Saturday, January 31, 2015


The first Sunday of a new month is upon us again, and it is time for Flash 55. The rules of this prompt have not changed: Write a piece of poetry or prose on a subject of your choice in precisely 55 WORDS.



I promised to add an optional extra every month, for those who prefer some direction for their writing to take. This time I have decided to share a form I devised (based on the Robert Herrick Stanza which we explored as a mini-challenge in 2012) which has exactly the correct number of words needed to complete this challenge.

Word count: 8 – 6 – 8 – 6 – 2 – 6 – 2 – 5 – 7 – 5

If you feel inspired to work with rhyme, the scheme is as follows:

a – b – c – b – d – d – c – e – a – e


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Transforming Thursday/Friday with Nature's Wonders

Hello to everyone in the Imaginary Garden today!

It's Hannah here with beautiful places on this planet for our poetic inspiration - the Lavender Fields of UK and France.

Abbey in France with lavender field-"Sénanque 06" by EmDee - Own work. Licensed under CC 

Bored Panda

Sometimes I like to write with music and a visual backdrop behind a minimized word document.

Lavender has many uses - among them, it's medicinal and used for anti-anxiety purposes.

Single lavendar flower cc "Fir0002/Flagstaffotos".

In history...

The ancient Greeks called the lavender herb nardus, after the Syrian city of Naarda (possibly the modern town of Dohuk, Iraq). It was also commonly called nard.

Lavender was one of the holy herbs used in the biblical Temple to prepare the holy essence, and nard ('nerd' in Hebrew) is mentioned in the Song of Solomon.

So...poetic friends...explore the places and/or the plant and bring back that which enthuses your muse!

A Note:

"The challenges and prompts we offer have parameters in regards to form, theme, subject and/or method. We ask that participants respect the time taken by our individual contributors to research, set up their post and visit the links of all who join in by entering into the spirit of the challenge and following the guidelines laid down. Our purpose is to stretch our abilities as writers, and to experiment with new ways of writing. We also request that a participant provide a link back to the post on Real Toads from their own site. The option of The Tuesday Platform does exist for poets to share a poem of their choice, and a link back is not a prerequisite. 

The moderators reserve the right to remove any inappropriate or unrelated link that is made on Real Toads, at their own discretion."

As a reminder, this challenge will be on the homepage for Thursday and Friday so you have an extra day for creative process...have fun and I look forward to reading your poems! 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, London

“The stage is a magic circle where only the most real things happen, a neutral territory outside the jurisdiction of Fate where stars may be crossed with impunity. A truer and more real place does not exist in all the universe.” ― P.S. Baber, Cassie Draws the Universe

Welcome, friends and poets, to The Tuesday Platform. We have carved out a place for ourselves in the realms of cyberspace, and this has become the platform on which to present our creative work. Our audience may be invisible to the eye but we feel their presence just beyond the footlights; we trust them to afford us the opportunity to shine for a brief moment on the stage. All-comers are invited to share a poem of their choosing, and then to become a member of the audience themselves, giving their fellow performers the benefit of their attention and feedback.

The Tuesday Platform rolls over to Wednesday, so late entries are also welcomed.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Play it Again, Toads! #13

"The Lovers' Boat" Albert Pinkham Ryder 1881

Welcome to the 13th "Play it Again, Toads!" where we revisit the archived challenges of this Imaginary Garden.  Choose your own from the archives on the sidebar (2011-2015) or select from three I have highlighted below.

You may use images I offer here - if so, please use the photo with an archived challenge.  These images are from the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C.   I took them with my iPhone - but I hope you might get some inspiration from them.  If you want to see these images more clearly, click HERE for, search by painting name, and click on the image to enlarge on your screen.  

I googled "The Lovers' Boat and I did not find one as red as mine, so maybe I accidentally used a flash.  I don't ever have it on, so I am not sure if the color is off on mine or the few I saw on the internet.  It really is not an easy image to find - but I will leave it as is as I think it is a bit intriguing this way.  

