Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sunday challenge Bout-Rimés

Today I thought we’d try a little game that’s called Bout-Rimés (from French and means rhymed ends. The game itself is attributed to the French Poet Dulot, and though the poet himself is mostly forgotten the game has since attracted many famous poets.

In the English speaking world the Rosetti’s used this game in their literary salon, and especially Christina was very skilled in this.

Consider for instance the following sonnet made by Christina:

Methinks the ills of life I fain would shun;
But then I must shun life, which is a blank.
Even in my childhood oft my spirit sank,
Thinking of all that had still to be done.
Among my many friends there is not one
Like her with whom I sat upon the bank
Willow-o'ershadowed, from whose lips I drank
A love more pure than streams that sing and run.
But many times that joy has cost a sigh;
And many times I in my heart have sought
For the old comfort and not found it yet.
Surely in that calm day when I shall die
The painful thought will be a blessed thought
And I shall sorrow that I must forget.

Who would have guessed that she had not selected the end words herself?

So for today’s challenge I want you all to play with end-rhymes. I have chosen 14 rhymes that could give a Shakespearean sonnet, and for those of you who want to do go strictly with iambs, that’s OK, but experiments with meter is encouraged (though I might stick to pentameter myself)

Also use of homophones to replace the given ones, as well as composed words are allowed. I am kind enough to allow small modifications to slanted rhymes. But the order of the end-words can not be changed.
And this is in no way a competition...he he. No way...
So here are the words I have picked for you, there will be bonus point for anyone recognizing the poem I have used to for these words.

caught, him, got, dim, shade, goes, glade, flows, lies, stone, dies, tone, lawn, gone

I look forward to a lot of variations from you dear friends.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Out of Standard - Best Party of One....Ever

Image copyrighted, Isadora Gruye Photography.

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...


Todays prompt involves connecting the physical to the page, and I am not kidding when I say you will be required to boogie woogie (or maybe just twist the night away).  

Your challenge:  blast your favorite dancing song and allow yourself to jam out.  It’s okay, no one is (probably) watching.  Shake your groove thing, flail about, raise your hands....move.  When the song is over, write out the first thoughts that come to your mind and use them in a poem. Let’s see what phrases the dance sets free!


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.  

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

It’s Tuesday! C’mon in, the patio is yours. We Toads invite you to share your poetry with us.

Long or short, old or new, 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. And please do take some time during the week to read the work of other participants. We all value feedback on our work from other writers; it is how we grow, blossom, and thrive.

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

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Play It Again, Toads #

Warm Greetings to all on this lovely weekend in May. I am standing in for Margaret Bednar, who is our usual "Play It Again" host. This Mini-Challenge affords us the rare opportunity to revisit a prompt or challenge from our archives, or to catch up on one of the more recent posts that we may have missed.

Photo Copyright: HJ Clark
"Red Hot Pokers"

I have selected three choices for our consideration today, but the invitation is open for you to select your own past challenge from our archives, listed according to years and months in the right side-panel.

1. Artistic Interpretations with Margaret - Sketchbook Poetry
(May 30, 2014)

2. Fireblossom Friday - Location, Location, Location (May 24, 2013)

3. Kenia's Wednesday Challenge (May 16, 2012)

Photo Copyright: HJ Clark
"Zengela Guest Lodge"

If you choose a past challenge different from those listed above, please provide a link to the original post.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Fireblossom Friday: Recipe For....Poetry

Hello dear Toads and Pond followers. Fireblossom here, standing in for Margaret this week. 

At the risk of drawing down the wrath of our very own Grapeling, I am going to ask you to use a list. However, unlike the Get Listed feature, YOU are going to provide the list, not me.

I want poems which include a list of some kind. Here are some ideas about types of lists you could use:

bucket list

to-do list

ingredients for a recipe, whether for food, a potion, or something else

guest list

shopping list

wish list

hit list

a line-up

things required or prohibited

symptoms and/or treatments

an inventory

personal effects

hate list

casualty/survivor list

instructions for something

There are, no doubt, many others. Feel free to come up with your own! Here is the thing, though. Don't just mention a list without telling us at least some of what's on it. Details, baby. That's what's required here. Please write a NEW poem specifically for this challenge, then link up! Have fun, listies.  


