Friday, January 31, 2014

Transforming Friday with Nature's Wonders

Hallo Toads!!

Why yes, that was me, Hannah, saying hello in German!!

Today I have for your musing the streets in Bonn Germany. :)

Officially the Federal City of Bonn, is a city on the banks of the Rhine River in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The Indo-European derivative of the name Rhine is *Reynos, from the root *rey- "to flow, to run", which is also the root of words like river and run.

Beethoven's birthplace is located in Bonngasse near the market place.The Beethoven Monument stands on the Münsterplatz, which is flanked by the Bonn Minster, one of Germany's oldest churches.

(Images Wiki Share Alike)

Feel free to allow this place to open a portal to your own searches about Bonn Germany.

Let your way be lit with inspiration...

(Lamplighter lighting a gas streetlight in Sweden, 1953. By this time remaining gas lamps were rare curiosities. Wikki)

Before electricity became sufficiently widespread and economical to allow for general public use, gas was the most popular means of lighting in cities and suburbs. Early gas lights had to be lit manually, but later gas lights were self-igniting.

Bonn Germany sports gas street lamps...

Imagine being responsible for the job of lighting the street at night...

Please write new poems specifically for this challenge...bring us all kinds of unique angles of the street in Bonn Germany, link-up and enjoy a stroll in the streets of your neighbors. 

Thank you! 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Words Count With Mama Zen

Image via Pinterest

Despite my yearly resolution not to make New Year's resolutions, this year I have resolved to learn how to use Twitter.  And you, dear Toads, are getting dragged along with me.

Today, we are writing Twitter poems.  Despite the techy name, a twitter poem is just a poem brief enough to fall at or below Twitter's tweet limit of 140 characters.  Sounds easy enough, right?   Here's an example by some guy named Billy Collins:
Twitter Poem
The poem creates a space.
It hides in a tent in a forest.
Making its own bed it falls asleep in the dark,
wakes up under a lamp or the sun. 

 --- from The New York Times Week in Review

You know, that guy may have a real future in poetry . . .

So, what do you think?  Are you ready to give it a try?  Your assignment is to write a poem of 140 characters or less.  Feel free to do as many as you want and even chain them together if you like; just make sure that each stanza is 140 characters or less.  Have fun!

Editorial Note:  There are lots of character count thingies online.  I like this one.

Boring Editorial Note: Billy Collins' "Twitter Poem" is reproduced under fair use for non-profit, educational purposes only.  No infringement of copyright is intended.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Personal Challenge #2

Well I am "It" to the Personal Challenge from Michael (aka grapeling).  

As some of you know, I invited him to join and connect with poetry communities last April 2013. He accepted by writing a poem "Caterpillar" in response to my lune poem.   

"In honor of how I came to the garden, please select from at least one of your fellow Toads, a poem from their recent catalog, and craft a reply / commentary / inspiration from their pen, up to a total of 3 poems. What I'm going for here, is a sense of tribute to the influence we have on each other as poets. We support one another by comments - this challenge, is about paying homage via a pen to another poet's work. "

My challenge includes penning a series of lunes with a maximum of 75 words.   I have decided to use my split personality voices  to Marian's challenge on Living or being stuck in the Past. My first two poems are based on Kerry's Imperfect Recall.   Our head toad is inspiration to all of us.   I thank her for all the encouragement she has given me over the last 2 years.
Imperfect Recall 

spoon this liquid
and your muscles will cease
to strum strain

under insomniac ceiling
blue stars will glow faultlessly
to repulse shadows

laboring by window
your eyes will mist missing
ingredients scattered thinly 

in an ellipsis 

your right hand grasps book
wrinkled bitten flayed

yet each page
stretched taut over gaping wound
is jade adorned



I am pink
and faithful at first swallow.
I treat disconsolate

with potent blows. 
All becomes ivory, where once
words bruised lavender.

I fill blanks
with happenstance, aches with honey.
I am river

rewinding what glowed,
fleshing what is absent : You
circling back to

Me. An arrow
separates us.   Thicker than magnet.
Murmuring a past

   perfect & luscious. 
As your lips wild tango
with my tongue.



       Morning taps gently

          I stir to see sun 
          bearing marmalade, coffee

       Sugar-glazed, cinnamon, spice-
         we inhale deeply warm silence
         with yellow-breasted birds

       Your eyes moon-drunk
         meet mine over soprano sky-       
         savor this -  sip ! 

To complete the cycle of words, my third poem is based on my very first encounter with Michael's poem - SIP. His strong & unique voice inspires me too. 

There is no Mr. Linky for this personal challenge post.   However if you feel inspired to write a response or craft a lune, single or series, feel free to leave your link in the comments & we will visit you.   Here is a quick refresher on lunes form. 