1)  Imagined by Kerry - Wednesday Challenge - Write a flowery poem in a non-cliched way

2)  Imagined by Hedgewitch - Sunday Mini-challenge - Chained Rhyme, Part Two

3)  Imagined by Mama Zen - Twitter Poetry

"Pegasus Departing" Albert Pinkham Ryder 1901
"Flying Dutchman" Albert Pinkham Ryder 1887

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Words Count With Mama Zen

What are you hungry for?  Tell me in 60 words or less . . . but take an extra ten if you can make me blush.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to The Tuesday Platform!

On Tuesdays, the Imaginary Garden is open to all. We Toads offer a place for you to showcase your work: an open link, a stage, a platform, an open mic. You are invited to link up with us. Share a new poem or an older piece, it’s up to you.  

Remember that links in the Garden do not expire, so feel free to link up on Wednesday or later in the week; please do take some time during the week to read the work of other participants. Speaking for myself, I value the opportunity to snuggle up with poems from all of you during the ice of January at least as much as sharing my own and receiving feedback. 

So, bring us your words! We look forward to reading your poems.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sunday Mini-Challenge ~ In Other Words

I have chosen two fantasy novels for our word substitution challenge this month. The first is the brain-child of Neil Gaiman and the second features a fantastically realized world created by Walter Moers.

Cover Art (CC)
Click HERE for Review

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a 2013 novel by British author Neil Gaiman. It follows an unnamed man who returns to his hometown for a funeral and remembers events that began forty years earlier. Themes in The Ocean at the End of the Lane include the search for self-identity and the "disconnect between childhood and adulthood". Among other honours, it was voted Book of the Year in the British National Book Awards. (Source)

Cover Art (CC)
Click HERE for Review

The City of Dreaming Books (original title: Die Stadt der Träumenden Bücher) is one of four in the Zamonia series written and illustrated by German author Walter Moers, translated into English by John Brownjohn. Protagonist Optimus Yarnspinner (Hildegunst von Mythenmetz in the German) is a Lindworm (dinosaur) who inherits his authorial godfather's possessions, including a perfect story written by an unknown author, in search of whom he travels to Bookholm, a city devoted to literature above labyrinthine catacombs containing many valuable books, among various monsters and perils. (Source)


I chose these titles because they demand our reassessment of how we read words and phrases. The authors have chosen word pairings which are not commonly used together: an ocean and a lane; a city made of books (which are sleeping). Our challenge is to substitute our own nouns and adjectives for those used in these titles. Rather than making them more comfortable, I encourage you to use imaginative pairings of your own.

1. The Ocean at the ______ of the ______

2. The _____ at the End of the _______

3. The City of _______  ______

4. The _____ of Dreaming ______

These are some suggestions of how the titles might be manipulated, but feel free to use your own combination of words. The idea is for your title to bear some resemblance to the original but with an original twist.

As with every weekend challenge, posted at noon on Saturday, this prompt is open through Sunday and will still be first on the home page on Monday. This allows plenty of time for the creative process. Please return to the site after posting to read and review other works.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fireblossom Friday: Winter

Hello Toads and pond followers. Fireblossom here with another Fireblossom Friday. Take a look, if you would, at the picture accompanying this post. What does it say to you? What might have taken place here? Whose eyes are we looking through? 

Come on, people, feel the brrr. You can write using winter as a metaphor for emotion or circumstance. You can use winter as a backdrop, or you could write about something significant that happened to you in winter time, or something that never happened but that you can imagine. 

What you can't do is write a straightforward nature poem. I'm looking for human emotion.

Please write a NEW poem, written especially for this challenge. No haiku, because haiku makes me throw up. Then, link up and let us enjoy what you've created! 


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

TheTuesday Platform

West End Theatre, South Africa

Greetings to all readers and writers of poetry. Welcome to The Tuesday Platform in the Imaginary Garden. We see our Open Link as more than a forum for linking up poetry - it is an empty stage awaiting your presentation, performance or recitation; here too, is an audience, ready to respond, applaud and give feedback. We ask that all-comers enter into the spirit of this opportunity by participating as both presenter and member of the audience. Please do not simply link up without visiting and reviewing the work of your fellow poets. Remember that our links have no time limit and you are welcome to share and review poetry on Wednesdays, indeed throughout the week.

