetti

Christina Rossetti was born in London on 5 December 1830, sister of well-known Pre-Raphaelite poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Rossetti is best known for her ballads and her mystic religious lyrics. Her poetry is marked by symbolism and intense feeling. Rossetti's best-known work, Goblin Market and Other Poems, was published in 1862. The collection established Rossetti as a significant voice in Victorian poetry. However, it was not until 1979 that a complete edition of her work appeared.

Rossetti favoured classical forms of poetry, among them English ballads and Italian sonnets.


Remember me when I am gone away,
   Gone far away into the silent land;
   When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
   You tell me of our future that you planned:
   Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
   And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
   For if the darkness and corruption leave
   A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
   Than that you should remember and be sad.

The Goblin Market, a lengthy narrative and cautionary tale, was her 'break-through' piece, establishing her renown as a poet. It has presented scholars with many hours of interesting interpretation. Rossetti was a contemporary of many Victorian poets, such as Charles Swinburne, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Alfred, Lord Tennyson, all of whom praised her work. Swinburne dedicated his collection, A Century of Roundels to her, as she adopted his roundel form and wrote several poems in this manner, with several innovations of her own. Wife to Husband is cited as one such example.

Our challenge: Write a poem inspired by the words or work of Christina Rossetti. You may choose a form such as sonnet, roundel or ballad, or go for a longer narrative, either rhymed or unrhymed, as is your preference. As always, I encourage participants to write a new poem for the challenge, but if you have an older piece that conforms to the requirements, which you would like to share here, please feel free to do so. Unfortunately, my time is very limited this weekend and I will not be able to read any poems linked after Sunday, so I will respond firstly to new poems, and catch up on the other links after December 15.

Roundels Explained on Real Toads
Source of Images

Friday, November 29, 2013

Music, Gratitude Edition: A Walk On The Wild Side

Dear Toads, you probably know that since our last music prompt, we lost the patron saint of freaks and weirdos, poet laureate of the streets of New York, lover, preacherman, and tai chi master who really needs no introduction: LOU REED.

If you haven’t read Laurie Anderson’s obituary, and her tribute to him in Rolling Stone, you should. I wish I had known about the tribute that happened at Lincoln Center just a few days ago.

Love has gone away
and there's no one here now
And there's nothing left to say
but oh how I miss him, baby
Ah baby, come on and slip away
come on baby, why don't you slip away...
Please link up a new poem inspired by Lou Reed, the Velvet Underground, “Street Hassle,” the bowels of New York City, or what have you. Please keep your attention on Lou’s work for this prompt, as (spoiler!) next time, we’ll turn our focus to Laurie Anderson.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Kerry Says: Let's Write in Black & White

black and white 


1. (of a photograph, film, television programme, etc.) in black, white, shades of grey, and no other colour. 
"old black-and-white movies" 
synonyms: monochrome, greyscale

2. (of a situation or debate) involving clearly defined opposing principles or issues. 
"it was all grey areas; no black-and-white certainties" 
synonyms: categorical, absolute, unconditional,unqualified, unambiguous, clear-cut, positive, straightforward

photo credit: bowtoo via photopin cc
Have you ever been told that you think in terms of, “all good or all bad”, “all or nothing” or the famous “black and white”? In Black and White Thinking an individual sees, hears and thinks one way only. They live in hope or despair, joy or sadness, are successful or failures… (Source) Of course, such a mindset is not to be encouraged, and one may well ask how could it possibly have any connection to the thinking that goes into the writing of poetry, which surely exists in the grey areas of consciousness. 

I'll admit from the outset, that this challenge may, in fact, prove impossible but if you'll grant me leave to explain my own lateral thinking, perhaps we could attempt a B&W poem. The idea came to me while I was browsing through black & white pictures on Photopin (an ample source of images shared under creative commons). The photos are lovingly composed, and seem to have an almost unidentifiable quality that goes beyond recording an image to something infinitely artistic and, even, poetic. I wondered if it were possible to translate some of that 'magic' into the written word, so I went in search of tips for successful B&W photography.

