Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fireblossom Friday: The Art of Gerda Wegener

Hi Toads and pond followers! Fireblossom here with another Fireblossom Friday. Today we'll be doing! For this, we'll seek to be inspired by the art of Gerda Wegener!

Some of you may have seen or at least heard of the current movie "The Danish Girl." No, it isn't about breakfast pastries. It's about artist couple Einar and Gerda Wegener. Einar's story is remarkable, as Einar became Lily Elbe and gave up art, feeling it was something of Einar's. However, we'll be concerning ourselves with Gerda's work, which is flamboyant, colorful, and erotic. Interesting fact: Lily became her favorite model!

Her work was quite popular in the early 20th century. She was a sought-after illustrator, with her work appearing in such magazines as Vogue. 

By the 1930s, however, her jazz age art had fallen out of style, and by the time of her death in 1940, Gerda had fallen into obscurity. 

Luckily for us, though, she was rediscovered by accident! To my irritation, I can't find the source I found when I was researching this a few days ago, so please bear with me, but someone found one of her old canvases in storage somewhere, or at an estate sale, or something of that nature. Again, apologies for not saving the source, so I could be more specific about this. The result isn't in doubt--her paintings have enjoyed a resurgence. 

For this challenge, choose any art created by Gerda Wegener, whether one of these that I've included, or another from some other source. Be advised, if you're prone to blush, that much of her art is plainly erotic in nature. I've kept my examples here to the ones rated "G". Write a new poem inspired by her work, and link up. That's it! Have fun, and Happy New Year. (Did you think I'd post some tiresome prompt about new beginnings? Pffft!)


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Happy New Year to all Toads and Pond-Dwellers! 

A Flower unblown: a Book unread:
A Tree with fruit unharvested:
A Path untrod: a House whose rooms
Lack yet the heart’s divine perfumes;
A Landscape whose wide border lies
In silent shade ’neath silent skies:
A wondrous Fountain yet unsealed:
A Casket with its gifts concealed:—
This is the Year that for you waits
Beyond To-morrow’s mystic gates.
The New Year by Horatio Nelson Powers
Please join in today by sharing a poem from your blog, old or new. Then visit, read, and comment on the offerings of others. This Tuesday Platform is the bedrock of the Imaginary Garden, and we are grateful for your presence throughout the year. We have great plans for 2016, to include all of you.

Best wishes and sea feliz, everyone!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Play it Again, Toads!

Bada Shanren (Zhu Da) Qing Dynasty 1702
Hanging Scroll; ink on paper
"Two Eagles"
Welcome to the 24th 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.

This is a time of year for contemplation and hopefully anticipation.  I want to thank each of you for your wonderful poetry this past year and hope you will continue to play along with "Play it Again, Toads!" challenges in 2016!

As usual, you are not required to use a photo for this poetry prompt - but you may use one of these for inspiration if you like.  These images are from my latest visit to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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 who participate.

1)  A word with Laurie: Review

2)  Fireblossom:  Calling All Angels

3)  Jukebox - a You Tube musical video challenge  Our Herotomost was given a personal challenge from Isadora Gruye, but I thought it might be fun to open this idea up to everyone.  

"Two Women Sitting in Shade
of Sycamore Tree"
Dynasty 19 reign of Seti
1294-1279 BC
The little sycamore that she herself planted
Opens its mouth to speak
The words coming forth from its mouth
Overflow with honey.
It is perfect its branches beautiful,
Blooming and strong,
Laden with ripe and unripe figs
That are redder than jasper.
Its leaves like turquoise,
With the gleam of glass.
It attracts those who have yet to come:
"Come spread a day of beauty,
Morning after morning, up to three days, While
seated in (my) shade...
I am discreet and do not say what I see.
I will not breathe a word."

This is a poem presented with the above image at the museum.  I don't know who wrote it and I don't know if it is a translation of something old.  Perhaps you can use the poem for inspiration in some way...  
Altar bowl with winged animal among waves
China, Ming dynasty, Chenghua period  1465-87
Porcelain painted with cobalt blue under and
red enamel over transparent glaze
(Jingdezhen ware)
Dancing Celestial
India (Uttar Pradesh) early 12th century
Vase - China, Qing dynasty 1644-1911
early nineteenth century
Porcelain painted with colored enamels
over a transparent glaze (Jingdezhen ware)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Get Listed, Solstice Edition

The Message - Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five

America is Waiting - Byrne / Eno

The big thing happened again, like it does every year:

Daylight started crawling higher, unless you've drifted below the line (where Kerry lives) and the reverse is true.

So for this month's Get Listed, the theme is changing direction.

As a reminder, please write a new poem, using at least 3 of the following words (or reasonable variants thereof), post it to your blog, then link to the poem using Mr. Linky, below.

After posting, please return and visit your fellow author's pieces, commenting if you would: what better gift than to let someone know you're paying attention?

The list: reverse, corner, turn, bottom, peak, edge, limit, choose, bend, close, push, sleep

And the reversal, if you will: do NOT use the words "new," "change" or "direction" (or variants / tenses derived therefrom), because bah humbug.

