Saturday, November 28, 2015

Waiting for something good... or not

I know that for many of you, this weekend is part of Thanksgiving, but where I live this Sunday is the first of advent. Traditionally this means that we light the first candle of four, waiting for Christmas. If you are religious this would mean a time to contemplate, you would fast and pray. As a kid it meant to count down the time till Christmas, burning candles. When I got older it was finding the perfect gifts to parents and siblings, later lovers too.

Fisherwives Waiting for the Boats to Return by Eugene Boudin

This brings me to the prompt of today which is to write a poem about waiting. There are so many aspects of waiting. Are you the thing you wait for something good or bad. Is it a party to wait for, maybe a birthday, a visit from a friend. Or is it the prickling sense of waiting for a test-result, maybe for yourself or someone that you love. Waiting change the scale of time.

Waiting can also be through your own doings, you might procrastinate, make delays. Maybe force others to wait for you.

As one inspiration I found this poem by John Burroughs.


Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
I rave no more 'gainst time or fate,
For lo! my own shall come to me.

I stay my haste, I make delays,
For what avails this eager pace?
I stand amid the eternal ways,
And what is mine shall know my face.

Asleep, awake, by night or day,
The friends I seek are seeking me;
No wind can drive my bark astray,
Nor change the tide of destiny.

What matter if I stand alone?
I wait with joy the coming years;
My heart shall reap where it hath sown,
And garner up its fruit of tears.

The waters know their own and draw
The brook that springs in yonder height;
So flows the good with equal law
Unto the soul of pure delight.

The stars come nightly to the sky;
The tidal wave unto the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
Can keep my own away from me.

Try to focus on the sensations that you feel when waiting. Is it worry, anticipation or maybe even calm and silence just before the guests arrives and you know that everything is ready and prepared. Try to dress your feelings into metaphors, and images, also try to be specific, maybe use conceit to hide the reason. You can write to form or not, it’s entirely up to you.

Of course I’m fine with poems about advent as well… Just link up your freshly written poem and read what others might have to say.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Fireblossom Friday: Dread

Hello, dear pond dwellers and amphibious visitors. Fireblossom here with another Fireblossom Friday.

In the United States, where I happen to live, it is Thanksgiving. In the poetry blogosphere, where I also happen to live, that means a whole raft of prompts about gratitude. I dread them.

Webster's defines "dread" as a verb meaning "to anticipate with fear or distaste" and as a noun meaning "intense fear" or "fear mixed with awe". It also defines "dread" as an adjective meaning "inspiring dread." 

What makes you deeply uneasy? What haunts your nightmares? Do you dread something unseen but sensed, hiding in the shadows of your bedroom, your future, or your mind? Do you dread some calamity? Do you dread having to hear another of Aunt Gabby's endless stories? Do you dread clowns, monsters, disasters or Liberty Mutual insurance commercials?

Come in. Sit here. Would you like some coffee? Tea, perhaps? (It probably hasn't been tampered with, but who knows?) Tell kindly old Auntie Fireblossom what's bothering you. What are you afraid of? Oh dear. How dreadful! 

For this challenge, please write a poem with the theme of DREAD. Let your mouth go dry, your heart skip a beat. I doubt that anything is really standing behind you as you pick up your pen or poise your trembling fingers over your keyboard. 

While you still can, please link up, and then go visit others, if--as we all naturally hope--nothing awful has befallen them. And remember....have fun.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to The Tuesday Platform!

Thought Toads might enjoy these short remarks by poet Nikki Giovanni today. She advises, quite simply:

Whatever you are writing
should be true to you.

So on our free-style day, unscripted, unprompted... please share something true to you with us today.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Play it Again, Toads! #23

Mandarin Ducks (Asia)
Welcome to the 23rd Play it Again, Toads! where archived challenges of this Imaginary Garden come to life again.  Have fun exploring the sidebar (2011-2015) and selecting your own or choose one from three I've highlighted below.

The photos were taken at Prospect Park Zoo, Brooklyn this past week.  You are not required to use a photo in your poetry prompt - but you may use one for inspiration if you like.