The Tips (Condensed)

Our eyes see in colour but to be successful in black and white photography it’s important to train them to see the world as tones of grey. The best black and white photography exploits the differences in tone between elements in a scene. Great black and white photos also make good use of shapes, textures, lines and lighting, to compensate for the loss of colour.

photo credit: Greg McMullin via photopin cc

Tonal contrast is important in all types of photography, but especially in black and white photography. Whether a low contrast image or a high one the contrast level can have a profound effect on the mood and atmosphere. A natural way to add contrast to your image is through choice of subject.

photo credit: Barry Yanowitz via photopin

The classic subjects for mono treatment include documentary, landscape and portraiture. Portraits often look stronger in black and white because, without the distraction of colour, the emphasis is on character, expression, and revealing ‘the soul’ of the subject. When reducing landscapes to monochromatic tones the composition becomes more important than ever. Make the most of your foreground, remember to include a focal point. 

photo credit: demandaj via photopin cc

Following on with the concept of contrast, have a hunt for striking patterns and textures. Concentrating on interesting shapes can be a great way of crafting a bolder image. To appreciate an object’s outline there needs to be tonal variation between subject and background. Reducing your focal point to a silhouette is an effective method to achieve this. Keep an eye out for recurring themes.

photo credit: mugley via photopin cc 

The techniques of both high- and low-key lighting lend themselves naturally to black and white photography. A high-key image is conventionally bright, and composed primarily of highlight tones. The opposite is true for low-key images, which are conventionally dark, comprising of a range of either dark, or completely black, areas punctuated with highlights to complete images with extended contrast. (Source)

photo credit: centrifuga ☁ via photopin cc

While I was reading these tips, certain words leapt out at me: contrast, tone, mood, atmosphere, focal point, highlight, patterns, textures. Each of these concepts has a place in poetry; they could, in fact, be considered the very foundation of poetic technique. Therefore, I believe it is possible to use the tips provided in our own context, which is the composition of poetry.

If you feel inspired to respond to this challenge, please write a new poem. The post remains available through Thursday, and indeed, will still be on the home page until Saturday. Feel free to post at a later date than today. The terms of using pictures from Photopin insist on the inclusion of the correct link to the photographer's website. The featured photos are used for purposes of illustration, but if you would like to add one to your post, please add the necessary acknowledgement.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A toad's favo(u)rite poem ~ Song for Baby-O, Unborn

Diane di Prima

Greetings my muddy buddies!!

Izy here to dole out another generous helping of a Toad's Favo(u)rite Poem.  In our first installment, I had shared Allen Ginsberg's "America."  And, toads, anger not when I confess that I am bringing another beat poem to our landing page today.  

Diane di Prima is one of my favorite poets, and one whose work often goes unnoticed in the cold shadows of Kerouac, Ginsberg, and the lot of testosterone driven, politico poems that so often define our thoughts on what is beat and what is not.  

So today, we leave Allen and Jack and even good ole Uncle Bill behind and shine a spotlight on Diane di Prima.  An author of over 40 books, di Prima once explained her stance toward writing poems. mothering, being a buddhist, and living as, ‘Well, nobody’s done it quite this way before but fuck it, that’s what I’m doing, I’m going to risk it.’

And indeed, she does.  So, without further grandstanding or fan girl, hero worshipping, I bring you the uninterrupted work of my favorite poem: 

Song for Baby-O, Unborn by Diane di Prima

when you break thru
you’ll find
a poet here
not quite what one would choose.

I won’t promise
you’ll never go hungry
or that you won’t be sad
on this gutted

but I can show you
enough to love
to break your heart

Monday, November 25, 2013

Open Link Monday

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden ...

photo credit: oc_layos via photopin cc

... which is filled with waterlilies today, as an introduction to our fresh, new look.

My warm greetings to all who pay us a call to visit, read or share a poem or a word with friends. The month of November is almost at an end and this is a week of Thanksgiving for our American members, as they look forward to a the long weekend.

I also take this opportunity to notify the RT community that I will be away from my computer for the first two weeks of December. Marian will be holding the OLM fort for the duration of my absence, and Shay is on stand-by to assist with any Linky troubles that may arise. Please contact either of these gals should any matter of concern arise, as I will be completely out of it until mid-December.

Without further ado, let's get to the order of this post, which is the opportunity of adding a poem of your choice to the list below. Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sunday Challenge ~ Woody Guthrie

My youngest daughter, Carrie, is the business manager for The Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The center houses the museum and archives for the American folk singer Woody Guthrie. On a visit this past October to see my daughter I was privileged to visit the center and I thought Mr. Guthrie’s life and art would be inspiring to those who visit and contribute here in the garden. There is so much to say about this man who was a songwriter, musician, singer, artist and author so I will only refer to his music today, but I hope you will read more about this multi-talented artist.

