Many thanks to all pond patrons for keeping the Imaginary Garden alive over the festive season. It was such a fun week, with many poetic gifts being shared. Now we must ring in the New Year, with all the bells and whistles, in the hopes that many fine things are in store for us all in 2014.
Perhaps, you would like to take this opportunity to look back over your body of work and share your best piece of 2013, or there may be those among you who prefer to write something shiny and new for this occasion. The choice is yours, and the invitation remains wide open for you to make your own selection. Please embrace the spirit of this community by visiting and commenting on a few of the poems linked up with your own work.
Why do I think The World’s End so great? Well, it’s belly-achingly funny, of course. It’s also weird science fiction, a win in my book. But in my view, the reason for this movie’s true greatness is the unique and nuanced performance of Simon Pegg as the main character, Gary King.
I am not going to say much about this movie because I don’t want to spoil it for any of you who have not yet seen it (and of course you’ll remedy that oversight pronto). You do not need to see the movie in order to write to this prompt. But trust me, Pegg’s portrayal is wonderful. Gary King is, at first blush, a narcissist pathetically stuck in his raucous younger days when he (supposedly) was at the top of his game. His focus on and living in the past leads to some very funny gags and plot twists, but also creates a sad and realistic character with whom many viewers will empathize and relate.
Our writing exercise today is this: What would it be like if we were stuck in (or have regressed to) the past? Write from the perspective of yourself or another person (real or imagined) who can’t seem to live in the present or look forward; someone who dwells in a supposedly more magnificent or rewarding past time, and behaves accordingly. I look forward to reading your (new) poems!
Hello Toads! Hannah here with the Bamboo Forest in Japan to inspire your muses. Arashiyama, where the bamboo forest is located is a pleasant, touristy district in the western outskirts of Kyoto. The area has been a popular destination since the Heian Period (794-1185), when nobles would enjoy its natural setting. Arashiyama is particularly popular during the cherry blossom and fall color seasons.
The walking paths that cut through the bamboo groves make for a nice walk or bicycle ride. The groves are particularly attractive when there is a light wind and the tall bamboo stalks sway gently back and forth. The bamboo has been used to manufacture various products, such as baskets, cups, boxes and mats at local workshops for centuries. Please write new poems for this challenge and stroll through the forests of your blogging friends as well. Thank you for writing! (All pictures via Photobucket)
A poetry prompt? On Christmas Day? Ain't nobody got time for that!
Let's keep it short and sweet. Today, we're writing ho ho hoku: 5-7-5 syllables of happy holiday (or, bah humbug!) 'ku for your fellow Toads. Do as many as you like; there's no word count. Just have some fun. Post whenever you get a chance. No one shall receive a lump of coal for being late.
My warm greetings to all our visitors at the start of the Christmas week. I do hope that this will be a time of peace and goodwill for all our members and followers, and their families. I expect this to be a quiet week for toads, as far as writing goes. However, our prompts and challenges will continue over the festive season for anyone who would like to participate.
I have always thought of poetry as a gift freely given. No matter how many times I open a book of poems or follow a link on the internet, I am conscious that I am about to receive something that will add to the value of my life. To all who share their poetry with such generosity the whole year round, I give my most sincere thanks.
For the past few months, Dr Hisashi Nakamura has been sharing his "Thoughts on Tanka" with the poets of The Imaginary Garden. Follow these links to Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. In this and next months feature, Dr Nakamura will shares his insights into writing tanka successfully in English.
1 31 English Syllables
I use 31 English syllables when I write tanka knowing that the great majority of people writing tanka in the world are against the idea of keeping the Japanese form when writing in English.
I do not try to argue over the number of syllables to be used or that there should be any specific form for writing tanka in English. I simply stick to two points. Firstly, I think poetry requires discipline. Secondly, the 31 syllables divided into the units of 5/7/5/7/7 can create a poem whether or not it is an “English tanka”!
2 The Perspective of the Classical Tanka Realm
After studying several thousands of classical tanka and struggling to translate some of them into English, I unconsciously see things around me from the perspective of the classical tanka realm. Wherever I go - the Yorkshire moors, the northeast coast, declined industrial cities and ports, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Elsinore or Prague - I am in the shadow of the aesthetic of classical tanka.
As I cannot escape from this shadow I tend to frame what I see from the perspective of the classics.
The September sun Hidden in the milky dawn Now shows a pale disc. A huddle of sheep shadows Looms out of the pearly mist.
3 Nature and Real Experience
I write tanka when I am moved by something while I am rambling in the countryside. I do not try to compose new tanka at home although I may spend some time to revise the original composition.