The Imaginary Garden is first and foremost a site for poetry. Flash or prose poetry is welcome but this is not the forum for longer pieces of prose, memoir, personal philosophy, motivational tracts etc (unless they contain original poetry within the text).

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Sunday's Mini-challenge: David Huerta

Hi Toads & visitors to the garden! My feature poet this weekend is David Huerta, considered by critics to be one of Mexico’s major living poets. This judgment was confirmed in February of 2006 when Huerta was awarded the Xavier Villarrutia Prize, Mexico’s most prestigious literary award, by a unanimous vote of the jury for his four decades of poetic production.

David was born in Mexico City in 1949 & is the son of the well-known poet, Efrain Huerta. He is one the leading poets of the generation that first came to prominence during the 1970s in Mexico. He published his first book of poems, El Jardín de la Luz [The Garden of Light] (1972), while still a student in the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts at Mexico's Autonomous National University (UNAM). It has been followed by numerous collections, among them: Cuaderno de Noviembre [November Notebook] (1976), Huellas del civilizado [Traces of the Civilized] (1977), Versión [Version] (1978), El espejo del cuerpo [The Mirror of the Body] (1980) and Incurable [Incurable] (1987), a long poem in nine parts that encourages the reader to participate in constructing the meaning of the poem.

Aside from his poetry, David Huerta has translated works from Italian and English, and is an editor of the Mexican publishing house Fondo de Cultura Económica. He writes a column for the Mexican weekly Proceso, and teaches literature at the Universidad Autónoma de México. Huerta has been a central figure in two of the most influential poetic movements in late 20th-century Latin America - the neobaroque movement and that of postmodern language poetry. His imagery, intertextuality, and dense lyricism remain unparalleled in Mexican letters. (Source)

About his own work, Huerta says: I am a writer of traditional poetry. I write poetry of images, metaphors, metonymy, all sorts of tropes and figures of language. But I do not worship imagery. Instead, I believe it helps us to say some things that can help us live outside the logic of markets, if that is still possible.

Open and Shut

You open the blade of a flick knife
so it drips transparency.

You shut the restless cube of night
and a stream of shadow ramifies.

You open and shut the liquid diaphragm
of my heart - and at dawn I arrive

in the stately, tenfold
starlight of your hands.


Lord, save this moment.
There's nothing outlandish or
miraculous about it, unless it holds
a hint of immortality, a breath
of salvation. It looks like
any number of other moments...
But it's here now among us:
it casts its yellow light and swells
like the sun or like flaming lemons
 - and tastes of the sea, of loved hands
and smells like a street in Paris
where we were happy. Save it
in your memory or deliver it
into the light that sets
on this page,
barely touching it. 

You can read more poems translated by Jamie McKendrick HERE.

(translated by Mark Schafer)

The fruit descends
like a chapter of lightening:

Purified light,
fertile in its volume
of vein
and juice,
of peel and gleaming.

The fruit fills
the shadow burn
of your hand.

Shadow of transfixed
and curved delight.

Here, then, is the fruit,
its grams
stripped bare,
in the Sun of a hand.

There are more poems from Before Saying Any of the Great Words that have been translated by Mark Schafer. In the interest of copyright, please read the rest in this LINK.

Our challenge is to write a new poem or prose poem in response to David Huerta's words. Some examples of responses include affirming what the speaker said or using his title or line of verse as a jumping board for your own writing. The prompt is wide open so feel free to explore where your muse takes you. After you link up, please visit the work of your fellow writers. Happy weekend to all ~ Grace (aka Heaven)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Road Trip!!!

Well we officially made it to 2015 Toads! Give yourself a nice round of applause and then strap it back on and lets get this year moving in the right direction.