Woody with his iconic guitar. Photo by Al Aumuller.

Woodrow Wilson “Woody Guthrie (July 14, 1912-October 3, 1967) was an American singer-songwriter and folk musician whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children’s songs, ballads and improvised works. He frequently performed with the slogan This Machine Kills Fascists displayed on his guitar. His best known song is “This Land is Your Land.” Such songwriters as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp and Pete Seeger have acknowledged Guthrie as a major influence. Many of his songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great depression when Guthrie traveled with migrant workers from Oklahoma to California and learned their traditional folk and blues songs, earning him the nickname the “Dust Bowl Troubadour.

Woody Guthrie wrote “ThisLand Is Your Land” in February 1940 in response to being tired of radio overplaying Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.”  His fourth and sixth verses of the song protested against class inequality.

As I went walking, I saw a sign there,
And on the sign there, It said "no trespassing." [In another version, the sign reads "Private Property"]
But on the other side, it didn't say nothing!
That side was made for you and me.
In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I'd seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?

Reference Center for Marxist Studies

 Woody Guthrie wrote what he saw, felt, and knew. He was often the voice for those who didn't have one. My challenge for you today is to write your own protest piece. It can be serious or silly, form or no form. The choices are up to you, but give a voice to something  you are passionate about. As always please make it a piece original to this challenge and support your fellow contributors by visiting their pages and leaving a comment.

(Here is a link to an excellent PBS documentary Surviving the Dust Bowl)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Transforming Friday with Nature's Wonders

Hello poetic friends!! It's Hannah here with yet another inspiring nature place to allow our muses to feast upon.

Red Beach, Panjin, China...

via photobucket- (Home to more than 236 types of birds)

Red Beach is located in the Liaohe River Delta, about 30 kilometers southwest of Panjin City in China. The beach’s unique color is caused by a type of plant called Suaeda vera or Shrubby Sea-blite which is a coastal species that flourishes in the saline-alkali soil. The plant remains green during the summer but in the fall, when the plant has matured, it takes on a deep red color creating a stunning red sea landscape. Most of Red Beach is a nature reserve and closed to the public. Only a small, remote section is open to tourists.

More images of Red Beach.

via Wikipedia uner cca share alike 

Some interesting facts I found in my travels...

The Suaeda fruticosa A.K.A. Shrubby Seablite are used as a poultice in the treatment of ophthalmia, (also called ophthalmitis, is inflammation of the eye).When infused in water, they have been used as an emetic, (a medicine or other substance that causes vomiting).  Also, the plant is rich in potassium and is often burnt as a source of potash which is a potassium or a potassium compound especially as used in agriculture or industry for making soap and glass.

via Wikipedia under cca share alike

I found this intriguing...

Potash /ˈpɒtæʃ/ is any of various mined and manufactured salts that contain potassium in water-soluble form.The name derives from "pot ash", which refers to plant ashes soaked in water in a pot, the primary means of manufacturing the product before the industrial era. The word "potassium" is derived from potash.

Okay, so run with with it. Go in any direction you with the place, color, pictures I featured, facts that I found or ones that you might inspired and have fun!

Please write something new today and be sure to take the time to support your fellow blogging friends that link up here!! 

Thank you, in advance for playing along with your words and voices that are unique and treasured. :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Words Count With Mama Zen: Sleepover Edition

As I (try) to type this, I am surrounded by fifth grade girls.  The house is filled with shrieks and giggles.  Music pounds and thumps like my monthly migraine.  And a question echos through the air on an endless loop until it is an itch and burn in my brain . . .

Help!  Please, put me out of my misery.  Take 43 words (or less) and tell me . . . what does the fox say?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Toad's Favo(ur)ite: Rita Dove

"I believe even 5-year-olds can get something from a Shakespearean sonnet…as long as you DON’T tell them, ‘This is really hard.’”  -Rita Dove

Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952.  She received her B.A. from Miami University of Ohio in 1973 and her M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 1977. She served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1993 to 1995 and Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2004 to 2006.  She has received many academic and literary honors, including the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and the 1996 National Humanities Medal from President Clinton. In 2011, President Barack Obama presented Ms. Dove with the National Medal of Arts, which made her the only poet to have received both medals. 

Author of nine poetry collections, a book of short stories, a novel, essays, and a play, Rita Dove is currently Chair of Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia (where I, lolamouse, attended grad school!) She currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia with her husband, the writer Fred Viebahn. She has one adult daughter.  The Rita Dove HomePage has extensive biographical information as well as photos, readings, videos, and interviews. 

