Saturday, May 31, 2014

Flash Fiction 55

Yes, today is the day, toads and toadettes, followers and friends, that we provide a platform for the internet writing meme known as Flash Fiction 55. We are following in the tire-tracks of the G-Man,   (MrKnowitall) who for seven years gave us the Friday 55 prompt. While the Imaginary Garden is unable to host this meme every Friday as G-man did, we will have it up on every Saturday of the first weekend of every month, hosted alternately by Fireblossom and Mama Zen.  I am here today (and tomorrow) standing in as your occasional substitute,/back-up host, hedgewitch.

The rules are simple. Write a poem, prose poem, or piece of flash fiction which uses exactly 55 words to tell its story. Not 54, not 56. You get the drift. I will be around to applaud your efforts, then book in the approved fashion.

The subject is your own choice, and you can use a poetic form, write a short story or just simply a bit of free verse, so long as it contains exactly 55 words. This is not always as easy as it sounds, but it's almost always much more fun.

You may not be able to drive 55, (or have hair this 80's) but trust me, you can write it.

After you've written your Flash of genius, link up below, and do some pond-hopping to see what others have come up with. I'll be around to see the results--and remember, the challenge is up for the whole weekend, so don't hesitate to post Sunday if Saturday is booked up for you.

Image: 55 Chevy Truck wallpaper, via

Friday, May 30, 2014

Artistic Interpretations with Margaret - Sketchbook Poetry

Chelsea's first day of sketching - Arch of Septimus Severus,  Rome, Italy
The Artist

I turn my back, throw a coin
over my shoulder, "splash"
ensure I'll be back

to this city arching over me,
thrilling me like gelato
on the tongue,

but no peanut butter.

The people are golden
like sun-kissed stucco, features stamped
with strength of the ages.

I just want to sit,
timeless as La Fontana Di Trevi,
sketchbook open,

capture the enchantment, gather the love.

by Margaret Bednar, May 28, 2014

Welcome to "Artistic Interpretations"

For May's challenge, I ask you to write in a poetic style I think of as "sketchbook" poetry.  One definition of "sketch" is a brief, often hastily executed outline of facts, occurrences, etc, giving essential features without many details.

As you can imagine, I adore thumbing through my daughter's sketchbooks, stumbling across a two page spread that encompasses a whole day - I have quite a few from over the years set aside that I want to write a poem for - some are from when she was a small child!

My daughter, Chelsea,  texted me from Rome, Italy, with the above sketchbook page this week.  The Arch of Septimius Severus another link is HERE -   She made me laugh at her observation that apparently, Italy does not have peanut butter - of all things to journal (how she DOES love her peanut butter!).  I did include her journal text and a reference to the fountain - La Fontana Di Trevi - that she drew a detail of on another page. 

I was surprised to see the Latin origin of the word sketch, "schedium"… means extemporaneous poem!

Clearwater Beach
I realize not everyone has a journal or sketchbook, so I am providing a few images of my daughter's pages for you to use for inspiration if you wish.  You may also use the photography on this page as well.  CLICK ON ALL IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

How does one approach this challenge?   It is wide open, but I do have a few ideas:

You can specifically observe what is on the journal or sketchbook page, the colors, the curve of the lines, the journal text.

You might imagine what was surrounding the artist as he drew - what he saw, smelled, heard.

I also started thinking "out of the box" a bit.  Perhaps an old yearbook could qualify.  It is a journal of sorts - as you scan through the pages jot down thoughts, memories, comment on the style of "back then"…  I was looking at my middle school year book from the  1970's… What is left of my memory is a bit "sketchy"…

"The only way to become your own (artist)
is to defy your teachers" 

Perhaps a poem is loosely inspired by a diary post with doodles in the margins.

Maybe you are the artist, pen poised, blank piece of paper spread before you preparing to sketch what you see and write what you feel about your day.  What are you thinking, feeling, smelling, seeing?  What does your watercolor palette look like?

