Friday, February 28, 2014

Fireblossom Friday: Rhyme Royal & W.T. Benda

Hello, dear Toads and Pond followers! Fireblossom here with another Fireblossom Friday. Today we're going to try the Rhyme Royal. It's pretty simple, really. 

The rhyme scheme is a-b-a-b-b-c-c. You can write seven-line stanzas, or you can break it up as a tercet and two couplets, like this:

a-b-a, b-b, c-c

OR as a quatrain and a tercet, like this:

a-b-a-b, b-c-c.

You can stop with seven lines, or repeat your pattern for as many stanzas as you like, making the Rhyme Royal a fine vehicle for narrative poetry. There is no syllable count, and although the Rhyme Royal is often written in iambic pentameter, we're not bothering with that today. Just follow the rhyme scheme and one of the seven line patterns I have laid out above.

Free verse option: for those who prefer to write free verse, here is your challenge. Write for any of the illustrations of W.T.Benda which I have included in this post. Wladyslaw Teodor Benda was born in Poland in 1873, and created illustrations for magazines, books and posters before dying in Newark, New Jersey in 1948. In his day, he was as well-known as Rockwell, Wyeth or Parrish, and his women have an exotic quality that I find quite appealing.

If you're really feeling adventurous, write a Rhyme Royal AND use one of Benda's illustrations to inspire you!

For this challenge, please write a NEW poem specifically for this challenge. Write a Rhyme Royal and/or something inspired by the art of W. T. Benda. Have fun! 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bits of Inspiration ~ Glitter In The Air

Hello, fellow toads and all who visit here. This is Susie Clevenger and this is my first time to post a Wednesday challenge. I struggled with what to call my postings and settled on Bits of Inspiration. This week's inspiration comes from a song by Pink titled Glitter In The Air (written by Alicia Moore & Billy Mann).

The following is a sampling of the lyrics and you can find the entire song here.

"Have you ever felt a lover with just your hands?
Close your eyes and trust it, just trust it
Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air?"

"It's only half past the point of no return
The tip of the iceberg, the sun before the burn"

"Have you ever wished for an endless night?
Lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight"

My challenge is for you to watch the video...listen to the song...and find your poetry in it. Not only are the words and her voice beautiful but the grace of her acrobatics is stunning. Perhaps when you watch it the colors will inspire you...the vivid blue, white, purple. Take a deep breath and create. 

As always please write a new poem for the challenge and visit the fellow contributors to read their work.

My oldest daughter, Dawn, is having surgery today so please excuse me if I am late in responding. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Open Link Monday

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden ...

photo credit: arbyreed via photopin cc
Good morning (or afternoon or evening) to all our followers and weekly visitors to the garden. I hope this Monday has dawned brightly in your part of the world. By now, you all know the drill of our open link: share a poem of your choice, spare a few minutes to visit the blogs of others and, most importantly, enjoy this gift of poetry in the company of friends.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Play It Again, Toads #2

An Asheville, NC B&B
 Welcome to Play it Again, Toads! I, Margaret, am pleased to be back with this monthly challenge.  Please do not feel restricted to the three I have chosen to highlight from the Toad's archives.  Feel free to explore and find one that inspires you to try for the first time or to "play" again.

Middleton Plantation, SC
When I travel I adore photographing historical homes - when I take walks I enjoy snapping photographs of interesting houses, gardens, and architecture.  I have included a few here today - feel free to use them as inspiration if you wish - however, they must be combined with an archived challenge.
Middleton Plantation, SC
Archive #1:  "An Ink-Stained Word List" HERE

Archive #2:  "Lights, Camera, Love!"  HERE

Archive #3:  "Jargon" HERE

Limestone Farmhouse
Please, original poems only and link your specific post to Mr. Linky below.  Please make it clear which challenge you are resurrecting by including a link.

This challenge is posted Saturday at noon in order to give time to ponder a response. Monday Open link will post Sunday at midnight and you can join us with your efforts there as well if you are running a bit late.

Southern Front Porch
I look forward to your amazing creativity!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

All Mixed Up!!!

Happy Friday my dear Toads, Herotomost here with another improvised challenge, I nearly forgot that I was up today. My post vacation memory still has me sitting on the beach, talking to the Argentinean girls and scarfing on fish tacos that only we were able to get much to the chagrin and irritation of the rest of the guests.  I felt like royalty. Its nice to be

Anywho, enough about all that. I want to talk about the age old romantic art of arranging mix tapes for your mad crush. You know, that one mix of perfectly ordered songs that you knew would bring that special someone to their knees, the one that would endear you to him/her so completely that you spent hours trudging through your collection to show them your wide range of musical tastes and the fact that you are as hip as any beatnik sipping coffee and wearing turtle necks on the second floor of Vesuvio.

