Saturday, August 29, 2015

Weekend Mini-challenge - Ekphrasis

Hi toads, tadpoles and other amphibians, today I thought I would bring you something truly challenging, a form or some technical detail of creating poetry. Maybe some aspects in the vast area of sonnets or haiku.


Still there is some summer in the air, Sometimes when I lack inspiration I go to the wonderful site and try to find a picture or painting that inspires me. But alas, one thing that I have found is that this is often less successful than if I try to illustrate a poem already written. Often I get more comments when the poem reflects more indirectly the content in the picture.

So today want to do ekphrastic poetry. Ekphrasis comes from Greek and means to use a description of art (your poem) as a rhetorical or imaginative description.

Many might be familiar with haiga, and you all know that in a good haiga, the poem and the picture complement each other and create a wider wisdom than could be gained from the haiku and picture separately.

So today I will challenge you with just a single piece of art, and this time I would like you to find a poem that does not just describe the painting, but how it speaks to you, what stories do you find in it?. You might find a detail in the painting, or it might bring back some stories from your past, it might bring back dreams or hopes. But make sure you do not merely describe the picture, you have to find your story in it.

There are no requirement on form, you can write a poem, a vignette a news-article, an essay or maybe a novel (though that might be tough for me to read).

I have chosen this image for you:

Artist in his Studio by Rembrandt

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Last Supper......

Ohhh, my dear Toads, it is good to see you.  It is my week for a prompt, and it seems all I can do to fit any writing time in these days. Starting our own business and tying up loose ends with the old employer and being fair about it have been a bit of a stressful situation.  But the time is upon us to strike out on our own and do our own thing, epic fail or gargantuan success, we do it on our own terms.

....And what do I do dear friends when stress becomes overbearing, when the world seems to weigh a metric ton, when the voices in my head are in overdrive? I eat.  Never fail. Diet or no, when it gets to be too much I find a nice dinner out with my love is just the prescription to get me through.  We often discuss this question:

 "What if the this was your last meal, for whatever reason, and you knew it was your last meal, what would you eat?"

To date we have been very consistent, hers is Clams Linguini from Tomaso's in North Beach (San Fran). Mine is pretty pathetic, but it is pizza and wings from Fuzzy's Pizza here in Phoenix, that pizza is like crack to me.  You would think I would pick some other culinary deliciousness, but when the rubber meets the road, I'm eating as much Fuzzy's as I can if its my last meal.  I wonder if you never finish your meal if whatever is going to happen to you can happen? Sorry sidetracked, its not hard with me.

Tomaso's Clams Linguini

For today's prompt ladies and gentlemen, I challenge you to think of what your last meal would be, the setting you are in when you are eating it and any last thoughts, emotions, feelings that might be floating through your head as you are enjoying or not enjoying that last tempting morsel.  As always this writing can be in the form of a manufacturers sticker, legalese on the back of a credit card (please include your security code), a poem, a screenplay, business card.  I care not about the form or format, you know I just like to pick at those juicy brains of yours...the are so full of wonderful images.

Fuzzy's Pizza

So if you are inclined, if you are not too stressed out, join me in the prompt.  If you find this meal not to your liking or if your delicate sensibilities are offended, please write whatever you want, after all, that is whats important.  Love you each and every one!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Tuesday Platform


Greetings to all, on this fine Tuesday. Spring has come early this year, and I could not resist sharing this local (South African) news story with you today.

Cape Town - Motorists are warned to look out for more than just pedestrians on city roads as endangered western leopard toads make their way to breeding ponds from their foraging areas. The City of Cape Town said in a statement the amphibians’ annual breeding migration period is between July and September. It warned motorists in the southern suburbs to reduce their speed, particularly on rainy nights, to avoid injuring the species. 
Read the rest of the report HERE.

There is even a non-profit organisation called 'TOAD NUTS'
which monitors their saftey!  (Source)
I am always heartened to see conservation so seriously. But back to the order of the day, which is our weekly open link. Please share a poem of your choice, and hop around to visit the other lily pads. Reduced speed is preferred. Have a wonderful day.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Play it Again, Toads!

Rain rolling toward Clingman's Dome

Welcome to the 20th Play it Again, Toads! where we revisit archived challenges of this Imaginary Garden.  Have fun exploring the archived challenges from the sidebar (2011-2015) or choose one from three I've highlighted below.