The silent forest Is whitened in the spring dusk By the passing rain. Sifted through the fresh needles Breezes pass through the larch trees.
4 Upper Poem and Lower Poem
A tanka usually consists of an upper poem and a lower poem which interact to create suggestiveness. The interaction of the upper and the lower in the following should create not only two images about a skylark and a lamb but also a feeling of ungrounded fear about my own existence in a peaceful environment.
Over the June moors A skylark is sucked into The wide timeless sky. From the edge of blue stillness, The faint bleating of a lamb.
Hello dear Toads and toad roadies. Fireblossom here with another Fireblossom Friday. This time, I want you to write about an angel, or angels. Now wait--I'm NOT allowing Christmas angels! That's too obvious and easy. I want you to write about an angel in your own life. Maybe we're talking about a real spiritual being. I've encountered one myself; many people say that they have. Maybe you, too? Or you would like to?
But there are lots of different kinds of angels. I'm giving you your title: "Calling All Angels." It's the title of the Jane Siberry song below. Apparently, she first wrote it this way: calling on angels for the nerve to approach some guy, and she sang it very sexy. However, as Jane herself has said, once written, the song took on a life of its own and she re-recorded it, with a different slant, and it became one of the most moving songs I've ever heard. it has appeared in several movies, including "Pay It Forward." Anyway, maybe your angel turned out to be a silver-tongued devil? Human angels, flawed angels, and angels in disguise are all fair game for this challenge.
I saw a bumper sticker in the shape of a paw, and inside the paw it read "Who saved who?" Maybe your angel barks? Or maybe your angel is someone who helped you when you needed it most?
No matter whether you choose an angel face, an earth angel, or a traditional winged angel from Heaven, there are only these rules: Title it "Calling All Angels", include some sort of "angel" in the poem, do NOT write about Christmas angels, and make your poem an original NEW poem, written just for this challenge. I hope you enjoy this challenge!
Since it is getting close to the Christmas holidays for many people I will make this a simple prompt:
Write about a memory you have of something special about this or any holiday season. (depending on where you live and what you celebrate!)
Perhaps you had riotous family gatherings, or spent a holiday alone. Maybe there was a big snow storm and you were snowed in. Or in some parts of the world perhaps there was a heat wave and you all sweated in bathing suits. Maybe it was a year you gave a special gift or received one. Perhaps you celebrated in some exotic place.
You can describe this memory from your own point of view or, if you want more of a challenge, write from the point of view of someone else or even something else. Or be creative and take several points of view. After writing or thinking about your own memory, think what it might have looked like from the point of view of your parents or your jealous sister or your dog or a visitor.
Whatever you decide to write about please post it on your blog and link it below with Mr. Linky.
I also want to wish all you Toads and visitors out there who celebrate a happy holiday season. And may the new year bring a flood of writing for you!
Monday morning to all Toads and visitors. Here in New England, we got our first modest snow accumulation of the year, so everything is bathed in bright white. For some of you, all's in bloom and heating up. I love that about our Garden: the wide range of location, experience, and message shared here from week to week.
In that spirit, we invite all of you to share a poem
with us here today. Link up any poem you like, and please remember to visit
some of the other poets who have joined in. Everyone likes to know that
friends have stopped by, and we all appreciate comments. Enjoy!
When I heard the news on Thursday, December 5, that Nelson Mandela had passed away I felt an immediate and overwhelming personal loss and when I walked out onto our South African streets on Friday morning, I saw it in the faces of all whom I encountered. We seemed to be holding our collective breaths, unwilling to exhale if it meant acknowledging that such an iconic man had passed away from this life.
A line from the movie Troy kept repeating in my mind. They are the last lines of the movie, spoken by Odysseus: If they ever tell my story let them say that I walked with giants. Men rise and fall like the winter wheat, but these names will never die. Let them say I lived in the time of Hector, tamer of horses. Let them say I lived in the time of Achilles. In an age when heroic men are very few and far between, I am so privileged to say that I lived in the time of Mandela.
It was a testimony to his legacy in South Africa, that all the people who were at the marking centre where I have been working for the last two weeks, came together in respect and communal sorrow to offer up prayers in 6 languages, representing 4 religions: we are the people of a land so long torn apart by unnatural divisions, and that we were there, joined in brotherly love is a direct consequence of Nelson Mandela's life.