Clearwater Beach, FL - Springbreak

Perhaps you are just sitting absorbing a scene and have NO drawing talent… well, what would you draw if you could?

Keep a journal of your day and sketch what you see, jot down your thoughts, and collect them all in a poem at the end of the day.

Don't forget - journaling is often as important as the sketches themselves.

"Inside the Sketchbooks of Famous Artists" is a neat link that highlights Andy Warhol, Guillermo Del Toro, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, John Lennon & Yoko Ono… and many more.  Feel free to go "google exploring" on your own.

Below are several images from my daughter's sketchbook while in Rome and Florence.  Feel free to use them, but please give her credit.  (click on the image to enlarge)

I googled "Sculpture Italy rape of women" - Well, there are quite a few in Italy, it seems - "The Rape of Persephone", "The Rape of the Sabine Women", and "The Rape of Polyxena" among a few.

This marble sculpture stands in the Loggia die Lanzi, on the Piazza dell Signora, in Florence, Italy, and  is based on "The Rape of the Sabine Women" (a different link than the one above).  It is a tragedy of an early period in Roman history.  When the Sabine refused to allow their women to marry Romans they were abducted and "persuaded" to accept their fate.  Giambologna, the artist, portrait the scene with three vertical, intertwined figures.  The work is considered to be his masterpiece.

I  believe the above is a sketch Chelsea did while at the Galleria dell' Accademia.  Two of the words I can decipher in this sketch are Vanity & Atonement.  If I decipher the cursive in the top right corner I will add it here.

This marble sculpture, The Elephant and Obelisk, was designed by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini - the Egyptian obelisk was uncovered during nearby excavations.  It was unveiled in February 1667 in the Piazza della Minerva in Rome, Italy, just outside the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, where it still stands today.  A humorous side note is the tail end of the elephant faced the Benedictine monastery - quite a view for the monks!  If you would like to read more about "Bernini's Little Elephant" HERE is a nice blogpost about it.  

Ostica Antica, at the mouth of the Tiber River - it served as Rome's busy commercial port.  HERE is a well written blogpost about this ancient ruin.   I believe the sketch below represents Ostica Antica as well.

A 9 minute "Need to Know" tips on Rome, Italy

An 8 minute "Florence in a nutshell" part 1 of 2

A 4 minute "Florence in a  nutshell" part 2 of 2

For this challenge, I do require the poem(s) be new and created for this prompt.  Please link your specific post to "Mr. Linky" below and feel free to write more than one poem.  As we know, Friday is often a hectic day, so please feel free to submit late and remember, Monday is "Open Link" here in the Garden.  Thank you, and I look forward to your artistic interpretations.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Poem is a Curse

Macha Curses the Men of Ulster-courtsey of Wiki Commons

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.  It is in that spirit in which I present May’s challenge...


The prompt be simple:  the poem is curse.  On who, for what, cast by whom, using which ingredients.....all of that is you choosing.  I can’t wait to see what you come up with!!!!

The  Canisters of King Tut's Tomb
- courtesy of Wiki Commons

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.  

A German stamp celebrates the curse of Sleeping Beauty-1969
courtesy of Wiki Commons

Monday, May 26, 2014

Open Link Monday

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden ...

Original Source Unknown

“Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.” 
― Zelda Fitzgerald

Good morning, afternoon, evening to all poets who join us here during the hours of Monday as they stretch out all over the globe. As it is the last Monday in May, our friends in the United States are celebrating Memorial Day. I take this as a good opportunity for all citizens of the world to pause and remember those men and women who have lost their lives in war zones, past and present. Open Link Monday has no specific theme, but you are welcome to share your thoughts and/or poems written specifically with this day in mind. Alternatively, please link up a poem of your choice and enjoy some time spent in the garden.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Play It Again, Toads #5

Welcome to the fifth "Play it Again, Toads!"  I am sharing five of my daughter's artistic creations - projects/assignments she completed her freshman year of college.  She is in Italy studying abroad for a couple of weeks and I am unable to ask her what the specifics were for each.  I do remember for one of them it was "Invisible Cities".