So to honor this tradition of love, I want you to write me something that screams "look at me my love", but not in a way that is lacy and ethereal like some writing about love.  I want you to be cheesy, lusty, rapturous, obsessed, candid, fun, belligerent or awkward.  I want the real face of love, clumsy and heady, obtuse and full of blushing. You can use the mix tape as a subject or not, but I want that idea to at least hang in the air. This should be new writing, poem, snippet, billboard, short story, autobiography or an ode to a long lost tribe of talking rabbits....I am know that.

If you feel that this challenge is not for you, you are welcome to skip it or write whatever the hell you want, I like that too. If your piece will over 300,000 words long please inform Kerry as she will already be mad that I have spoken of romance once again, although in my has been awhile and spring is coming, you know about a young (ha!) mans fancy!!!!!!

Thanks so much for at least considering the challenge, I always look forward to seeing what you have up your sick little sleeves.  Love you all!!!!!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Get Listed! with Kenia Cris

I’m delighted to have been invited to contribute with this month’s Get Listed Prompt, thank you very much Kerry.

Kenia Cris

I’m a book addict, I have read quite a lot and it was really difficult to choose from the selection of amazing texts I have in mind one that could provide inspiring words for you today. I then decided to go with science fiction. It’s my favorite literary genre, together with fantasy so my list comes from a favorite book of mine Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? written by Phillip K. Dick, published in 1968 and made into a movie in 1982. The novel is set in a post-apocaliptic near future, where life on Earth has been altered by nuclear war and most of its residents have been relocated to a new colony on Mars.

See link below
(Copyright status unknown)

If you find it crazy to imagine, you should remember a huge number of people have volunteered to inhabit the first private colony in the red planet [Source] , and you might agree these photos of the sunrise in Mars look really great.

Original Cover
Fair Use

Back to our novel, radioactive dust killed many forms of life and in the remaining society, life has become really important and valuable. The book is mostly about empathy, about how how connecting with others’ feelings can bring people together. I guess you should know it’s an electric toad that teaches Rick Deckard, the main character, a bounty hunter, the true sense of empathy, when he makes up his mind to love the fake toad as if it were real. Well, I offer you a list of words chosen randomly by flicking through the book. I really hope you enjoy the it!





















Imagined by Kenia Cris

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Personal Challenge Number Three!

Hello, dear Toads, and welcome to Personal Challenge Post Number Three. My challenge was provided by Grace/Heaven, and despite its relative simplicity, I managed to muck it up, as you’ll see below. But welcome to my post, in all its convoluted glory.

Grace’s challenge was for me to write two poems, in sonnet or cinquain form. I’ll spoil this right up front and tell you that I ended up writing three sonnets. (Argh.) You might remember that I wrote cinquains with great fury a while back, and I seem to have burnt myself out on the form. Plus, I find sonnets extremely challenging, so I figured I should really take on Grace’s challenge for what it is: CHALLENGE. Sonnets!

For the first poem, Grace asked me to choose among the recent work of a fellow Toad (as Michael/Grapeling has previously challenged her), and write a response that may be totally different or showing a different point of view. I decided to respond to a poem by dear Susie Clevenger that particularly struck me. Susie’s poem is called Fist Held Verses. Please click through and read Susie's wonderful, inspiring poem. My response is a Kyrielle sonnet:

She Wishes to Loosen the Verse-Grip
Now that you’ve fairly exorcised
every Demon courting you last
night, last week, or yesterday’s lies,
as if your Verses could surpass

The reality of your Truth,
virtue spilled on the page, forecast
cold with a chance of where-are-you
in the simpler Time just gone past

Your prime, your Words resonating
but flying, coming very fast,
sketchily approximating
the Saddest years, already passed

Like yesteryear’s iconoclast,
you stay stuck, scribbling down the Past.

The second part of Grace’s challenge was for me to use the title of the poem Metamorphosis by Sylvia Plath or get inspiration from her work to write a response. Here is where I messed up: though Grace helpfully provided me with a link to the poem to which she wanted me to respond, I unhelpfully did not notice said link, and responded to a wholly different poem. Did you know that Sylvia Plath has TWO poems with "metamorphosis/es" in the title? Well, now you do.

So I wrote another Kyrielle sonnet for poem number two, responding to the very beautiful poem Metamorphoses of the Moon by Sylvia Plath:

For Sylvia, By Moon-Light
In a wish for barren Night
or light or want of foresight,
unbelieving she’d be seen
between the Moon and a dream,

Unleashed, her callous fervor
set lust against lust once more,
but more is not what it seems
when begging the Moon for dreams.

Too soon her spit uncovers,
flits away from Light, lovers
& Night indulgence to breathe
where the dampish Moon meets dreams--

She might wish for simple dreams,
but Moon-dreams aren’t how they seem.