However, I am deeply conscious that Nelson Mandela did not just belong to Africa; he belonged to the world. He embodies the theory that one man can change the face of history, and his message has had far-reaching impact around the globe. His official Memorial held in Johannesburg on Tuesday, December 7, was attended by nearly 100 heads of state from around the world, among them US President, Barack Obama, who delivered a stirring speech: "We, too, must act on behalf of justice. We, too, must act on behalf of peace."
The homestead of Nelson Mandela, Qunu, SA
Siphiwe Sibeko, Reuters
Nelson Mandela will be laid to rest in his home district of Qunu in the Eastern Cape, SA on Sunday, December 15. (News24)
With this in mind, I would like to dedicate our Sunday feature to the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. This is not a prompt or a challenge in the usual sense. I leave it entirely open, for those who would like to participate, to share your thoughts in whatever form, theme or subject you feel moved to write. If you have written poetry inspired by Nelson Mandela earlier in the week, feel free to share it here again. I have added in the following words, spoken by Mandela during his life, in the hopes they may continue to inspire and uplift.
“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
"No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
"One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others."
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."
"A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special."
"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
"Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation. They will be the leaders of our country, the creators of our national wealth, those who care for and protect our people."
"A society that does not value its older people denies its roots and endangers its future. Let us strive to enhance their capacity to support themselves for as long as possible and, when they cannot do so any more, to care for them."
"I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come, But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended."
Happy Holiday all of my lovely Toads!!!! Herotomost here with another Friday challenge. I heard those eyes rolling....STOP it!!!!! That is very unholiday like! OK...so this is a shorter than normal challenge as I realize that everyone is super busy, but I hope it is interesting nonetheless. If not, I apologize up front, I am but a humble challenger and you know my imagination is spotty at best.
Because the holidays are a time for family and friends, this challenge is going to involve our family and friends. Writing can be a lonely thing, sometimes our family and friends don't quite understand what it is that we are trying to accomplish. Some do, but their enthusiasm for our love of the craft can be a bit underwhelming. Soooo....we toil in front of our computers, glass of wine or hand full of chocolate chip cookies in tow and try our hardest to be the best little writers we can. We may show them something we wrote...they may give us an "isn't that lovely", but in the end we end up really just trying to write for each other it seems.
For my challenge I want you to seek out a family member or friend, kids, husband, coworker, someone who doesn't write and ask them to give you an opening line. It can be just a line, a stanza, a word, or maybe just an idea. I want you to use that fresh family info to write a little something and then when you are finished, share it with that person. When you post, I would like you to tell me what their reaction was to what you wrote.
With all that, I would like to throw out my fondest Holiday wishes to everyone of you and let you know I have had a great year with each and everyone of you. You complete me!!!!!!! Love you all and can't wait to see what you come up with. As always, if this challenge is not your bailiwick or if it infuriates to the point of wanting my head on a spike, skip it or just write me whatever you want to....I will bear no grudge.
Good morning, dear Toadly Ones. Fireblossom here. Kerry asked me to stick my nose in provide this month's Word List, and so here I am with words a-plenty.
The words in today's list are taken from one of my favorite stories by Edgar Allan Poe, called "The System Of Doctor Tarr And Professor Fether", in which the inmates seem to be running the asylum. Lovely!
Without further ado, here is your list, with particulars and rules and so forth afterward.
There you have it! 23 words, one from each page of the story in the volume I have in my hands. Now then, the rules: please use at least five of the words listed. You may, of course, use more than that, or even all of them. Write us a NEW poem especially written for this Get Listed challenge; no old posts dug out of their graves and sat up in the parlor as if they were lively and fresh. That would be macabre! Then sign the linky and let us come read what you have created.
Oh, and, since I'm running this nuthouse today....NO HAIKU! :-)
Monday morning, dear Toads! Welcome, all members
and visitors. I don't know about you, but I am quite grateful for a new Monday, to dispense with the week that's now gone by and to begin fresh today. In that spirit, we invite all of you to share a poem
with us here. Link up any poem you like, and please remember to visit
some of the other poets who have joined in. Everyone likes to know that friends have stopped by, and we all appreciate comments. Go forth and visit!
This time of year, we all seem to celebrate some wonder or joy,
sing praises, raise strains of hallelujah...
To inspire your own rendition of praise, I share two videos.
Feel the emotion in each. Hear the beauty in both. Become inspired.
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We all display about our homes a few of our favorite things, but what happens when we discard them or well, they "outlive" us? I used to adore the story of the Velveteen Rabbit - where a beloved toy becomes "real"; adored the idea of him coming to life, gaining a soul. Photographer, Jennifer MacNeill, certainly makes these images seem like they have one, don't you think? Or at least, as if you can hear them faintly whispering their stories…
Jennifer MacNeill is an official artist with the figurine company "The Trail of Painted Ponies". She lives in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and loves to hike, garden and tell the story of a place through photography.