These images are an OPTION - they do NOT have to be used in this challenge.  But, if you do use an image, it must be combined with an archived challenge.  You are free to select a challenge from the three I highlight below OR choose any challenge this garden has ever offered.  The archive is on the right sidebar:  2011 - 2014!

Challenge #1:  Words Count with Mama Zen - HERE

Challenge #2:  "Dirt Farmer" Imagined by Marian - HERE

Challenge #3:  "Figurative Language" - HERE

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.

Remember, Open Link Monday is around the corner and available for those who are unable to finish this weekend.  I look forward to reading your poems and I will be checking back here for any late submissions.

Friday, May 23, 2014

So Much Mine

THE STORY was Jonatha Brooke and Jennifer Kimball, who met and began performing together in college and both of whom have vibrant solo careers still today. This song has been making me weep since 1993. Enjoy!

Your challenge is to write a new poem about mothers and daughters, folksingers, 90’s hairstyles, dissonant harmonies, love sweet love, or anything else that this beautiful song inspires.

So much
So much mine
Now I reach for you
But I cannot find you

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Kerry Says - Let's Include Pathetic Fallacy

Pathetic Fallacy

The ascribing of human traits or feelings to inanimate nature for eloquent effect, especially feelings in sympathy with those expressed or experienced by the writer, as a "cruel wind," a "pitiless storm," or the lines from Shelley's Adonais: 

Pale Ocean in unquiet slumber lay, 
And the Wild Winds flew round, sobbing in their dismay...

The phrase Pathetic fallacy is a literary term for the attributing of human emotion and conduct to all aspects within nature. It is a kind of personification that is found in poetic writing when, for example, clouds seem sullen, when leaves dance, when dogs laugh, or when rocks seem indifferent. 

The British cultural critic, John Ruskin, coined the term in his book, Modern Painters (1843–60), to attack the sentimentality that was common to the poetry of the late 18th century, and which use continued among his contemporaries. That fashion was waning just as John Ruskin addressed the matter; nonetheless, as a critic, Ruskin proved influential, and is credited with having helped to refine poetic expression.

The meaning of the term has changed significantly from the idea Ruskin had in mind.  His original definition is “emotional falseness” when influenced by violent or heightened passion. For example, when a person is unhinged by grief, the clouds might seem darker than they are, or perhaps mournful or perhaps even uncaring. 

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

In his essay, Ruskin demonstrates his original meaning by offering lines of a poem:

They rowed her in across the rolling foam— 
The cruel, crawling foam… 

Ruskin then points out that "the foam is not cruel, neither does it crawl. The state of mind which attributes to it these characters of a living creature is one in which the reason is unhinged by grief"—yet, Ruskin did not disapprove of this use of the pathetic fallacy: "Now, so long as we see that the feeling is true, we pardon, or are even pleased by, the confessed fallacy of sight, which it induces: we are pleased, for instance, with those lines ... above quoted, not because they fallaciously describe foam, but because they faithfully describe sorrow."

In some classical poetic forms such as the pastoral elegy, the pathetic fallacy is actually a required convention. In Milton’s “On The Morning of Christ’s Nativity,” all aspects of nature react affectively to the event of Christ’s birth.

The Stars with deep amaze 
Stand fixt in steadfast gaze… 

Ruskin considered the excessive use of the fallacy the mark of an inferior poet. Later poets, however—especially the Imagists of the early 20th century, as well as T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound—used the pathetic fallacy freely and effectively.

The Starry Night, Vincent van Gogh

The device has also been employed in the visual arts, by many painters from van Gogh to Munch, and it has an undeniable effect on mood. 