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Greetings to all poets who have joined us in the Imaginary Garden today. This is your opportunity to link up a poem of your choice, and to hang out with some of the smartest writers on the internet. Our long-standing member, Corey Rowley, has recently published a collection of his writing, under the auspices of ALL CAPS PUBLISHING - the brain child of Marian Kent. Check out his title, On Hunter's Wash: A Fractured Memoir, as well as many others listed on out Bookshelf Page.

I hope you will all have a wonderful Tuesday of composing and reading the work of other poets and friends.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Weekend Mini Challenge--Connect the Chimes!

Hey Toads,

I first focused on the fact that I was scheduled for this prompt right at the end of the rigors of April. My head rang slightly every time I thought about it, as in “omg--I have to come up with a prompt?”  Then, oddly, two of my favorite lines would reverberate--“never send to know for whom the bell tolls/it tolls for thee.” 

The lines are from John Donne, and, at first, made me think this prompt should be about bells, or, really, the use of repeated sounds in poetry--repeated words, or phrases--a repetition that always seems to me like the tolling of a bell.  (Even when the words and the poem have nothing to do with bells.)

But then I looked up the Donne lines, which come from “No Man Is An Island”--

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

So, because these words keep ringing in my mind--and because they are such beautiful words-- I’m giving you a couple of choices for the prompt today--(i) is to write something arising out of the idea of tolling/ringing/knelling--this can be need not be about a bell;  it could involve any kind of repetition (or not.)  A great example is Break Break Break by Alfred Lord Tennyson. 

The second choice is to write about connection:  what connects you, or someone or something else, to some kind of mainland.  Note that this choice does not require autobiography--it can be about the connection of anything between anything else--though, it can also, of course, be about yourself and your own tethers.  (The connection does not have to be positive.) 

No Toad -- in this case, frog--is an island either.
So, ring them dots!  Connect them chimes!  Again--note this prompt does not require a poem about bells or islands or even peninsula!  Really, just use this as a platform to dive off from.

For fun, and further inspiration, here's a very middle of May kind of video of Judy Garland and Gene Kelley:

BTW--this is Manicddaily/Karin Gustafson --also unfortunately known on Blogger as Outlawyer.  All the above pics, other than the Indian one, are mine.  (The Indian one is by my daughter Meredith Martin.)  The elephant is from my children's counting book, 1 Mississippi.  (Check it out!)   All rights reserved. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Queen Bee

Springfield, Massachusetts is childhood home of

Theodor Geisel 

and Henry Saint Clair Fredericks


So much inspiration! I double-dog dare you to pen a poem inspired by BOTH.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Meow! It’s open mic time in the Imaginary Garden. Welcome to The Tuesday Platform!

The rules are simple: Please link up a poem of your choice, and take some time during the week to visit other cats who have shared their poems. Dancing is encouraged, but is not required. Meowy easy! 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sunday's Mini-challenge: Jane Hirshfield

Hi everyone ~  My featured poet this month is the award winning American author, essayist and translator Jane Hirshfield.

Photo credit: Michael Lionheart

Jane Hirshfield is the author of several collections of verse, including Come, Thief(2011), After (2006), shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot prize, and Given Sugar, Given Salt (2001), a finalist for the National Book Critics Award, among others. Hirshfield has also translated the work of early women poets in collections such as The Ink Dark Moon: Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan (1990) and Women in Praise of the Sacred: Forty-Three Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women (1994). Inspired by both Eastern and Western traditions, Hirshfield’s work encompasses a huge range of influences. “Greek and Roman lyrics, the English sonnet, those foundation stones of American poetry Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, ‘modern’ poets from T. S. Eliotto Anna Akhmatova to C. P. Cavafy to Pablo Neruda—all have added something to my knowledge of what is possible in poetry,” Hirshfield explained to Contemporary Authors. Equally influential have been classical Chinese poets Tu Fu, Li Po, Wang Wei, and Han Shan; classical Japanese Heian-Era poets Komachi and Shikibu; and such lesser-known traditions as Eskimo and Nahuatl poetry.

Hirshfield published her first poem in 1973, shortly after graduating from Princeton as a member of the university’s first graduating class to include women. She put aside her writing for nearly eight years, however, to study at the San Francisco Zen Center. “I felt that I’d never make much of a poet if I didn’t know more than I knew at that time about what it means to be a human being,” Hirshfield once said. “I don’t think poetry is based just on poetry; it is based on a thoroughly lived life. And so I couldn’t just decide I was going to write no matter what; I first had to find out what it means to live.