Thanks so much for reading and wishing you all Happy Tuesday ~

Grace (aka Heaven)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Open Link Monday

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden ...

photo credit: Otto Phokus via photopin cc
Do you have a special place, where you like to write poetry? Perhaps a park bench, a bolt-hole in your home which you have claimed as your personal space or maybe your thoughts gather as you are commuting to work. In the mad rush of daily living, many poets must find that space in their hearts and minds, and carve out a little time from their busy days to commit the words that circle there to screen, phone memo pad or notebook. Whatever your method, it is always a joy to be able to participate in the process, here in the Imaginary Garden and our rewards are great - the privilege of reading some of the best poetry on the blogs.

Please link up your latest, or an old favourite poem which you would like to share. There are no restrictions to who may participate or whether your poem has been previously linked to a different meme but this is a poetry site, so an unrelated post featuring a different genre could be removed.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Play it Again, Toads!

Welcome to the first Play it Again, Toads!  I, Margaret, am pleased to host this monthly challenge.  Each month I will highlight three challenges from the Imaginary Toad's archives.  Just click the attached link and you will be transported back in time.  However, if you have another prompt you have always wanted to try or re-try, by all means, help yourself.

Archive #1:  Mary's Mixed Bag - working conversation into a poem.  Click HERE.

Archive #2:  Kerry's Word Challenge - write an Epistle or letter.  Click HERE.

Archive #3:  Hedgewitch's "Chained Rhyme, Part One"  Click HERE.

I took the above photos at Hatteras Island (North Carolina's Outerbanks) last weekend on a mother/daughter trip.  You may work them into your archived poem selection if you like.

Please, original poems and link your specific post to Mr. Linky below.  Also, make it clear which challenge you are resurrecting, and include a link.

Note:  I will be taking ANOTHER trip with another daughter this weekend and that is why I have been a bit absent here - but I will make up for it next week and visit everyone and will pop in here a bit over the weekend.  When I get back I will visit everyone.

As many of you know, this challenge is posted Saturday at noon in order to give you some time to ponder … Monday Open Link will post Sunday at midnight, so remember, you can always join us with your efforts there as well.  I look forward to reading all your amazing creativity!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Fireblossom Friday: Clothes Make the Woman!

Hello dear Toads and pond followers! It's Fireblossom here with another Fireblossom Friday challenge!

I'm sure you've all heard the expression "clothes make the man". Well, today, the clothes make the poem, or at least contribute significantly to it!

What I want you to do is to write a poem in which clothes play a significant part. Here are just a few ideas: a wedding dress, a military uniform, a favorite pair of shoes, an item of clothing that was a gift, or something that someone else wore that moved you in some way.

What about little girls playing dress-up? Rebel rebel, did you tear your dress? Or maybe you wore blue velvet?

Now, to be clear, I want more than a fleeting mention of something worn; it needs to be important to the poem. It can be something you wore or would like to wear. It can be something worn by someone else; someone you know, or a complete stranger who captivated you by their appearance. You could also write about someone whose attire was so odd or unusual that it made you notice.

Some clothing is ceremonial in nature, or identifies the wearer as a member of a certain group or tribe.

Now, Catblossom would like to come in with the LARGE PRINT. This must be a NEW poem written especially for this challenge. No re-posts. The poem must have some item of clothing as an important component, not just something mentioned in passing. If Catblossom feels that anyone linking has not made an honest effort to do the challenge as laid out, she will remove it. It's a specific challenge, not a "prompt", not a loose suggestion.

Feel free to use any of the images I have used here, or something of your own, or none.

Have fun, link up, and I will be around to read all of your poems!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wednesdays with Peggy

It's in the Eyes

 This week I want you to write about eyes.

What do you see when you look in someone's eyes?  There are many things to be seen in eyes. Sometimes joy, pain, love, hate, acceptance, sadness, anger, mischief, innocence, evil or even blankness.

As an added twist, try to keep your poem to 75 words or less.

Thank you all for the opportunity to participate in the Pond. This will be my last prompt for now as I find my life is amazingly full these days. I will continue to come by the Pond as I can and check out what you are all writing.

And I will check out everything posted in response to this prompt!! So please post your "eyes" poems with Mr. Linky below. Write on you talented Toads!

Love, Peggy Goetz

Monday, January 20, 2014

Open Link Monday

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden ...

photo credit: Shotaku via photopin cc

Warm greetings to all toads (frogs included) and friends of amphibious creatures. All are welcome to our weekly open link event in the garden. Last week flew by in a sweltering heatwave, and I have cause to envy the chill temperatures of the northern climes.
And here we are again, on another Monday, with the anticipation of a great week of poetry ahead of us. Please join us in sharing your pick of poems by linking up below. I encourage you to read and comment on the work of others. Very few poets can thrive in a vacuum - all reviews are much appreciated.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

When I Write Tanka (Part 2) ~ Hisashi Nakamura

This is the final part of our series on the writing of tanka poetry, brought to us by Dr Hisashi Nakamura. In When I Write Tanka (Part 1), he discussed four essential components of the tanka form. I now hand over to him to conclude.

