Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bang, whimper, hiss

Miesville Mudhen Rainout--Copyright Isadora Gruye Photography.

Welp.  Here we are.  Another set of days has run amuck, and we find ourselves at the end of yet another National Poetry Month.  The brave among us have completed monumental feats of poetry....others have done a really super job of cheering the braver ones toward the finish line.  No matter which camp you belong to, this is your last chance to put pen to paper and take part in our prompt a day parade.  

Toads, I proudly set before you one last challenge


A few minutes from now, you will lose all means of communication with humanity.  You will not die, but will no longer be able to interact with the world.  Whats the last thing you say?

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. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Frog-Cups in New York City

Yesterday, I walked home after seeing my doctor. The weather was glorious, and I had just received the best news in my world—after nearly seven months of torture, I could go back to my regular diet! I needed to let some of the happiness dissipate into the streets of New York City before getting home, or my apartment would explode with bliss. Bliss bombs are lethal, I’m sure.

Spring is bright in New York. If you know what streets to walk, you’ll always find flowers and birds song painting the season in someone’s yard. I saw robins and crocuses, mourning doves and narcissuses, gangs of blue jays battling over birdfeeders… and when I was almost home, I noticed a tiny plot of frog-cups or Fritillaria meleagris. I love these flowers. And in all the decades I’ve lived in New York, I had never seen one. I accepted the Universe’s gift (the landscaper’s?) and went home grinning and giggling like a proper lunatic.

So… my beloved Toads, what does this mean for our 29th day of Poems in April? It’s perfectly clear: we will write a new poem that will include a flower named after an animal or a bird named after a flower. It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

Choose your format, but please keep the poem short. I want to read each entry (I’m selfish that way), but accomplishing that gets difficult when the pieces are lengthy.

Frog-Cups (shot rather poorly with my phone)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to the Tuesday Platform, end of April edition! You are almost there, friends. It’s the home stretch. Here’s your chance to link up a poem not written for a prompt (do we have any of those this month?!) or to share any poem you like, old or new. We want to read it!

I will confess to having run dreadfully behind in writing this month (just caught up yesterday, but that feeling is fleeting in April), and most especially I have lately been mostly unable to keep up on reading and commentary. Still, your writing and your energy is motivating to me, and I hope everyone feels that way! Let’s all visit each other with gusto this week.

Write like the wind! Read like the… wind! Ah, I got nothing new. YET. Enjoy, friends!

Monday, April 27, 2015

It is not just about food

Baking the Bread by Anders Zorn

Hi there, I think we are starting to see the end of the tunnel in this month of poetry. Personally I will not make it, I started running too late. But I have a challenge for you that should be fun.

I want you to consider recipes, the ingredients and procedures we use when preparing that perfect dish. Actually I find a recipe quite poetic sometimes. There is such a promise in the list of ingredients and the procedures that give a desired result. A well written recipe is actually easy to remember by heart.

Consider for instance:

Rev. Smith's recipe for salads

(Sydney Smith 1771-1845)

To make this condiment your poet begs
The pounded yellow of two hard-boil'd eggs;
Two boiled potatoes, passed through kitchen seive,
Smoothness and softness to the salad give.
Let onion atoms lurk within the bowl,
And, half-suspected, animate the whole.
Of mordant mustard add but a single spoon,
Distrust the condiment that bites too soon;
But deem it not, thou man of herbs, a fault
To add a double quantity of salt;
Four times the spoon with oil of Lucca crown,
And twice with vinegar procur'd from town;
Lastly o'er the flavour'd compound toss
A magic soupçon of anchovy sauce.
Oh, green and glorious! Oh, herbaceous treat!
Twould tempt the dying anchorite to eat;
Back to the world he'd turn his fleeting soul,
And plunge his fingers in the salad-bowl!
Serenely full, the epicure would say,
Fate cannot harm me, I have dined today.

So today I want you to write a poem in the form of a recipe. It can either be something we can actually using for our favorite dinners, but why not a recipe for something more abstract such as love, spring or death.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Play it Again, Toads! #16

"Neapolitan Song" 1929 Oil on Canvas
Joseph Stella
Welcome to the 16th "Play it Again, Toads!" where we revisit archived challenges of this amazing Imaginary Garden.   Choose your own challenge that interests you from the archives on the sidebar (2011-2015) or select from three I've highlighted below.

You may use my photos I am sharing with you here (but certainly not required) - if so, please use the photo with an archived challenge.  Click on any image to enlarge and to see the details more clearly.   I took these photos while visiting the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C.