Rita Dove is one of my favourite poets, and I had a difficult time narrowing down her extensive writings to even a few of my very favourite poems.  Dove’s writing encompasses political, historical, and personal  themes. Although I find her writing quite accessible and forthright, I always come away with something new to think about or a new way of looking at the familiar. 

When I was a new mom, struggling with the demands of a difficult baby, Dove’s poem “Daystar” was an epiphany. It is from a collection of poems, Thomas and Beulah (1986) based on Dove’s grandparents. When I first read it, I felt that someone understood my mixed feelings about becoming a mother, the loss of privacy and identity that comes with having a child. I clipped that poem from our newspaper and kept it tucked in my dresser drawer to read whenever I felt overwhelmed and unappreciated. It is still there today.


She wanted a little room for thinking:
but she saw diapers steaming on the line,
a doll slumped behind the door.
So she lugged a chair behind the garage
to sit out the children’s naps…

For complete poem, see link at Poet's Choice from the Washington Post, 1/23/2000

Here is a video of Rita Dove reading her poem:

Rita Dove reads 'Daystar' from on Vimeo.

Another favourite poem, "Teach Us To Number Our Days," takes its title from Psalm 90 but speaks to cultural and political issues of today. It begins

In the old neighborhood, each funeral parlor
is more elaborate than the last.
The alleys smell of cops, pistols bumping their thighs,
each chamber steeled with a slim blue bullet…

For complete poem, see the Poetry Foundation website

    Rita Dove is quoted as saying, “I prefer to explore the most intimate moments, the smaller, crystallized details we all hinge our lives on.” I think this is one of the reasons I love her poetry so much. She takes the personal and makes it universal and the universal and makes it personal. She is able to focus a light on those quotidian moments we all have and, with her words, elevate them to things of lasting beauty. Read and enjoy.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Open Link Monday

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden ...

Budleigh House, Ladysmith, South Africa
Photo Credit: H.J. Clark

Greetings to all-comers on this November Monday. Today, I am sharing the view of a garden in my hometown. This is typically what our gardens look like at this time of year, with plants coming into leaf and flower. Last week, we suffered through a heat wave, with temperatures maxing in the mid-40s Celsius (around 113 F), and it is only the beginning of summertime, so I am looking forward to a milder week and some longed for rain.

I hope that you have all brought along your poems to share - this open invitation is your opportunity to link up a poem of your choice, either your newest piece or something from your archives which deserves a second chance to be read. Please take the time to comment and show support of other poets whose work is linked beside your own.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

My Thoughts on Tanka (Part 3) ~ Hisashi Nakamura

I am very happy to bring you the third part of our on-going series on the writing of Japanese Tanka poetry, by Dr Hisashi Nakamura. If you are new to this feature, or would like to refresh your memory, follow the links to Part 1 and Part 2.  We continue with Dr Nakamura's explanation of how he came to write tanka in English.

Encountering the lack of good English translations (of original Japanese), I tried to translate about 100 classical tanka myself. However, I came to the conclusion that it would be impossible to convey the meaning and the beauty of tanka properly without providing detailed notes because of differences in the natural environment, culture, religion and society as well as the fundamental differences in the way the two languages work. This realisation led to the presumptuous idea that I might be able to convey the beauty of tanka if I produced tanka in English by observing the modern world from the perspective of the realm of classical tanka poetry!

Dr Nakamura has identified 7 main characteristics of classical tanka. Points 1-4 have been discussed in our previous posts, and we will focus on the remaining points in this post.

Characteristics of Classical Tanka

5 A Simple Clear Image with Unlimited Suggestiveness 

A good tanka has a clear and often simple image without ambiguity but it gives readers suggestiveness beyond the described image itself. Fujiwara no Shunzei sent the following tanka to a lady.

In unbearable longing 
I look at the sky 
Over your dwelling. 
The spring rain falls, 
Sifted through the haze.

Fujiwara no Yoshitsune composed the following tanka in 1201. He was an aristocrat and occupied the highest political position in the government before the samurai established a military government (the Kamakura Shogun Government) in 1192. He experienced an epoch in which political power shifted from the aristocrats to the samurai. Fuwa Barrier had once been one of the major check-points to control the movement of people and it was a manifestation of the ruling power.

No one lives 
Under the wooden eaves 
Of Fuwa Barrier. 
In ruins now: 
Only the autumn wind.