Herotomost here and I think that 2015 is going to be a fantastic year for me personally and here in the garden. It's my first challenge of the new year and with it I want to wax nostalgic about a hot little number I new when I was 16.  Her lines were hectic. Her rear end a little greasy. I have to tell you the truth, she really got me going, she was a fox.  A 1974 Audi Fox that is.  Oxidized orange with one brown fender, no grill and she whistled when I drove down the road.  If anyone has ever had a old german know how she smelled.  Her name was Julie, of course it was, that was the name of one of the many girls who I adored but wouldn't give me the time of day. The car I drive has changed, but the way women treat me has remained the same.

This is About a million times nicer than the one I had.

My challenge today is for you to summon up memories of that first mode of transport, the one that gave you the freedom to get from A to B without that nosy family butting in.  Maybe it was a car, maybe a horse or maybe a motorcycle.  I want you to write a little ditty in any format you would like describing not only the details of this majestic beast, but how it made you feel.  As usual there are no rules except it has to be an original.  If this one isn't your cup of tea, feel free to skip or write a bit of whatever you want and post it.  We'll still read it.

Here's to all of you on this shiny new year....behave each and everyone of you, or not, you're all adults.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

All the world’s a stage

The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, Toronto (great video HERE)

Toads and friends, welcome to The Tuesday Platform here in the Imaginary Garden. We offer a place for you to showcase your work. Consider our Tuesday Platform as not just an open link, but an open mic, ready and waiting for you. So bring your words, we want to read them!

On Tuesdays, the Garden's stage is open to all. You are invited to link up something brand-new or an older piece, poetry or what-have-you, to solicit feedback or simply to share. The choice is yours, and Tuesdays are unprompted--think, impromptu! We ask in return that participants take some time during the week to read the work of other poets. We all appreciate knowing friends have visited by receiving comments on our work.

Without further ado, the stage is yours! Whatcha got for us?

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Galen Haynes
Mr Knowitall

It was with great sadness that we learnt of the passing of Galen Haynes, a.k.a. G-Man, on 9 December 2014. The Flash Fiction 55 is his meme and became an established weekly poetry event in the blogosphere calendar. He maintained its popularity over the years, despite the abundance of poetry prompts available at any given time. This, I believe, was directly due to his welcoming and warm-hearted nature, which continued to inspire his guests to participate. When he decided to retire from active blogging, he chose to give the meme to The Imaginary Garden, and we will continue to offer it on the first weekend of each month in his memory.

Since it is a new year, I will be adding a new element to the prompt. Each month there will be something extra, an option to consider in your creative process. The one thing that will remain the same is the word count: 55 words no more, no less. Whether you choose to include the added extra is entirely up to you – this challenge remains essentially open in terms of subject and form. The "fiction" element is also optional. You will note that our Flash 55 logo now appears as a button on the right sidebar. Please feel free to copy the html script and include it with your post. It provides a link back to The Imaginary Garden Home Page.

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Free Wallpaper

"Man, You Gotta Go"

During the 50s in America,  a sub-culture emerged, depicting bikers as heroes who had cast off the shackles of a society they could not come to terms with. In fact the motorcycle and rider became symbolic of a rebellion against a system that the young rejected. This was manifest in the popular slogan, quoted above, which expressed an inexplicable urge to be in motion for motion’s sake, rather than for some articulate reason – such as a destination. Thom Gunn used it as the subtitle of his poem, On The Move. (Source)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Bits Of Inspiration ~ Happy New Year

Happy New Year my fellow toads and visitors! 
I hope for all of us this will be a wonderful year!

Today's challenge is a simple one. Below are quotes addressing a new year. Choose as few as one or bits of all of them as jumping boards for inspiration. Write about the new year in resolutions, non resolutions, hopes, dreams, plans, or merely the acknowledgement the calender has turned over into a new year. This is your poetic step into 2015!

"I think in terms of the day's resolutions, not the years".   Henry Moore

"Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, 'It will be happier."  Alfred Lord Tennyson

“For last year's words belong to last year's language And next year's words await another voice.”   T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

“We desire an exciting future, but the demand for familiar and comfortable tempers our steps to the point that often our steps are little more than stepping in place.”   Craig D. Lounsbrough

“What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.”    Vern McLellan

As always and especially since this is a brand new year, write a brand new poem for the challenge; add it to Mr. Linky; and celebrate by reading your fellow poets' work.