You may rework old poems or submit original poems and link your specific post to Mr. Linky below.  Please make it clear which challenge you are resurrecting by including a link.  If you share poetry here, please take time to visit and comment on the other poetic endeavors.

1.  Imagined by Ella - Fortune Cookies

2.  Imagined by Kerry - Envelopes

3.  Imagined by Marian - A-Z

"Hibiscus with Plumeria" 1939 Oil on Canvas
Georgia O'Keeffe
"Magnolia" 1895 Oil on Canvas
Charles Walter Stetson
"Spring" 1890 Oil on Canvas
Thomas Wilmer Dewing

Two details of the above image:

"Spring -detail"  1890 Thomas Wilmer Dewing
"Spring - detail"  1890 Thomas Wilmer Dewing
"In the Garden" 1892 Oil on Canvas
Childe Hassam
"June" 1911 Oil on Canvas
John White Alexander

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Turning Pink

Hi everyone ~   In my part of the world, we are awaiting the pink cherry blooms in the park, and the winter chill to finally leave us.   I definitely have the pink color in my mind. Here's a list poem on pink I came across which I hope will spark some pink ideas for your pen.

Pink Dawn, Aurora Pink, Misty Pink, Fresh Pink, Natural Pink, Country
Pink, Dusty Pink, Pussywillow Pink, Pink Heather, Pink Peony, Sunflower
Pink, Plum Pink, Peach of a Pink, Raspberry Pink, Watermelon Pink, Pink
Lemonade, Bikini Pink, Buoy Buoy Pink, Sea Shell Pink, Pebble Pink, Pink
Piper, Acapulco Pink, Tahiti Beach Pink, Sunny Pink, Hot Pink, Sizzling Pink,
Skinnydip Pink, Flesh Pink, Transparent Pink, Breezy Pink, Sheer Shiver
Pink, Polar Bare Pink, Pink Frost, Frosty Pink, Frost Me Pink, Frosted Pink,
Sugarpuff Pink, Ice Cream Pink, Lickety Pink, Pink Melba, Pink Whip,
Pinkermint, Sweet Young Pink, Little Girl Pink, Fragile Pink, Fainting Pink,
Helpless Pink, Tiny Timid Pink, Wink of Pink, Shadow of Pink, Tint of Pink,
Shimmer of Pink, Flicker of Pink, Pink Flash, E.S. Pink, Person-to-Person
Pink, City Pink, Penny Lane Pink, Pink Paisley, London Luv Pink, Pretty Pink,
Pastel Pink, Pinking Sheer, Pink Piqué, Pink Silk, Plush Pink, Lush Iced Pink,
Brandied Pink, Sheer Pink Champagne, Candlelight Pink, Fluffy Moth Pink,
Softsilver Pink, Pinkyring, Turn Pale Pink, A Little Pink, Pinker, Pinkety Pink,
Heart of Pink, Hug that Pink, Passionate Pink, Snuggle Pink, Pink-Glo!,
Happy-Go-Pink, Daredevil Pink, By Jupiter Pink, Stark Raving Pink, Viva La

Our prompt today is to write a new poem or prose poem using the word pink in the title or verses.   Write in free verse or form, the choice is yours.  Here's wishing you all a good Saturday & happy weekend ~  Grace (aka Heaven)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Go Grimm

I grew up with Grimm Fairy tales. Don't worry we aren't penning a new fairy tale, but it got me thinking about how many of these enchanted stories lead us to a witch's spell,  three wishes or some kind of magical mystery.  We are familiar with Little Red Riding Hood, The Fisherman and His Wife and The Emperor's New Suit.  I want our poems to have a wishful quality, if you want to add a demented creature, or wicked witch, or other darkness-this depends on you.   I want you to include one of the four wishes-I have listed below.

 When I think of my children, I hope I instilled  these qualities, as I still wish for them to have more courage and joy.  The other two are covered, so far.

                          Four Wishes:  Integrity, Compassion, Courage and Joy.

 Now, go frolic in your word forest, beware of trolls, magic moss and poisonous mushrooms.  Please  follow the popcorn trail-I have left for you.  If one of the recent Disney films inspires you or the enchanted television shows-by all means go there~    

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Last Legs

Hey Toads!  We are on the last leg of National Poetry Month.  (The 23rd day!)  

You (if like me) may also be on your last legs.

And, hey, those are great legs you’ve got there too. 

So go with them!  How about a poem about legs?  Yours or anyone else’s. Including any other creature. 

I had a much clearer picture of a spider but thought it might upset you.

From New York City today.

Or the legs of any other being. Below is the Buddha.