The Scream, Edvard Munch

Our Challenge is to include pathetic fallacy in our poetry today. It is up to the individual as to how prominent a feature of the poem it will be. To avoid the pitfall of straightforward personification, remember to link the natural phenomenon to the feeling, tone or mood of the character, speaker or setting of your poem.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Personal Challenge: "The Fishmaster"

Hello Toads and pond followers! Fireblossom here, with a little help from my Word Garden moderator and sidekick, Catblossom! We have been challenged. The evil, conniving, pitiless Mama Zen has challenged us to write something based on misheard lyrics!

You know the ones. Who could forget the scene on the bus in "Almost Famous", where the Elton John song is playing and they all join in? "Hold me closer, Tony Danza..." What, you mean that's not what they sang? Tiny Dancer, you say? But...what about how considerate John Fogerty is of his audiences when he sings "There's a bathroom on the right"? Oh, c'mon, you're gonna tell me I'm wrong again? It's "bad moon" on the right? RRRrrrrrrright. I think you're wrong. But anyway, I have written this poem, in order to please Cruella de Zen. It's pretty silly, but I urge you to read the poem first and then watch the video of the song I used. Hopefully, it will raise a smile that way. 

Oh, and....depending on your musical tastes, you may want to to turn your speakers either UP or dowwwwn. :-)


In olden times, there lived a cat
who loved fish skellies so much and caught them so well,
that all the valley did tell of his exploits ever after,
and they called him...The Fishmaster!

BUT, he wasn't averse to catching a rodent or a bird,
and from everything I've heard,
(and I heard distinctly)
he used to say that "the best place for a rodent me!"

And all the while, as the winds did moan,
Hedgewitch was talking to the Rolling Stones.

In the village, in those same olden times,
lived a hamster, and he was nice enough and all,
but he had an unfortunate fascination with Asian teen chinchillas,
and this habit led directly to his fall.

When Stephen Seagull came by with some super-priced items from Walmart,
the distracted hamster came out without looking, 
and in an instant, into the cat's mouth was scooped,
but on the way in, he chipped the poor kitty's tooth.

And all the while, as the winds did moan,
Hedgewitch was talking to the Rolling Stones.

"Fetch a dentist!" cried the cat,
but it sounded more like a yowl than that.
"I've got some L'oreal, and a beret," said the seagull uselessly,
but finding a dentist is beyond me!"

Nonetheless, a dentist was found,
who lived as a doomsday prepper, deep underground.
He was a rifle-toting Warrior against government tyranny,
whose motto was NO FARMING! Okay, good enough for me.

Anyway, this nutjob fixed the kitty's tooth,
and also released the smut-loving hamster, and that's the truth.
And all the while, as the winds did moan,
Hedgewitch took Keith Richards home.

I love a happy ending, don't you? And now for the song, full to the brim with misheard lyrics!


Monday, May 19, 2014

Open Link Monday

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden ...

photo credit: Danny Perez Photography via photopin cc
“If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.” 
― Charles DarwinThe Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809–82

I guess, after an introduction such as these words of Charles Darwin, it goes without saying that this Open Link provides us all with the rare opportunity to 'read some least once a week' and what a pleasure it is for me to spend my Monday afternoons in very good company, even if I have nothing new to share, I take the time to read. My hope is that others who frequent this site feel the same way. Remember that our links do not expire in the Imaginary Garden, so please return tomorrow to reply or respond to comments left on your blog rather later than you were online. You may also link up a poem on Tuesday, if you wish. There are no parameters to this weekly meme, only the request that your post contain some element of poetry.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sunday Form Challenge - Terzanelle

In my quest for a new and interesting form for us to try out this weekend, I came across a hybrid of two well-loved forms.

The Terzanelle is a marriage of the Italian Terza Rima with the French Villanelle conceived by Lewis Turco in his "The Book of Forms”. This is a 19 line poem, consisting of five stanzas of three lines (tercets), and the final stanza having four lines (quatrain), in which the first and last lines of the first stanza are repeated as a refrain. In addition, other lines are repeated throughout, and a rhyme scheme comes into play:
The middle line of the each of the tercet stanzas is copied and becomes the last line of the following stanza and the first line of that stanza rhymes with it, thus making it an interlocking form. The lines are traditionally written in iambic pentameter, but instead of focusing on meter, I would suggest a consistent line length of 10 syllables.