I am in the midst of a move - we sold our house and are moving into a rental which will allow our daughter to finish her senior year of high school - but come June of 2016 we will move to the mountains of North Carolina.   This is why I have been a bit quiet lately - but the light is at the end of the tunnel and we DID recently take a one week vacation to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and I have a few images you may use for poetic inspiration.

I will be late in commenting as we are in a state of chaos right now but I WILL visit as soon as I can.

Please submit an original poem and link your specific post to Mr. Linky below and be sure to make it clear which challenge you are resurrecting by including a link.

As always, please be neighborly and visit the other wonderful poets.

1)  Words Count with Mama Zen "Power Image"

2)  Imagined by Kerry "William Carlos Williams"

3)  Fireblossom Friday "Lists"

Mountain Farm

Black Bear and cub

Elk in the Great Smoky Mountain Valley 

They call it The Smokies for a reason

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bits of Inspiration ~ The Photography of Douglas Salisbury

Douglas Salisbury

Photo and Verse - Douglas Salisbury

“A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.” - Ansel Adams

That quote is so true, but we who write poetry can find words when there are none. Today I am honored to provide the photography of my friend, Douglas Salisbury, as inspiration for your verses. Douglas is an awarding winning photographer living in Beaumont, Texas. He often writes and speaks of life as an adventure which is reflected through his work with a lens. 

Photo - Douglas Salisbury

"Look, the trees are turning their own bodies into pillars  of light"
In Blackwater Woods - Mary Oliver

Photo - Douglas Salisbury

"The Lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,
  A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day."
The Lighthouse - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Photo - Douglas Salisbury

“If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it,
 it's your world for a moment.” ― Georgia O'Keeffe

Photo - Douglas Salisbury

“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”
― Robert Lynd

Photo - Douglas Salisbury

“My truck is the size of a green wheelbarrow full of dead horsepower.
 I dug it up in the cemetery.
”  ― Jarod Kintz, Sleepwalking is restercise

Photo - Douglas Salisbury

"When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear."
 Alfred Eisenstaedt 

Photo - Douglas Salisbury

“Time goes faster the more hollow it is.
 Lives with no meaning go straight past you, 
like trains that don’t stop at your station.”

― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

I must admit I am a bit starstruck by Douglas Salisbury's talent to capture such incredible images. You can find more of his work at Moments Captured Photography.

For today's challenge choose a photograph and its companion quote (optional) and write an original poem.  Remember to credit Douglas if you use one of his photographs in in your post, add your poem to Mr. Linky, and visit your fellow poets to read their work.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
It's Tuesday! Share a poem with us.
Share some time reading and commenting on poems.
Check out Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh for inspiration.
Maybe everything isn't hopeless bullshit after all!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Weekend Mini Challenge - Poetry Time!

“Had we but world enough and time,” 

“Oh let not time deceive you,
you cannot conquer time.”

“And Time, that gave, doth now his gift confound.”
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 60.

"To everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under heaven:"

“It is at the edges
that time thins.”
Kay Ryan

To think of time—of all that retrospection!

Poets have been writing about time since, well, their beginning.  

And, Toads, there’s still time for us to join in.   Because, as T.S. Eliot wrote, "there will be time to murder and create."  (Only today I'd prefer you to focus on the second of those activities.)

  (And please don’t tell me you don't have time for this, because Eliot has also assured me that there will be "time for you and time for me/and time yet for a hundred indecisions/and for a hundred visions and revisions.”)

So, seriously, take some time.  Sneak it, if necessary--the link for this prompt will not expire--let yourself just do some visioning and revisioning. 

As always, I mean this prompt to be as broad as possible.  Use time as your portal, your watchword, but do not feel the need to actually use the word in your poem.

Please also feel free to think about time in any of its many aspects--time as a concept;  time passing, that time you did such and such; good times, bad times; time as an era in your life or the life of the planet (i.e. the time of the Renaissance or of the mastodon); a timed test, timed bake, time travel, a timepiece, a time of peace, a wrinkle in, tempus fugit (time flies), or as Terry Pratchett’s character Nanny Ogg likes to say “tempus fuggit”-- (not quite the same thing.) 

Most importantly, have a great time writing your piece and in thoughtfully visiting the work of others.   