 If you want to run not walk away from that idea as far and fast as you can, how about simply “last”?  Now that is a word that can go far.

So the prompt:  last legs or leg or legs or last or lasts. (You can even just write about what lasts--legs or not!)   Your choice!  

(Note that I really mean for this to be broad, and myself to be compassionate, so if you want to link an older poem that fits that's okay too.  Just do try to visit others; compassion is definitely needed right now.) 

Thanks!  (All pics are mine--feel free to use with proper attribution to me, Karin Gustafson, Manicddaily, a/k/a Outlawyer.) 

Something lasting, albeit a little crooked here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The perfect love poem

Dear Toads, how have you all been?

You haven't seen much of me around, I know, April happened to be a freaking busy month in my professional life, I'm getting ready for a CELTA course and have never been so poetically dull. But I read about this idea in February, when I was foolishly in love with this guy who turned out to be someone else's soul mate instead of mine - the perfect love poem.

British poet Julia Bird analyzed England's 10 most popular love poems to develop a formula for the perfect romantic verse, and here's what she came up with:

x (p + b + c + o)

P = Pattern. All 10 of the English favorite love poems are boldly metrical and have strong rhyming patterns.

B = Brevity.

C = Comparison. The desire to compare and describe the love is a common thread through love poetry. What’s your love like? Why, s/he’s like something else.

O = Obstacle. The analyzed love poems examine the difficulties inherent in a love affair.

X = Mystery

Julia still recommends that to write the perfect verse, we need to read lots of poetry, and just then write. But she advises: “Leave behind the language of the past. Some poetic phrases are woven so deeply into our culture (‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day’/‘What light through yonder window breaks’) that we reach instinctively for the archaic poem-sounding words to add gravitas to our writing. Let go of ‘thee’ and ‘yonder’, and instead find the poetry in the fads and fashions of today’s dictionaries."

So my dear friends, today's challenge is pretty obvious by now, isn't it? I'm asking you to write the perfect love poem. You can choose to use Julia Bird's formula or not, maybe you can't write form poetry (I can't), maybe whatever it is you choose to say, you need it to be long, maybe you know the secret for the completely happy relationship and would like to share it, no mystery involved. If that's the case, I'll be thankful!

The poetry you link today must be written specifically for this post. Thank you!

Please, add your link to Mr. Linky, leave a comment and visit other poets.

(Image credits: all the photos on this post are mine and are free to borrow. They were taken during the last performance of Romeo and Juliet by the Brazilian Drama Company Galpão in 2012 in a local park. The performance marked the end of a 20-year staging)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to all poets and friends to this 21st day of NaPoWriMo as presented in The Imaginary Garden!

For three weeks we have kept up the momentum of providing a prompt and link every day, so that the efforts of those who have taken up the annual challenge of writing 30 poems in 30 days may have our support.

As before, The Tuesday Platform is prompt free, and the choice is yours to write a new poem for today or to link up a poem written earlier this month (or at any time in the past). Most of all, we hope that this meeting place of poets will continue to provide inspiration and purpose to each person who drops in as time and tide allows.

Monday, April 20, 2015

What's your name?

Hello toads, I guess that by now you are pretty tired of challenges. One per day can be quite strenuous, and personally I have not joined. Therefore I would like something simple for you today the 20th on this journey, yet something that can be as complex as you want it.

When you name a baby there are so much hope that is tied to the name. There are consideration of what works in society, there is fashion, there are role models, but at the core of it every name I know of also have a meaning. For instance my own name Björn, means bear. This is an old Nordic tradition of giving me a name tied to some positive attributes like physical strength. I think the name might have been a failure as I am not very muscular, but I guess the thought is what counts.

For you today dear toads and tadpoles: Take your name and use it’s meaning to create a poem. If you do not know the meaning of your name, you might find this useful. If you have a nom de plume, or prefer for various reasons to hide your name in a riddle. The prompt is wide-open and you can use any form or metaphor to write your poem today.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Going Halvsies! (19th Day of April)

Going Halvsies!

Toads!  Congrats from me, Manicddaily, a/k/a Karin Gustafson, a/k/a Outlawyer!  Those of you who are writing thirty poems this month are more than halfway through!  (And those of you who are not writing thirty poems are also halfway through listening to the rest of us kvetch about it all!) 

So, although I’m a little late (as per usual), my prompt for today is the idea of half.  

There are many ways to think of half:  half is better than none.  Split the baby down the middle. (Yikes!)  Your better half, your other half, your lighter half, a half of a conversation, a pie, or cantaloupe. 