Schema for stanzas 1 - 5

Line 1 - Rhyme A1
Line 2 - Rhyme B
Line 3 - Rhyme A2

Line 4 - Rhyme b
Line 5 - Rhyme C
Line 6 - Line 2 repeated (B)

Line 7 - Rhyme c
Line 8 - Rhyme D
Line 9 - Line 5 repeated (C)

Line 10 - Rhyme d
Line 11 - Rhyme E
Line 12 - Line 8 repeated (D)

Line 13 - Rhyme e
Line 14 - Rhyme F
Line 15 - Line 11 repeated (E)

The final stanza follows the same pattern as previously, with Line 1 becoming Line 17  and Line 3 becoming Line 19, completing the link back to the first stanza.  Finally,  Line 14 is repeated as Line 18.

Schema for stanza 6:

Line 16 - Rhyme f
Line 17 - Line 1 repeated (A1)
Line 18 - Line 14 repeated (F)
Line 19 - Line 3 repeated (A2)

I hope I have not added further complication to a complex form! I would suggest that you skip over to The Poet's Garret, where an example is laid out in a very comprehensive way.

While form challenges may not be to everyone's taste, we dedicate one post a month to those who do like to try their hands at them. Therefore, I ask that only new poems in the Terzanelle form be linked up here. Any unrelated poems will be removed from the Linky, with the reminder that a poem of your choice may be shared on Open Link Monday.

The pictures used for this post may be used on your blogs, so long as credit is given as follows in the order in which they appear:

photo credit: origami joel via photopin cc

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

photo credit: Shenghung Lin via photopin cc

Friday, May 16, 2014

Transforming Friday with Nature's Wonders

Hello, the natural wonder to enthuse our muse today is...
(drum roll...)
the Black Forest in Germany!
The Grimm Brothers set many of their fairy tales
in this bewitching landscape 
along the Rhine River in southwestern Germany.

river kinzig running through the Black Forest valley
(wiki share alike)
Munster at Freiburg im Breisgau
A Girl of the 1900 Black Forest, Baden, Germany
A cuckoo clock, symbol of the Black Forest and Germany.

Here's a rather tourist-y sounding clip...informative though.

The direction you choose to wax poetical is up to you.

Will this magical place be your setting?
Does the girl pictured above inspire a story?
Do the cuckoo clocks stir some creativity?

Also, I invite you all to go deeper, 
bring a unique facet of the Black Forest to the pond.
Perhaps, the Singing Bird Box draws your poetic ear...
or maybe The Necromancer; or, 
The Tale of the Black Forest the gothic novel 
by Ludwig Flammenberg 
will catch your word loving heart!

Please create and share something new today.
Link up, comment and hop along 
to a few of the neighboring lily pads;
please visit and encourage 
@ the community of bloggers here. 

Thank you for joining in the challenge today 
and feel free to hop in the pond late...
I know Friday can be busy so write when you can 
and I will come read you! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Words Count With Mama Zen

Confession:  despite wracking my brain for the past two weeks, I have been unable to come up with a decent poetry prompt.

Whew!  I feel so much better, now!  I guess confession really is good for the soul . . . 

Now, it's your turn.  What do you have to confess today?  Unburden yourself . . . in 65 words or less.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Open Link Monday

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden ...

photo credit: Tjflex2 via photopin cc 

In browsing for a pithy quote about the art of poetry, I came across the following advice from children's poet, Charles Ghigna:

Poem-Making 101.
Poetry shows. Prose tells.
Choose precise, concrete words.
Remove prose from your poems.
Use images that evoke the senses.
Avoid the abstract, the verbose, the overstated.
Trust the poem to take you where it wants to go.
Follow it closely, recording its path with imagery.