Final note--Manicddaily/Outlawyer/Karin Gustafson here.  All the photos are mine--feel free to use one with proper attribution (i.e. to me, and in the case of the top one, Pearl)--thanks.  Please also, for further inspiration, check out the links!  

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Pigeon Superstition

Image courtesy of WikiCommons

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 August’s challenge...


For today’s prompt we are looking to a psychologist who spent most of his adult life proving there is no out of standard, famed behaviorist B.F. Skinner, and one of his examinations on the pigeon. Skinner placed a series of hungry pigeons in a cage attached to an automatic mechanism that delivered food to the pigeons at regular intervals with no reference whatsoever to the bird's behavior.

When a timer releases a seed automatically every 20 seconds, the pigeon wonders, what did I do to deserve this? If it was flapping its wings at the time, it will continue to flap, convinced that its actions have the decisive influence on what happens. We call this "pigeon superstition".

For today’s challenge, I call upon you to sharpen your pencils, rewet the inkwell, and use Skinner’s study of superstition in the pigeon to inspire a new poem. Extra credit will be awarded for using the phrase Pigeon Superstition directly. 


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, August 11, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden...

Greetings to all poets and friends who find themselves walking the garden path with us on this fine Tuesday in August. I hope you find yourself in good company here, with a poem to share and the time to read those offered by your fellow writers. Therefore, please link up a poem of your choice and enjoy your time spent in the garden.

We all value positive commentary and creative advice which is given with the best of intentions. The Imaginary Garden is closely moderated and no trolls are allowed to take up residence under our bridges. Our mission statement clearly states: The purpose of this writing community is to ensure an intimate and supportive environment and an improvement of our writing skills.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sunday's Mini-Challenge: Judith Wright

Hi everyone! My featured poet today is a well-respected Australian poet, critic and short story writer, Judith Wright (1915-2000).Wright was also an uncompromising environmentalist and social activist campaigning for Aboriginal land rights. She believed that the poet should be concerned with national and social problems. At the age of 85, just before her death, she attended in Canberra at a march for reconciliation with Aboriginal people.

Judith Arundell Wright was born near Armidale, New South Wales, into an old and wealthy pastoral family.After her mother died in 1927, she was educated under her grandmother's supervision. At the age of 14 she was sent to New England Girls' School, where she found consolation from poetry and decided to become a poet. In 1934 she entered Sydney University. Wright studied philosophy, history, psychology and English, without taking a degree. 

When Wright was in her 20s, she started to became progressively deaf. At the age of 30 Wright met her lifelong partner, the unorthodox philosopher J.P. McKinney, 23 years her senior; they later married. 

Wright started to publish poems in the late 1930s in literary journals. As a poet she made her debut with The Moving Image (1946), in which she showed her technical excellence without burdens of fashionable trends. Most of the poems were written in wartime - in 'The Trains' Wright took the threat of the war in the Pacific as a subject. The main theme in the volume was the poet's awareness of time, death, and evil on a universal scale. With the following collections Wright gained a reputation as a wholly new voice in literature with a distinctly female perspective. The title poem from Woman to Man (1949) dealt with the sexual act from a woman's point of view. 'The Maker' paralleled the creation of a poem and the creation of a child. Several of her early poems such as 'Bullocky' and 'Woman to Man' became standard anthology pieces. Wright also wrote love poems to her husband. His death in 1966 and her increasing anxiety of the destruction of the natural environment brought more pessimistic undercurrents in her work. 

I praise the scoring drought, the flying dust 
the drying creek, the furious animal, 
that they oppose us still; 
that we are ruined by the thing we kill. 

Most of Wright's poetry was written in the mountains of southern Queensland. Protesting the political policies of Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Premier of Queensland, Wright left her home state in the mid-1970s, and settled to a remote property near the heritage town of Braidwood, south of Canberra, where she wrote many of her later nature poems. 
Wright received several awards, including Grace Leven Prize (1950), Australia-Britannica Award (1964), Robert Frost Memorial Award (1977), Australian World Prize (1984), Queen's Medal for Poetry (1992). She had honorary degrees from several universities. In 1973-74 she was a member of Australia Council.

Woman to Man
The eyeless labourer in the night,
the selfless, shapeless seed I hold,
builds for its resurrection day---
silent and swift and deep from sight
foresees the unimagined light.