6 Stillness 

In general tanka poems have an atmosphere of stillness. Some poets even find silence in the roaring sound of a waterfall. The tanka below was written in 736 by a member of a diplomatic envoy sent to Silla, one of three kingdoms on the now Korean Peninsula.

While I was thinking 
That we were the only ones who were rowing 
A boat at this time of night, 
From afar in the offing 
Comes the squeak of a rudder.

Even a passionate tanka by Princess Shikishi (1149-1201) written about her hidden love has stillness in its atmosphere. The example below was written at a time when it was believed that a cord tied the soul to its body. Therefore, “cord of my soul” in effect means life itself since the separation of the soul and body means death. The speaker has been trying to keep her love completely to herself and even her loved one may not be aware of her passion towards him. She must be in a situation in which she recognises that a relationship with him would be morally or socially unacceptable.

Cord of my soul! 
If you must break, break now. 
For if I live on 
My power to keep this hidden 
May not endure.

7 All Ranks of Society 

Tanka were written by all ranks of society and all kinds of people from an early stage. Manyoshu, compiled in the 8th century, includes tanka by an incredibly wide range of people: men, women, imperial family members, civil servants, monks, farmers, conscripts and entertainers. The tanka below was written by the wife of a drafted “Frontier Guard” who was conscripted to defend the southern coasts of Japan in the mid-8th century.

“Whose husband is going 
As a Frontier Guard?” 
Someone asks without a care. 
How I envy her! 

The world of tanka poetry is a rare one in Japanese culture, where men and women were treated according to the merit of their work. In Manyoshu, for example, we find many women poets who candidly expressed their love. Lady Otomo of Sakanoue was one of them.

How it crushes the heart - 
A love not known to the beloved, 
Like a star lily 
That blooms among thick grasses 
In the summer field.

Please note: All translations that appear in this post are the copyright of Dr Hisashi Nakamura, and are used with his permission on The Imaginary Garden With Real Toads.

Our Challenge today, is to explore the tanka form as it has been presented to us here. There is no limit to the number of tanka you may write and post to this link. I would also encourage discussion between participants and critical commentary in an environment which respects both the writers and the genre.

Next month, Dr Nakamura will share the first part of his guidelines to writing tanka in English and this feature will conclude in January with the second part of this personal approach to the art of Japanese poetry which he has so generously shared on Real Toads.

Lake Pagoda photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc
Koi photo credit: Bitter Jeweler via photopin cc
Lantern photo credit: darkmatter via photopin cc

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fireblossom Friday: Simply the Best

Hi pond people! Fireblossom here with another Fireblossom Friday. This time, I want to do something a little bit different, that I think everyone will enjoy. I know that, usually, we here at the Pond come up with challenges that inspire NEW writing. This time, however, I want you each to select, from among your own poems, the one that you feel is the very best one, or the one you are most proud of. 

I know that every good poem takes a lot of planning, a lot of living to inform it, and a lot of effort and creativity to bring it into being. Like the sunrise horse and rider in the picture above, we work too hard at our best poems to have them vanish into the archives after only a day or two. So, please saddle up that most special poem of yours, and bring it out for another time around the track. I think this will be cool in two ways: first, we will all get to read some really excellent poems, maybe for the first time, maybe to savor a second time. Secondly, it will be interesting to see what poem each of us chooses. 

Extra suggestion: tell us a little bit about why you chose the poem you did. I'm looking forward to this! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday with Peggy

Hi Toads,

Peggy in Southern California here. Today I present two photos as prompts.  Write to either one or both. I will not say much about the photos so that you can let your minds go where ever you want to go.

Photo by Peggy Goetz

Photo by Peggy Goetz

Once you have written and posted your new poem on your blog, link it below with Mr. Linky. I look forward to reading what you all come up with.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My Favorite Poem (2)

Hi readers, it's Fireblossom with my favorite poem #2. Actually, as I said last time, my very favorite poem is Emily Dickinson's "I Cannot Live With You", which has been my favorite since high school and has remained so. You can find it at my blog, any time; just click on the tab "my favorite poem." 

Last time, I featured Tennyson. This time, I want to share with you a poem from antiquity which, nonetheless, echoes my favorite Dickinson in some ways. I will also include another poem, still from antiquity, but several centuries newer, which I feel is just a parroting of the earlier poem. You decide.

Now then, the poem I want to to share my love of, with you. It's by Sappho.