Hirshfield’s poetry works with short forms, spare lines, and careful imagery of natural and domestic settings. Her poems frequently hinge on a turning point or moment of insight. 

About her work, the poet Rosana Warren has said: Her poems appear simple, and are not. Her language, in its cleanliness and transparency, poses riddles of a quietly metaphysical nature...Clause by clause, image by image, in language at once mysterious and commonplace, Hirshfield’s poems clear a space for reflection and change. They invite ethical awareness, and establish a delicate balance.

Green-Striped Melons

They lie
under stars in a field.
They lie under rain in a field.
Under sun.
Some people
are like this as well—
like a painting
hidden beneath another painting.
An unexpected weight
the sign of their ripeness.

For What Binds Us

There are names for what binds us:
strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them:
the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
nails rusting into the places they join,
joints dovetailed on their own weight.
The way things stay so solidly
wherever they've been set down—
and gravity, scientists say, is weak.

And see how the flesh grows back
across a wound, with a great vehemence,
more strong
than the simple, untested surface before.
There's a name for it on horses,
when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh,

as all flesh,
is proud of its wounds, wears them
as honors given out after battle,
small triumphs pinned to the chest—

And when two people have loved each other
see how it is like a
scar between their bodies,
stronger, darker, and proud;
how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
that nothing can tear or mend.

Sonoma Fire

Large moon the deep orange of embers.  
Also the scent.
The griefs of others—beautiful, at a distance.

You can read more of her poems here and here.

The challenge is write a new poem or prose poem inspired by the title, verse or style by Jane Hirshfield.   I look forward to reading your work. Please visit and comment on the work of others.   And Happy Mother's Day to all !   Grace (aka Heaven)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Get Listed for May: Pablo Neruda

From Goodreads

Writing, reading, and commenting fatigue lingers from the April poem-fest.

So, straight to this month's Get Listed prompt.

I have winnowed the list from the (translated) poems of Pablo Neruda, specifically, from the bilingual edition Pablo Neruda - Selected Poems (Houghton Mifflin, 1970).

As a reminder, please write a new poem for this prompt using at least 3 of the list words (or reasonable variants), post it to your own site, and link to that specific poem (not just your blog) in Mr. Linky, below.

The List:

from "Poet's Obligation", page 429 (links to full poem at

fragment, insistent, withdrawing, sea

from "They Come for the Islands (1493)", page 195 (links to full poem at Google Books):

clay, gnawed, empty, knife

from "I'm Explaining a Few Things", page 151 ( again):

suburb, face, house, blood

The prompt will remain open so please frequently revisit your fellow writers - and it's good form to comment on their pens, if you would have them visit and read yours. Thanks for participating.

~ M

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden where the stage is yours.

The platform we offer remains prompt and guideline free. Please select a poem of your choice - either brand new or a golden oldie. Perhaps there is a poem you wrote in April, which fell through the cracks of numerous posts, and you would like to have more feedback on it. As always, we encourage an atmosphere of sharing and supporting the efforts of other writers.

Saturday, May 2, 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.



Japanese Zen Garden - Dirk Ercken

The optional extra for this mini-challenge is to add a touch of Zen to your piece.  Follow this link for some fine examples of Zen Poetry.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Kerry Says ~ Let's Take a Break

Dear friends, fellow poets, dedicated toads...

We have come to the end of our third consecutive April in which a prompt a day is provided by the members of The Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. I cannot over-emphasize how grateful I am to be surrounded by this most enthusiastic and dedicated group of writers, who have given us all the benefit of their imaginations with unfailing loyalty in support of those who took up the challenge to complete 30 poems in 30 days. I know I speak on behalf of all poets, who linked up a poem to one of the daily prompts, when I extend a heartfelt message of appreciation to all who took the time to read and comment on so many of our poems. The camaraderie this month has been unparalleled.

Now, as we turn over another page of the calendar, we begin a new month back to the normal schedule of a weekly prompt, which is posted at 12 noon on Thursday; a weekend prompt posted at 12 noon on Saturday and the Tuesday Platform, which posts at midnight. The prompt of the first week of May has fallen to me, but I am declaring this day a day of rest. Please take the time to catch up on your reading and commentary if you so wish, or to spend the day far away from the land of blog. But do not stay away for too long! Flash 55 PLUS will be posted this weekend.