This is no child with a child's face;
this has no name to name it by;
yet you and I have known it well.
This is our hunter and our chase,
the third who lay in our embrace.

This is the strength that your arm knows,
the arc of flesh that is my breast,
the precise crystals of our eyes.
This is the blood's wild tree that grows
the intricate and folded rose.

This is the maker and the made;
this is the question and reply;
the blind head butting at the dark,
the blaze of light along the blade.
Oh hold me, for I am afraid.
Late Spring
The moon drained white by day 
lifts from the hill 
where the old pear-tree fallen in storm 
springs up in blossom still. 

Women believe in the moon: 
this branch I hold 
is not more white and still than she 
whose flower is ages old, 

and so I carry home 
flowers from the pear 
that makes such obstinate tokens still 
for fruit it cannot bear.
Bora Ring
The song is gone; the dance
is secret with the dancers in the earth,
the ritual useless, and the tribal story
lost in an alien tale.

Only the grass stands up
to mark the dancing-ring; the apple-gums
posture and mime a past corroboree,
murmur a broken chant.

The hunter is gone; the spear
is splintered underground; the painted bodies
a dream the world breathed sleeping and forgot.
The nomad feet are still.

Only the rider's heart
halts at a sightless shadow, an unsaid word
that fastens in the blood of the ancient curse,
the fear as old as Cain.

You can read more poems here.

The challenge is write a new poem or prose poem inspired by the title, verse or themes by Judith Wright. I look forward to reading your work. Please visit and comment on the work of others.   And happy weekend to all !   Grace (aka Heaven)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Artistic Interpretations with Margaret - "Vases"

Welcome to "Artistic Interpretations".  I introduce you to a few pieces of Brooklyn Museum's Collection of vases.   The elegant beauty of this backlit wall mesmerized me and I regret I couldn't photograph a few higher up.  Some are chipped, most have been lovingly worn and indicate they were not just objects of beauty but also function.  If only these vases could talk... what would they share of the people who made them, held them, treasured them?

You are free to respond to these images in any way you like...

Please link specific post to "Mr. Linky" below and feel free to write to more than one image.  "The Tuesday Platform" is available for those who desire more time.  Life has me tied up right now with many obligations, but I will be back to read everyone's poems off and on over the next few days.

Turkish Jug, ceramic 17th century
Inca artist, Ecuador Face Neck Jar, ceramic 1450-1532
Iranian Vase, ceramic (Lajevardina ware) mid 13th century
New York, NY, Silver Tiffany & Co Pitcher, 1879
Knight, Elkin & Co.
Staffordshire, England, Earthenware Pitcher, 1840
Mangbetu artist, Uele region,
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Terracotta Vessel,
early 20th century
Italy, Glass Pitcher 19th century
Anasazi artist, SW United States, Ceramic Jar, 400-800
Qing dynasty, China, Porcelain Ewer, 18-19th century

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Old Sturbridge Village, MA (photo by Marian Kent)
And last of all, to act upon this Stage,
Leaning upon his staff, comes up old age.
Under his arm a Sheaf of wheat he bore,
A Harvest of the best: what needs he more?
from The Four Ages of Man by Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672)

Welcome to the open stage in the Imaginary Garden. Please share with us a poem of your choice today, and the visit the offerings of others. We look forward to enjoying the harvest of the best!

Saturday, August 1, 2015


Greetings to all poets and friends! It is time for this month's Flash 55 Challenge.
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.

Possibly the work of the artist known as Banksy
Source Unknown



For the optional extra element to this challenge, I am offering a single word:


enter someone's land or property without permission.
"there is no excuse for trespassing on railway property"
synonyms: enter without permission, intrude on, encroach on, invade, infringe, impinge on; archaic entrench on

archaic literary
commit an offence against (a person or a set of rules).
"a man who had trespassed against Judaic law"
synonyms: wrong, do wrong to, cause harm to

entry to a person's land or property without permission.
"the defendants were guilty of trespass"
synonyms: unlawful entry, intrusion, encroachment, invasion, infringement, impingement

archaic literary
a sin or offence.
"the worst trespass against the goddess Venus is to see her naked and asleep"
"Forgive us our trespasses (n) as we forgive those who trespass (v) against us.”