(Actually, the above poem has seven-syllable lines and the Kyrielle requires eight. I claim poetic license.)

Thinking I was all finished, I was reviewing Grace’s challenge over the weekend and discovered her link, to a different poem. Eek! So, I decided it was my own tough luck and wrote a third Kyrielle sonnet, responding to the poem Metamorphosis by Sylvia Plath, as Grace intended:

Unspeakable Pleasure
& In the longest, coldest month,
you’d assume sustenance within,
but she relied on amaranth
to absolve her plentiful sins--

If frozen Heart, still immortal,
caught wind of any beats human,
it lunged like a cur, distorted,
not minding tending many sins

Born in sullen February,
grown in a Crucible of wind,
nurtured amber’s never wary
of her temptation, boozy sin--

Much tragedy, unfading in
a Month of cold and ample Sin.

The title of the above poem refers to a poem called Bereavement by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Don’t ask how I made these connections, because I really don't think I can explain. But, whew! My challenge is (more than) complete.

We do not provide a Linky for personal challenge posts, but if you are crazy enough to be inspired to write sonnets, or are inspired by any other part of this long, long post, feel free to write and share a link with us in the comments. I promise to visit you if you do. And if you are still reading, thank you so much for indulging me. Love & XO, Marian

Monday, February 17, 2014

Open Link Monday

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden...

photo credit: samikki via photopin cc

With Valentine's Day behind us and the lovely days of March still to come, I'm sure we are all feeling a heartening sense of renewal in the air. My hope is that this will stir the muse and give rise to many poetic thoughts and writing which we can all enjoy together in the garden.

Monday in the garden affords everyone the opportunity to link up a poem of their choice, old or new, on any subject without prerequisite. This is not the case with our weekly prompts which have specific requirements. I am sure most of our regular followers are aware of our policy, but it bears repeating for the sake of new-comers. Unrelated links will be removed from Wednesday, Friday and Sunday challenges.

I wish you all a very happy week.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sunday Form Challenge ~ Quatern

A Quatern is a sixteen line French form composed of four quatrains. It is similar to the Kyrielle, which repeats line 4 as a refrain throughout the poem. However, with the Quatern, the refrain is in a different place in each quatrain. The first line of stanza one is the second line of stanza two, third line of stanza three, and fourth line of stanza four. A quatern has eight syllables per line. It does not have to be iambic or follow a set rhyme scheme.


line 1
line 2
line 3
line 4

line 5
line 6 (line 1)
line 7
line 8

line 9
line 10
line 11 (line 1)
line 12

line 13
line 14
line 15
line 16 (line 1)

All lines have 8 syllables.

For those who prefer the Free Verse option of this challenge, please write to the theme of FOUR.

In keeping with the spirit of the mini-challenge, only new poems are called for as the post airs at noon on Saturday to allow extra time for the creative process.

Photo Credits:
Four people - photo credit: greekadman via photopin cc
Four glasses - photo credit: nickwheeleroz via photopin cc
Four horses - photo credit: Hindrik S via photopin cc


Friday, February 14, 2014

Artistic Interpretations with Margaret - "Queen Bee" Art Project with Toril

Luna and Shaman Rabbit, by Toril Fisher
Welcome to "Artistic Interpretations" with Margaret.  For February's challenge, I introduce you to an artist, farmer, and dear friend, Toril Fisher.

She is currently working on a series of paintings rehabilitating old beehive lids she found in the woods. They have become her canvas for compositions filled with images of beauty and interconnectedness of all living creatures and our amazing Mother Earth.  

She selected beehive lids with a strategic purpose in mind.  Toril states, "With the USDA de-regulation of 24d herbicide (50% of the mixture of 24d is Agent Orange), we continue to see a systemic failure to protect the health of our environment and our children.  Additionally, bee populations are in rapid decline as a result of mono-crop cultures and the increased use of these dangerous chemicals." 

Her hope is that by placing images of our relationship to nature on the homes which housed these vital and beautiful creatures, she might begin a conversation.

Gatitude, by Toril Fisher
Toril studied painting and metals at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed her BFA at Pacific Lutheran University in Washington State.  She currently resides in LaFarge, Wisconsin and manages a small farm, Second Cloud on the Left Farm, with her husband Drew and her parents.  The farm specializes in growing all heirloom, endangered, and rare varieties of produce.

You can find links to her farm blog and Facebook page via the above link.   Toril not only has a way with paint, but a way with words.  I adore her blog articles on Bernice Schroeder, "Queen of the Kickapoo"  Part One and Part Two, and the painting below somehow reminds me of Bernice Schroeder (my own interpretation).

Kalidescope Creek, by Toril Fisher
When asked for an artistic statement, Toril hesitates to write a formal statement about her work for fear of making frozen comments that potentially gain too much authority on what is depicted in her work.