He is almost a god, a man beside you,
enthralled by your talk, by your laughter.
Watching makes my heart beat fast
because, seeing little, I imagine much.
You put a fire in my cheeks.
Speech won't come. My ears ring.
Blind to all others, I sweat and I stammer.
I am a trembling thing, like grass,
an inch from dying.

More than five centuries later, Catullus wrote the following. Or did he? It sounds an awfully lot like Sappho, to me.

He is like a god,
he is greater than a god
sitting beside you listening
to your laughter. You make me crazy.
Seeing you, my Lesbia, takes my breath away.
My tongue freezes. My body
is filled with flames,
bells ring, and night invades my eyes.
Leisure, Catullus, is your curse.
You exult in it, the very thing
that brought down noble houses and great cities.

I like Sappho's ending better. It is echoed in Emily's ending to "I Cannot Live With You" in her words about "that white sustenance, despair." I find it interesting that Sappho likened herself to something as humble and insubstantial as a trembling blade of grass, dying, while Catullus went on about great cities. I always prefer the personal and the particular to the great and global in my poetry, partly because the personal portrays the universal more clearly. 

Someone said this about romantic love and creativity: love yes, longing yes, but the having is bad for the poetry. I hope you enjoyed Sappho's poem. 


Monday, November 11, 2013

Open Link Monday

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden...

Source (with accompanying music)

Good day to all poets and friends. I do hope this 11th day of the 11th month will be a Remembrance Day, not only of those who have lost their lives in wars during the last century, but also an opportunity to remember some of the achievements and advances made during this troubled time of history.


I have not set any particular theme or restriction to today's Open Link, so please select a poem of your choice to share. We welcome all to this meme, and love to see new faces in the garden. Please take some time to visit the posts of your fellow poets. Your encouragement means a great deal to everyone here.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sunday Challenge: Featuring Mike Worrall

Hello everyone !  I have the pleasure to introduce to you the work by Mike Worrall.  He is currently based in the Central Coast of NSW, Australia,  and has been a practicing artist since the early 60s and exhibits both locally and internationally. 

The enigmatic, dreamlike paintings of Mike Worrall are often inspired by historical themes.  Informed by his work in film, Worrall deals with the sublime in his hyperreal depictions of the mysterious.  As in a dream, the quiet façade and the beauty of the large scale oil paintings masks the intriguing content and enormous energy underpinning the works.  

The Trouble with Time, oil on canvas, 122x183cm, 2008-9

From his biography:   Born 1942 in Matlock Derbyshire, UK

"I have been painting since the early 1960's and am almost entirely self taught. I still retain the basic technique and style developed in these early years. I am committed to exploring the subconscious and I like Paul Delvaux and Max Ernst amongst others."

Bridge of Folly, oil on linen, 122x182cm, 2007

"As a child I was always intrigued by paintings involving some sought of mystery element. So I have tended to be drawn in this direction myself. Get the viewer guessing and wondering what it's about! Quite often I’m not sure myself but for some inexplicable reason it might work as a picture. I might not understand it myself even. It may be an expression on a face or just a pose or location."

 The Forgotten Expectation, oil on panel, 117x183cm, 2011

"I'm a firm believer that I should not have to attempt to explain the enigma to people and that the picture should retain some mystery for a lasting interest. This I hasten to add is not so with all work off course! I’m only referring to my surreal content paintings!

The Artist 
I'm interested in Dreams and Subconscious thoughts and the weirdness of how we go from one thought to another in an almost drifting process. Dreams are a great source of material for me. Not that I wake up and paint the dream that I may have had, even if I could remember it, I'd then have to most likely make up the details. My paintings are more deliberate and constructed with the element of change.

 Forest Terminal, oil on canvas, 122x182cm, 2007

I am an Intuitive painter. If it doesn't work in an Intuitive way, I can’t progress. I don't suppose that's all that unusual really, I suppose all artists are intuitive!"

Poets Corner, oil on linen, 122x155cm, 2002

For a complete view of his work, please visit here.

Our challenge is to write a new poem or prose poem or flash fiction (250 words limit)  based on the work & themes of Mike Worrall.  If you upload his image/s in your writing, please acknowledge the name of the artist and link to his work.  Mike has expressed interest in our work and I will be sending him the link after we have completed our challenge.   I will be checking in during the week to see if anyone else has linked up. 

Wishing you all Happy Weekend ~  

Grace (aka Heaven)