5. Space and Time 

When a tanka has words associated with both space and time, it creates a three dimensional poetry world where suggestiveness lingers.

Stifled by the air 
Laden with the rusty dust 
Of the passing years, 
The dead cranes in the shipyard 
Idly dangle their cables.

Under my bare feet 
I feel the fine grain of wood 
Of the temple floor. 
The shadow of ancient eaves 
Falls upon me as I pass.

6 Finding Something in an Ordinary Daily Scene 

It is not necessary to struggle to find a theme about which you compose tanka. When your mind is at peace things surrounding you come into your mind to create poetry.

The stillness and warmth 
Of the autumn day embrace 
The wandering bee. 
As the evening rays weaken 
His shadow melts into the stone.

7 Fusing My Mind with Nature 

I often feel that I find my feelings in nature and nature reflects myself as if nature and myself fuse together. This experience creates tanka which may be very personal and may not be appreciated by many people. 

Now the spring rain falls 
Day after day in silence 
Over the wild moors, 
Healing the wounds of the soul, 
Seeping deep into the earth. 

A red poppy field 
In a sea of June sunlight 
Under a blank sky; 
From the cool innocent earth 
Long gone wounded souls seep out. 

Our challenge: Let us try to bring together all we have learnt about tanka these last few months. You may link as many tanka as you like, either separately or in the same post.

All poems featured are © Hisashi Nakamura 2013 (Printed with permission)

I take this opportunity to thank Dr Nakamura, on behalf of all members and followers of The Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, for his unstinting generosity in sharing his expertise with us. Such encouragement is invaluable.

Photo Credits:

Autumn Pagoda: photo credit: terratrekking via photopin cc
City Deer: photo credit: Richard.Fisher via photopin cc
Cranes: photo credit: wildphotons via photopin cc

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Persons of Interest

My darling Toads, it seems another Friday challenge is upon me and to tell the truth it has me thinking of my annual trip to Isla Holbox, Mexico which is coming up in February. It will be my sixth time to this little island paradise, a fishing village of 2500 people on the Yucatan peninsula about three hours from the hustle and bustle of Cancun.  This isn't your normal tourist destination, at least not yet.  There are no cars, no all inclusive resorts, no locals hocking trinkets on the beach. It is a destination that requires relaxation.  There is no TV in the room of the hotel that we stay at, but that has never been a problem. What there is, is an abundance of people from all walks of life and from all corners of the world.  It's palapa bars, great food in charming, quaint restaurants. It's soccer in the sand, flyfishing on a stretch of beach that runs for miles with not another living soul in site.  Holbox is one of the few places that I have been where time doesn't seem to matter in the least, its tequila and a cold beer, micheladas and fresh Cobia. Ok, ok I know, you get it.  The bigger point I want to make is the best part of the whole thing is the people that I have met on these trips, good, bad, beautiful, interesting and as wonderful as the day is long.  That is what I am basing this challenge on. If you awesome amphibians are up for it, I want you to think of someone you have met on a special trip to your special place and write about them.  Once again, it can be a poem, a story, a soup can label, an advertisement, I don't care about the format.  I find that giving some unsupervised space helps the creativity flow.  Below is a  picture of the beach in front of our room and a poem about the wife of one of my favorite Argentinian island boys that arrived on the island to work the very day we checked in for the first time,  his name is Christian. The title is his wife's name and he calls my wife and I mom and dad......heavy sigh!  So go forth and propagate my loves and don't stop until it feels right! As always thank you to all who participate...XXOO!


He brought you this fish mi amor, to hang your life on
Under his hand, life struggles to be a perfect circle
Under yours, the circle changes into shimmering possibilities
The softness of your skin, matching the bright red spot on his heart

Mi casa es su casa, mi amor

For you the sea called and you answered with unblinking brown eyes
It asked you for a favor, one that only you could fulfill
It handed you the silver chain, the one attached to his soul
A prize stolen by the sea in days of doubt and contemplation

Mi corazon es su corazon, mi amor

"Put this under your pillow child and hold him with your eyes"
You did and for one week the tide whispered your name as you slept
And the chain dissappeared from this world silently
Slipping around your waist, your soul, securing this Mexican destiny

Mi vida es su vida, mi amor

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Get Listed with Brendan: Moon Madness

First of all, thanks to Kerry and the Toads crew for welcoming me back to the pond and for this opportunity to pitch a prompt. Sylvia Plath wrote The Moon and the Yew Tree in response to a prompt, so I thought it would be interesting to use some words from that poem as a sort of responsorial prompt. Our conversation often does that, one poem suggesting another … the road of language leads to many startling way-stations.