I have showcased a part of her "The Collector" set. Jennifer MacNeill says, "It is an odd assortment of things at a friend's home in WV photographed in very low light. I did not move an object, just walked around and shot what I found interesting."
Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries are some of the occasions in which gift giving occurs. Most of us have certain belongings we cherish, not for their financial value, but for the memories they evoke. A few of us have gotten rid of things for the opposite reason.
I adore walking through antique stores, contemplating "past lives" of rocking horses, tool boxes, baby chairs, school desks, game boards, jewelry… usually end up spending my bit of money on old books (go figure).
This is all the "direction" I want to suggest for this month's challenge. Use the above or connect to these images another way. As is usually the case with my prompts, I have no set restrictions as to form or structure.
Jennifer MacNeill has given us permission to use the images in "The Collector" series for today's challenge - NOT her entire flicker account and do NOT alter the images in any way. I did not post all her images from this series. To see more please click on the Flicker Account below and find "The Collector" set.
I ask each poem be newly created for this specific challenge and please give credit to Jennifer MacNeill and link her website HERE and flicker page HERE to your poetry post.
The Turkish Pipe
Under the Dome
I extend a warm welcome to submit late, as Friday, especially in the month of December, can often become hectic. Please link your specific post to "Mr. Linky" below. Please enjoy and read the other contributions. Thank you. I look forward to your artistic interpretations!
Welcome back to Out of Standard, where I will set before you a challenge to defy the conventions of a particular theme. I will call upon you to write out of the standard and find new places in the everyday. Let’s move onward to December’s challenge...
With Ole Man Winter slowly boring down on the northern hemisphere, today’s challenge will revolve around one word and one word only:
n.pl.Eskimo or Es·ki·mos
A group of peoples inhabiting the Arctic coastal regions of North America and parts of Greenland and northeast Siberia.
The claim that Eskimo languages have an unusually large number of words for snow is a widespread idea often used as a cliché when writing about how language may keep us more or less alert to the differences of the natural world. In fact, the Eskimo languages have about the same number of distinct word roots referring to snow as English does, but the structure of these languages tends to allow more variety as to how those roots can be modified in forming a single word
The Out of Standard Challenge:
For your challenge today, my muddy buddies, I am asking that you write a poem using the word Eskimo but do not reference snow (or any adjective there of). Remember the further you stretch yourself from the norm, the better the result will be.
KEEP IN MIND
Like every challenge, your poem must by newly written for this challenge and not one which you have previously written which conveniently fits the theme.
So go on, my lovelies...and us back something shiny and new!
a little more conversation revealed that warty bliggens considers himself to be the center of the said universe the earth exists to grow toadstools for him to sit under the sun to give him light by day and the moon
to make beautiful the night for the sake of warty bliggens to what act of yours do you impute this interest on the part of the creator of the universe i asked him why is it that you are so greatly favored
said warty bliggens
what the universe
has done to deserve me
if i were a
human being i would
at poor warty bliggins
have only too often
lodged in the crinkles
of the human cerebrum
by Archy, a vers libre bard who would enjoy our imaginary garden
from the book Archy & Mehitabel
by Don Marquis (1878-1937)
Probably Don Marquis's most famous character, Archy is said, by his author, to have been a vers libre bard whose soul, when he died, transmigrated into the body of a cockroach. This made it very difficult for the poet to write his free verse, which he had to do by using the author's typewriter at night. He would climb up onto the typewriter and jump down, head first, onto the letter he wanted, then climb back up the typewriter and repeat the process. I have chosen this poem from the book Archy and Mehitabel because it first makes me laugh, then gives me to reflect on purpose in the universe, the theory of transmigration, the indestructibility of cockroaches and, of course, those "similar absurdities...lodged in the crinkles of the human cerebrum." Posted for my second contribution to the Favo(u)rite Poems series. Thanks, Toads, it's been fun, and if you think I might have posted this same poem on a Monday a couple of years ago, you're probably right. The operative word for this series is favo(u)rite. —Kay
Good Monday morning, dear Toads, and welcome to December. Our Chief Toad being away, I’m pleased to have the privilege of welcoming all members and visitors to the Imaginary Garden, and to invite you to share a poem with us today. Link up any poem you like, and please remember to visit some of the other poets who have joined us today, as well. With such a variety of talent visiting our Garden, traversing the Monday links is always pleasing.
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.
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.
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.
(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
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.
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.
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.
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
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)
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.