An elephant I know and her better half. 
Can I call that the top half, I lower half, of my favorite dog? 

And now, to make it a little more interesting:  did you know that this is the day 88 years ago (1927) upon which Mae West was sentenced to ten days in prison for her starring role in the Broadway play Sex, which she also wrote and directed,

Garrison Keiler tells the whole story quite wonderfully on Writer’s Almanac, but the long and short of it is that Mae West (who said she had simply written about a girl who “lost her reputation and never missed it”) actually spent eight days in jail (she was released two days early for good behavior) where she had to give up her silk stockings but was allowed to keep her silk underwear, and where she so charmed the jail warden and his wife, that they invited her to eat dinner with them every night of the sentence. 

This story may mean different things to different people, but for purposes of this prompt it makes me think of (i) finding a silver lining in a dark cloud and (ii) making lemonade our of lemons.  Which, now I come to think of it, is the other half of the cloud, and even arguably, the other half of lemons (the juicy bits.  You also have to halve them to squeeze them, right?)

So, in thinking about this prompt, feel free to think about direct ideas of half, but if these don't work for you, also consider silver linings, lemonade, and if you wish, Mae West, a lady who does not seem to have done very much by halves--(i”Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.”)  

And although I don't particularly want to focus the prompt to Mae--here's a fun set of some of her great moments--at least to offer a laugh even if you opt to write on some other idea of half. 

Most importantly, have a wholly good time, and please do not feel hemmed in. 

 (Note all the pics and photo above--other than the youtube video--were made by me.  Feel free to use any but please give me attribution; thanks. )  

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Legacies of Nimoy & Pratchett

The first quarter of 2015 has seen the passing of two enormously influential men - both have contributed to the world's trove of stories in their unique ways, and have left behind a legacy of wisdom.

File Photo
(Fair Use)

Leonard Nimoy, who immortalized the character Mr Spock in the Star Trek series, died on 27 February at the age of 83.

File Photo
(Fair Use)

Sir Terry Pratchett, best selling author of the Disc World series (among more than 70 books published), died on 28 April aged 66.

For this prompt, I ask you to read a selection of the quoted words of either man, until you find the one that inspires you to write an original poem. Please include the quote with your post.

Click on the links below to visit the Goodreads quote pages:

Leonard Nimoy

Sir Terry Pratchett

Friday, April 17, 2015

Transforming Fridays with Nature's Wonders

Hello! Welcome to day seventeen of poem-a-day for the month of April – congratulations to everyone participating in this writing – reading – poetry-loving event!

And because it’s National Poetry Month I’d like to take the time to feature a form that is particular to the expression of nature – we’ll celebrate and recognize haiku today because today is NATIONAL HAIKU POETRY DAY –April 17!!

We’ll speak in the tongue of nature…any facet of the wild-natural-world that we choose. Express your poetry today in the traditional style of haiku or step into a modern manifestation of haiku in English.

The most well-known Japanese haiku:

old pond . . .
a frog leaps in
water's sound

Bashō's "old pond":

And one from the haiku movement in North America:

Snow in my shoe
Sparrow's nest
Jack Kerouac (collected in Book of Haikus, Penguin Books, 2003)

Feel free to be expansive in your choice of POV explore a different voice, (is there a plant or animal that would like to be the breath of your poem today). Sight-see and bring us the place of your choosing, (include an images if you wish).

If you'd like – write a series of haiku and chain them together or craft a singular vision. Have fun and sink into the skin of this amazing ancient and modern form.

 I’m attempting to keep this post brief but please, stopover to the links I’ve provided for further explanations on the holiday and the haiku form itself.

The poetry you link today must be haiku, and must be new – written specifically for this post. Thank you!

Please, add your link to Mr. Linky, leave a comment and visit your syllable-counting nature-loving friends!

Happy writing! 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

What's Your Vision?

Hello, Toads! This is lolamouse. You're half-way through your April challenges! Hooray!

For today's prompt, I ask you to consider visionary art. Visionary art, as defined for the purposes of the American Visionary Art Museum is "art produced by self-taught individuals, usually without formal training, whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself." Visionary artists are moved by "an inner voice" that compels them to create. The artist himself or herself may not even consider their work as art.

The American Visionary Art Museum, or AVAM, is located in Baltimore, Maryland and is one of my very favorite places to visit. They have a permanent collection of works by "visionaries" as well as special exhibitions. The art in this museum can evoke so many different thoughts and emotions in visitors. It can range from whimsical, comical, and clever to thought-provoking to downright disturbing.  If you ever get the chance to visit Baltimore, do check out this museum. If you can't visit in person, here is the link to their wesite: AVAM

I've posted some photos (not mine) of various works at AVAM. Let them speak to you and then choose one or more to compose a new poem. Your poem may be about the art itself or about feelings/thoughts/memories/stories the art inspires. It's wide open. Let your inner voice express itself!