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)  Imagined by Kerry - "Ingrid Jonker" 

3)  Imagined by Brudberg  - "Time-travel"

Elliot's Pheasant (Southeastern China)
Peacock (India)
Black-necked Crane (Asia)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Hearts Desire

     Just to the west of a Texas prairie town, maybe Midland, maybe Odessa ("It's in Odessa. I'm from Odessa. I was born there.") at the end of of a rutted, overgrown, dirt road, I came upon this cottage. Dusk had brought its evening palette and had begun to paint in ever broadening strokes it's warning of the impending night and its countless anxiety laced secrets. There were no signs of habitation, no modes of transportation or a remnant of a days work, there was only the desperate wails of the cicadas as they contemplated the length of a life surely at the cheated end of the biological spectrum. The cottage, sturdily built out of only the best salvaged lumber and thrice used nails, while remote, had an inviting charm that tugged at the soul of the casual passer, inviting even a total stranger to find a curious comfort within the ramshackle walls. Sunlight gave way to a steady but low light coming from the windows. It was a comfortable light, the kind of light you eat biscuits by, the kind of light only good mother's turned out while kissing the forehead of that devil by day, angel by night child, knowing that the dark is tight fisted baby sitter and the bringer of peace and wine.

     At the head of the path, near the porch was a stone plaque of sorts set into a concrete foundation. The plaque, constructed of smooth faced, gray, granite, the occasional rivulet of black or pink catching that last of the evening light and turning the face into a road map flecked with quartz. I imagined at that moment that the flecks were the location of diamond mines, this thought illuminating the  folly that the mind glimpses in that hour between the real light of day and the translucent ghost light of the evening. On the plaque in bold carved letters were the following lines:

For the soft of heart, to spread the love
For the feint of heart, a friendly shove
For the stony heart, a sculptures core
For the hungry ghosts, wanting more

Make a wish, break the bread and see the truth in the morn.......

Hey Toads....Heorotomost here.  So its been quite a year for me, published my book, quit smoking, quit my job, started a business with my wife, yeah it has been exhausting but super fulfilling at the same time. As the Holidays approach I realize that I have pretty much fulfilled my new year resolutions (a first) and I am in a bit of a reflective mood. Hence, todays Friday prompt.  In the little scenario I wrote above, I was thinking about wishes.  What if there was this cottage, this wish cottage where if you stumbled upon it you could have one wish.  For the prompt I don't want it to be the same old wish that you might throw out when asked this question.  I want you to reflect on the right now and here, whats going on around you personally or in the world.  If you are heavy hearted about recent events, if you are joyful and full of love and light about others, I want you to consider your present and make that wish in the form of a piece of writing. No form, only function.  I want to know your hearts desire. This will be the first reviewing I have done in a while and I am looking forward, that is if I haven't been disowned!!! LOl.

As an added bonus, without looking it up on the net, if anyone can tell me where the Odessa quote in the parentheses above is from, I will write a piece specifically for you, to you and about anything you want me to and present it to you as my Christmas gift to you....Oh Joy!!!!!!! And you wanted a new iPad....sheesh.

Love each and every one of you, hope you enjoy the prompt.  I look forward to reading anything that anyone has to offer, you have never let me down.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden...

Greetings to all poets and friends. Today the platform is yours to share a poem of your choice, and also take your seat in the audience as your fellow poets make us the gift of their words.

On a personal note, my obligation as a marker of our National Senior Certificate examinations will see me away from home from Sunday, November 29 until Sunday, December 13. My ability to visit the Garden will be extremely limited. Marian has graciously agreed to host the first two Tuesday Platforms of December and Hedgewitch will present FLASH 55 PLUS! My thanks in advance to all.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Blocking Writer's Block - Weekend Mini Challenge

Hey Toads.

Before beginning this post, I want to extend my deepest condolences to the people of Paris and of France.  In the wake of these terrible attacks, I’ve had a hard time focusing on the prompt. But, here goes--

I offer today an exercise. (I hope everyone has on their work-out clothes.)

Writers’ block. The absent muse. A vacuum in the head--or the opposite--so much going on up there that there is no blank mental space. Worst of all -- a lack of faith that one’s ideas are worth setting onto the page.

I am often troubled by these obstacles, and even wrote a series of blog posts about them, but I am certainly no expert. All I can say is that for me, these are moments when a writing exercise may work as a kind of jump-start.

Essentially, the exercise is to make yourself write for a short and specific amount of time. As part of this forced timed writing, you are required (i) to move you pen across the page without stopping, and (ii)  to not go back and cross anything out (until the time is through.)

I tend to advocate a pen for this part of the exercise, but you certainly are welcome to try it on a computer. A computer seems more difficult, however, because the screen is a lot like a mirror--what you have just written stares back at you and can make it difficult to forge unself-consciously ahead--

Okay, so, here’s the exercise, if you wish to participate.

The starting point is :  “I remember” or “I don’t remember."   (Feel free to use the third person instead, thinking of he or she remembers, or  doesn’t remember.)

 With these words in your head, sit down somewhere where you will not be interrupted, and write for seven minutes with a timer. 

You should start writing immediately once you set your timer, and keep your pen moving until its little ping.