Her work here and others she is currently working on will be on display and for sale at the Driftless Cafe in Viroqua, WI in May 2014.   Each painting is $300 + shipping.  Toril will donate a percentage of her sales from this show to the Xerces Society.  The Xerces Society advocates on behalf of threatened, endangered, and at-risk invertebrates and their habitats.  From the world's rarest butterflies, caddisflies that live solely in one stream, to declining bumble bee populations, the Xerces Society is dedicated to protecting invertebrates and the ecosystems that depend on them.

Star Valley Flower Farm, by Toril Fisher
For this challenge, please use these images for inspiration to promote Toril's desire to begin a conversation about the beauty and interconnectedness all living creatures share with our amazing Mother Earth.  

Please credit and link Toril Fisher as inspiration for your poem(s) by linking her website, Second Cloud on the Left Farm

I prefer all poems be freshly penned, however, if you have a previous effort that is screaming for a re-write, please feel free to do so.

Please link specific post to "Mr. Linky" below and feel free to write to more than one image.  As always, Fridays can be hectic, so please feel free to submit late and remember, Monday is "Open Link" here at the Garden.    I look forward to your artistic interpretations. 

Uprising, by Toril Fisher

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Out of Standard

Greetings Garden Dwellers.  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, but caution: there will be a twist.  Let’s move onward to February’s challenge...


Wikipedia defines erasure poem as a poem created by erasing words from an existing text and framing the result on the page as a poem. The results can be allowed to stand in place, or they can arranged into lines and/or stanzas.

Below is an example of an erasure poem cobbled from a work of Bukowski.

Erasure poems can be used as a tool to reframe a political dialogue.  In her book The ms of my kin, Janet Homes erases the poems of Emily Dickinson written in 1861-62, the first few years of the Civil War, to discuss the more contemporary Iraq War.

But this is the Out of Standard, and you all knew there was a twist coming. 

The Challenge:
Go to your local news source, be it a newspaper or website and write an erasure poem from a local news story which posted today.  Your erasure poem may be as long or short as you would like, but you must adhere to the following rules

  1. You cannot add text to your poem.  All lines must already exist within the news story.
  2. You cannot change the order of the words or lines.  They must appear in the same order which they appeared in the story. 

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 now, my muddy buddies, and bring us back something shiny and new.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Open Link Monday

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden ...

photo credit: monteregina via photopin cc

Wishing all visitors and dwellers in the garden a very happy Monday. The second week of February always carries with it the hope of love and a change of seasons - both traditionally proven to be effective inspiration for poetry. With this in mind, the invitation is once more extended to all who would like to share their work on this forum. There are no restrictions in terms of subject, theme or form, so long as your posts qualify under the genre of poetry. Poems written for other memes are also welcome, for a second viewing, as are older pieces from your archives. Above all, we hope that you enjoy your time spent here. Please take the time to visit other posts, and leave commentary. Your thoughts are always appreciated.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sunday Feature Artist: Lisa Graham

Hello toads & fellow visitors!!   I am very happy to feature the lovely artwork by Lisa Graham.   She is a registered nurse by training and self-taught artist, family girl and art junkie living in Wichita, Kansas, USA.    

"I have explored creative outlets since,  piano, cello, doll making and more... but did not find my  true love in art until nearly 42 years of age, when out of boredom I drew a picture of a chair in my living room with my grown son's old Crayola colored pencils.  I was so elated with the result that I went out the very next day and bought  a quality set of colored pencils and I drew anything and everything I could think of  for the next two months.   I felt like I had tapped into a part of my brain that had never been used before. Then one winter night at a friend's house, she suggested we paint something.   I have been painting ever since.

The inspiration for my art work is drawn from a vast mix of imagination, emotion, life travels,family, friends, and every day scenes and places that catch my attention.   A  funny expression, an old photo, a beautiful building, a quaint cafe, a mother leading her children, grief and loss and joy, or even the color of my morning coffee...these are all the things I love to capture in my paintings."

           Bree & Dreamweaver Coat

The Blessing Bringer

                                                                    Scrapbook City

                                                                                    Fleeting Thoughts
                                                     Mama Likes the House in Order

                                                                The Wishing Sisters

                                  Georgey and Esther Attend Couple's Therapy

                                                               Sunflower Stepper
"I hope my work brings you joy and causes you to look more closely at the beautiful world around you.  I also hope that if you have ever wished you could draw or paint that my story will encourage you to take that first step.  Discovering this passion for art has been life changing for me and it would be for you too!

Thank you for looking at my art!"

Facebook:   Lisa Graham Art 
Etsy Shop:

Our challenge is to write a new poem or prose poem or flash fiction (250 words limit)  based on the work of Lisa Graham. 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)