I think the idea of trusting the poem, in the second to last line, is a big one for me, although I confess to being abstract, verbose and overstated, at times. (Oops)

Do you have a poem you would like to share with us today? Our Monday forum provides the opportunity to link up a poem of your choice, and to gather in a meeting place of like minds to enjoy the results of "Poem-Making".

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sunday's Feature Artist: Arts & Dolls by Susie McMahon

Hello Toads & Pond Visitors~  I am excited to showcase the art work & dolls by long-time artist, Susie McMahon.   Here's a backgrounder about her:

I am a fifty-something Virgo and a full-time artist, living in Tasmania - one of the world's best-kept secrets! I am a mother, grand-mother, ardent environmentalist and part-time musician as well as being an obsessed doll-maker. I have been married to the man I met when I was sixteen for 38 years.

Wintermoon (Wall Piece)

My Muse - cloth, clay, sticks, string and old fob-watch face and other stuff.

I have been making art all my life - to me art and life are indivisible. I completed Art School in Hobart, Tasmania in 1971 with a teaching diploma and majors in sculpting and painting.
My abiding passions are sculpting and making dolls and I have travelled extensively as a teacher in both of these disciplines.
Many of the objects I make are simply dolls - handmade and one-of-a-kind, they represent  the culmination of many years of experimentation with technique. They are reminiscent of dolls from the past, albeit with a contemporary twist. Other objects I make are purely sculptural, but there are some things I make which defy categorization, since they occupy the space somewhere in between "doll" and "sculpture". 

Revenge of Gaia

Who or what influences you? Inspires you?
I am influenced by the natural world as well as a plethora of artists in all genres too numerous to name. I have what I would describe as a rich inner life - the manifestations of which find their way onto my sketchbook pages. Finding ideas for dolls has never been a problem for me - finding the time to create all the ideas in my sketchbook can be a problem, however!

If I had to name a single doll-maker whom I admire - for sheer virtuosity and mastery of her medium, it would have to be Lisa Lichtenfels, but again there are many others who also should rate a mention.
Tell us a little about your dolls and your process for making them. Materials, preliminary sketches, inspiration, etc.
My dolls always start with a concept - the idea - which almost always means a sketch or series of sketches as well. Often I have to work out some really practical solutions to construction problems - this is usually done in bed at night when I should be asleep - I know many other doll-makers who are afflicted with the same problem! Once the idea is firmly established, I usually sculpt the head and allow it to dry. My preferred medium is air-dry clay covered with fabric and painted, but I am always trying new things. The head determines the size of the body or any constructed elements, so I draft any patterns from the particular head for the piece I am working on. Then it is simply a matter of putting everything together and gessoing and painting. The parts I like the most in my doll making are the initial sculpting and the final painting. I use whatever I need in terms of materials - the initial concept determines what I use, so the idea really dictates the medium.
Redivivus Dolls
are made from recyled and discard materials.
Redivivus is a Latin word meaning "living again"; "brought back to life"; "revived"; "restored".

Pages of Me



Millie, the apple girl

I also enjoy the challenge of teaching my craft to others and I am available to travel to do so. I am able to teach beginners to advanced students either complete projects or technique classes in painting and sculpting.     I hope you enjoy looking at my work.

Sorrowful Songs:   Duet

More Links:  Blog               Pinterest           Flicker

My Etsy store is located at     I usually have patterns, kits, instruction books and finished dolls available here.  I also have a Picturetrail site at  This site has galleries of completed works that have been sold     as well as tutorial albums showing how my dolls are made. 

Thank you Susie !!    

Our challenge is to write a new poem or prose poem inspired by the arts & dolls by Susie McMahon.   If you upload her images to your blog, kindly credit the artist for her work by showing the link to her blog site.   You are free to check out her other art and doll pieces & write about it too.

I will be sending Susie the direct link to this post.   She is very excited to be featured as a muse to our community.   I will be checking back during the week for any late entries.

Wishing you all Happy Weekend and Happy Mother's Day ~   

Grace (aka Heaven)