 If you cannot think of something to write, write down “I cannot think of what to write,” and “I still can’t think of what to write.”  Just keep your pen, or fingers (or whatever you use to write) moving.

 At the end of your 7 minutes, read what you’ve written (or not.) Then take that piece or take the place you are in and and use it as a springboard for your poem.   Your initial text is not your poem, but just a peephole into it.

Your final poem (or draft if you are me!) can be made up of edited snippets of your initial text, or it  can be completely different.  (Maybe what you wrote  opened a vein and you want to move on from there. ) Again, the forced timed text should merely be a springboard, not your poem.

 Note that you can stop and think about your poem! In fact, you are encouraged to stop and think about your poem! However, keep in mind that the whole thing is still just an exercise. Meaning, don't overly judge yourself!

To sum up--take seven minutes to write down what you remember or do not remember in this very instant--what comes actually to mind right now and for the minutes that your pen moves.Then take another little bit of time to turn that exercise into a poem.

 Keep in mind that the word “remember” does not need to be in your poem. The only thing you DO need to remember is to visit your fellow poets!  (Also--I am not asking anyone to post their timed write here--you should feel completely private about that.)

Finally, finally (!) if all this just seems to laborious--and it is-- just write a poem on the prompt.

(Only, if you don't do the exercise, maybe don't tell me!  Ha!)  (All pics are mine--feel free to use crediting Karin Gustafson, a/k/a Manicddaily.)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bits of Inspiration ~ Capturing Thoughts

Good morning dear poets. Recently I have become fascinated by the paintings of John Everett Millais (June 8 1829 – August 13, 1896). He was an English painter and one of the wealthiest painters of his day.

While looking through his portrait paintings, I began to wonder what his subjects were thinking as he captured their images in brush strokes. I can barely sit still for a photograph. Where does a mind go when someone has to sit for hours under the keen observation of an artist translating what he sees through paint onto a canvas?

Today's challenge is to choose one of the following paintings and give voice to the subject's thoughts. Is there joy, boredom, worry? Are there any hints in the painting itself? Once you've penned your poem add it to Mr. Linky and then visit your fellow poets and discover what they "heard" from the image they chose.

Portia (Kate Dolan)

The Violet's Message

The Bridesmaid 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Happy Week, Toads and Friends!

 Art Prints

I came across this image and found it so charming, and just had to share. I know many residents of the Imaginary Garden will love it, too. Let's spend this week curled up with our favorite furry friends, just reading with big smiles on our faces. If only!

The artist is Rebecca Korpita and you can click through the widget above to see a larger image of this print and other pieces of hers. Wonderful!

Let this little girl's happiness inspire you this week. Please share a poem with us, and spend a little time visiting the offerings of others. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Eye of the Beholder ~ Micro Poetry


Today is the day we put the "mini' back into the Sunday Mini-Challenge, and return to the option of form poetry. The object of this challenge is to write a poem in no more than 10 lines (but you may write in fewer than 10 lines all the way down to a single American sentence). You may choose your own form or stick to free verse, if preferred. For those who would like a bit of guidance, or further choice, I have provided a link to Poets Garret, showing a variety of 8 line poems.

The subject matter for your poem is wide open, but bear in mind the 'Eye of the Beholder' angle. I look forward to reading a number of short poems, from Saturday through to Monday. The link does not expire, so please feel free to write more than one poem, and a return to comment on poems linked later would be appreciated.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Out of Standard - Remember, Remember

Guy Fawkes mask. Image courtesy of photobucket

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 November’s challenge...


For those not in the know: on the evening of November 5, 1605, a small group of rebels attempted to assassinate King James and his advisors by placing a cache of explosives under the House of Lords.  The plot was not successful, and the man caught guarding the explosives , Guy Fawkes, was immediately arrested and soon executed.  

Ever since England, and other countries across the globe have celebrated November 5 as Guy Fawkes Night.  Sometimes thought as a precursor to Thanksgiving, bonfires are lit on the evening of November 5 and effigies of Fawkes are burned as a way to celebrate all the things that never happened. 

Fawkes is a somewhat derisive figure.  Many activists embrace him as a symbol of change.  Others have branded Fawkes and his collaborators as terrorists.  Worry not, toads, for today’s challenge is not about Fawkes himself, but the centuries old holiday that has sprouted up in his name. 


In the spirit of Guy Fawkes Night, I call upon you to write a poem which celebrates something that never happened.  I’ll let you interpret that however you want.  Feel free to get as creative as you want...maybe even have yourself a cheerful bonfire to boot! 


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, November 3, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden ...

 Greetings to all poets and friends!

I invite you to share a poem of your choice on our open forum and to join us in reading, learning and appreciating the power of words.