The story: In 1961, Plath and her then-husband Ted Hughes had moved to a house in the Devon countryside. A new, deeper, wilder voice was beginning to emerge in her poems that would go into her posthumous collection Ariel. Across the way from their house was the ancient Anglican church of St. Peter’s, with its 13th-century tower and an adjoining graveyard. A very old place—and not far from it were the ruins of an pre-historic hill-fort. Fertile loam for two poets whose best work emerged from their dirt. One morning in October, when a full moon was setting just behind the yew tree in the graveyard, Hughes assigned Plath the job of writing a verse “exercise” about the scene. “The Moon and the Yew Tree” is the result. If you haven’t read the poem (linked above) you might want to wait until after you’ve tried your hand at writing a poem with its salt.

Sylvia Plath
File Photo (Fair Use)

I first heard “The Moon In the Yew Tree” nearly 40 years ago when I took my first college class in American poetry. Hefty yet keen as an axe-blade, that poem split wide the deep vaults of the English language for me, a place I immediately fell in love with. Marvell called it “the dazzling dark.” I heard it again reading places in Shakespeare (think of the Weird Sisters), in Melville’s Moby Dick—and, ironically, much later, in Ted Hughes’ poems. The roots of poetry are very old, and there are sounds in poetry that are spooked with these reaches. Dark and resonant, soaked in the waters of the dead. They aren’t words to be taken lightly. Plath was peerless in her fearless embrace of them; perhaps too much so. Plath committed suicide in February 1963 during one the coldest winters to hit northern England in a century.

Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes
File Photo (Fair Use)

Anyway, the deep lyric resonance of “The Moon and The Yew Tree” attended some of my most awful moments in my early, suicidal 20s. Yet as I now re-read her collected poems, I savor witnessing some of the most jaw-dropping encounters with the language. To me it seems there was a Savage Editor at work in her inner ear, cutting away everything but the deadliest essentials. Hughes once said that Plath was like a war-bird in her thesaurus, circling words with heavy ink, mining the burningest ones to set into her revisions. That saying that that which doesn’t kill us will set us free may be truest here. As the moon now nears fullness, I wonder if we can spoon the following 15 words from the still-simmering cauldron of Plath’s “The Moon and The Yew Tree.” Maybe there's fresh inspiration even after a perfection. Happy writing! -- Brendan

The challenge:

Pick at least 5 of the following words to use in a poem of your own design and link to it below.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Open Link Monday

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden ...

photo credit: Nellie Windmill via photopin cc
I have watched weather forecasts from the Northern Hemisphere with a kind of fascinated horror, this past week, while I swelter through some of our hottest days of summer. When I read statements like, 'colder than the surface of Mars', it seems that life has entered the realm of the imaginary. I was very relieved to hear a thaw was expected by the weekend, and I certainly hope that Monday is the start of a much warmer week for those who are still in the throes of Winter.

On a personal note, it is 'back to work' day for me, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our toad members for the amazing prompts and challenges which inspired us through the festive season. I have definitely felt a new sense of vigour when it comes to my own writing, and the poetry that has been posted here has been nothing short of amazing.  In that spirit, I invite one and all to link up a poem of their choice to share in the garden today. Remember to take the time to read some of the poems linked alongside your own - none of us works in a vacuum and your support is invaluable.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sunday Feature Artist: Elisabetta Trevisan

Hi everyone !   I am excited to share with you the work of Italian artist, Elisabetta Trevisan.  She was born in 1957 in Merano, a town in northern Italy, bordering on Austria.  She attended the art school of Padua and her father is a famous illustrator and cartoonist.  


"I have always devoted myself mainly to painting. My artworks are realized using medium density panels on which I work mixing different techniques; gouache, pastel, water colour. I also decorate on backed clay, glass, wood, fabrics, mural surfaces and self-made Papier-maché objects. Moreover, I have contributed as an illustrator to many magazines, illustrated a children book on ecology in collaboration with Ente Parco Fiume Sile, painted a collector's pack of tarot ed. Lo Scarabeo – Torino, realized settings for animated films for the television."

The Witch

Necklace of Pearls

Chimera, The Sound of Thunder

The Night


The Passage

Klairi Angelou writes:

"Elisabetta Trevisan, inspired by the Renaissance and the Pre-Raphaelites with their infamous depiction of female figures in interior and exterior environments, has created a stunning oeuvre dominated by women with beautiful hair styles and flowing fabrics."

Website:  here
You can find her in Facebook

Our challenge is to write a new poem or prose poem or flash fiction (250 words limit)  based on the work & theme (women) of Elisabetta Trevisan. If you upload her image/s in your writing, please acknowledge the name of the artist and link to her site. She has expressed interest in our work and I will be sending her 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)