Super Powers by Howard Finster

Birds Nest by David Hess

MADGrowth by Beatrice Coron

The Gallery a Go Go by Nancy Josephson

Always by Jim Doran

Horse Dress by Anonymous

Cosmic Galaxy Egg by Andrew Logan

Untitled "Doodle" by Ted Gordan

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

History Is Twistery: The Folly

Doric Temple, Battletson Hill, by Colin Smith via wikimedai commons

Welcome toads and April-laboring poets--hedgewitch here. So, what exactly is this Folly of which I speak--not to be confused with just plain folly, which most of us know all too well?

Wikipedia defines it as  "...a building constructed primarily for decoration, but either suggesting through its appearance some other purpose, or merely appearing to be so extravagant that it transcends the normal range of garden ornaments or the class of building to which it belongs."

Today we're going to explore the concept of building something decorative, eccentric, extravagant, and maybe even transcending the normal range of (Imaginary) Garden ornaments, if we're lucky.

To get us started, we're going to look at a man and his Folly.

If you'd like to skip to the meat of the challenge without all my verbose backstory, scroll down to the boldface type below.

Awhile back, my ever-wandering internet eye was caught by an article in the UK's Daily Mail about Witley Park,  the  bizarre Victorian fantasy-mansion of a 19th century conman named J. Whittaker Wright, and I have chosen it for our subject today.

In this age where we seem to be surrounded by corruption, by avarice and greed triumphing over worth and honesty, sometimes it's good to see that what goes around does indeed come around, as it plainly did in the case in point.

J. Whitaker Wright (1846-1904) made and lost several vast fortunes by swindling the credulous of their cash, then took his own life when his malfeasance eventually caught up with him. But before it did so, he built Witley Park.

Witley Park, via The Daily Mail: "Packed with treasures: The 32-room mansion Wright built contained items from across the globe. However it was gutted by fire in 1952 and no longer survives"

After building his personal temple to Mammon (and ruining hundreds of investors) Wright lost all his ill-gotten gains and ate a cyanide pill to avoid life in prison.

This prompt is not just about con-men and poetic justice however; but about Wright's Folly, because I believe we all have our own versions of a Folly in our lives, or have been impacted by them in others' lives, or because the idea of them strikes a spark in our imaginations.

Neptune, atop Wright's underwater Folly via wikimedia commons

At the peak of his success, Wright chose to gratify his grandiose ambitions by knocking down hills, bulldozing ancient and venerable forest, finally digging out and flooding the local landscape to create three lakes, beneath one of which he built a singular domed chamber--his take on a Folly. 

Beneath the vaulted underwater ceiling, invisible from shore, Wright placed a billiards table, and no doubt entertained and lived the large life in the wavering light passing through the lake above while a statue of Neptune crowning the dome appeared to stand alone upon the water, looking out over his domain. Less than ten years later, Wright was disgraced and dead.

It was truly a Folly to end all Follies.

Inside looking out the dome of the Folly, via Daily Mail

The Challenge: 

So, toads and readers, it's time to build a Folly. 

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Write about something in your life into which you've put large amounts of your resources, something silly but decorative and pleasing, or something purely eccentric, even bizarre.

  • Possibly you have experienced someone elses' Folly in a way that was significant to you, for good or ill.

  • There could also be something darker in this concept: something dishonest, arrogant, wasteful, submerged as Wright's Folly was under a murky veneer of wealth and respectability. Go for it.

  • Perhaps you'd like to dig a little deeper into that classic snake-oil salesman J Whittaker Wright himself; his mind, his life or death, his scams or his fall from grace.

  • Your Folly might also be an historical parallel, or a more contemporary or general one. ( Both Bernie Madoff and politics come to mind.) 

  • You might want to write from the point of view of an onlooker, a swindled investor, Wright himself, or even Neptune. 

There are plenty of Follies to go around.

These are just suggestions to get you started on your little DIY project. The challenge is broad--we are in the middle of April,  and I don't intend to be picky about minor details. As long as your poem or prose poem is influenced in some way by the concepts discussed here, please feel free to run with it as your Muse takes you.

Whichever direction you take, just link in below. I will be looking forward to reading your interpretations of the theme. If you desire to include any of the photos here, feel free, but as always, please provide attribution as given in the captioned areas.