Thanks for playing, and hope you have a good new year !

~ M

Elbow: This Blue World - Charge, The Takeoff and Landing of Everything

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to The Imaginary Garden...

Greetings to all toads, poets, friends. Welcome, indeed, to our Open Link of the Christmas week. As is our custom, here in the Imaginary Garden, we continue to host our usual prompts and challenges during the holidays. However, we do so in the full realization that many bloggers choose to take a break over the festive season to enjoy time spent with family and friends. For this reason, I will increase the number of posts which appear on the home page, so that you may revisit a previous prompt and link up later if preferred. many thanks to those who are hosting their challenges at this busy time of year.

Today, you may link up a poem of your choice (and the Christmas theme is also completely optional). I can think of no better gift to give long distance than the gift of words, poetry and generous commentary.

Peace on Earth.
Goodwill to all men (and women).

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Take Two and Sing (We); the Weekend Mini-Challenge

Hi Toads.  

It is (supposedly) a holiday time of the year.  I understand this whenever the date flashes up on my computer screen; I have particularly strong evidence when I walk through the streets of New York City (shown here in some pics I took.)

Still, there's a kind of disconnect.  At least for me, and I suspect for many out there.  I just have a very hard time summoning up "holiday spirit."   (I suspect it has something to do with the terrible materialism of it all.)


As a result, I wanted to come up with a prompt that both (i) honors the season; and (ii) honors, or, at least gives a little respect to, that disconnect.

So, here it is.  Think of a song--preferably a song of the season, a Christmas carol, Hanukah or Winter or truly any other song--and pick two consecutive words out of it.  This can be any two words as long as they come one after the another.  They do not have to be words particularly central to the song or the season and certainly your poem does not have to relate to the song or the season. 

Use those two consecutive words as the spring board for your poem.  Ideally, the words should be included (sequentially) in the title or at least the body of your poem.  But, I stress, the poem does not have to be informed by the choice of song.  (Please, however, do tell us what the words are, and what song or carol was used.) 

To make this easier for you in a busy time, I have set forth some two word choices below, but please please please feel free to choose your own.  (For example, I'll likely use a pair not listed below.)

"Let Earth" - (from Joy to the World)

"Front Teeth" - (from All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth)

"The Housetops"  - (from Up on the Housetops)

"All Is"- (from Silent Night)

"God, Rest"-  (from God, Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)

"Following Yonder"- (from We Three Kings)

"Fa La" -  (from Deck the Halls)

"I’m Dreaming" - (from I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas)

"Of Clay"  (from the Dreidel Song)

"Among The"  - Wassail Song

"How A Rose" - (this is a cheat - three words- you can use “ a rose” if you prefer - from Lo, how a rose e’re blooming.)

"The Herald" - (from Hark the Herald Angels Sing)

"Lovelight Gleams" - (From I’ll Be Home for Christmas)

"Better Not" -  (From Santa Claus is Coming to Town)

"He’s Loaded" - (Also from Christmas Song - in that case about Santa and his sleigh)

"Bleak Midwinter" - (From Mid winter.)

"Snows Lay" - (Good King Wenceslaus

"Sing We"  - ( from The Wassail Song)

These are just examples.  Feel free to use them, but feel free to use a pair you come up with on your own.   Above all, feel free.  (Keep in mind that you ABSOLU"TELY should feel free to use traditional word pairs such as “Santa Claus” or “Virgin womb,”  “O Star, “ “Holy Night,”  “the red-nosed,” "figgy pudding" etc.)

And says the lady with the QE-doo--do visit your fellow poets!

Finally, this is Outlawyer who is really Manicddaily and really really Karin Gustafson, wishing you all a safe, healthy and joyous holiday and the best of new years.  As always, many thanks to Kerry and to you all for the many gifts you have and give.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Kerry Says ~ Let's Go Back in Time

Greetings to all toads, followers and friends. For this challenge, I am referencing the short sci-fi movie (1962) La Jetee, by Chris Marker, which gave rise to the 1995 movie, 12 Monkeys. It is 28 minutes in length.

La Jetée (The Jetty) - Chris Marker - Full Movie from Laurent Daedalus on Myspace.

If the player does not work, try this link: La Jetee.

The plot, for those who are unable to watch the full movie, involves scientists, who research time travel, hoping to send test subjects to different time periods "to call past and future to the rescue of the present".

THE CHALLENGE: The theme is time, time-travel, revisiting the past, fast-forwarding to the future .... how you interpret this premise is entirely open. Alternatively, the movie itself, with its black and white scenes and story-telling technique may be all the inspiration you need. This prompt remains top of the page until noon on Saturday, so there is no need to rush the creative process. If you do post early, please return to see what other poets have devised.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden...

This is our occasion to share a poem with a kind and willing audience. As always the rules are simple - there are none... this is simply an invitation to join in by linking up a poem of your choice, and hanging out with us to read and enjoy the gift of words.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

In A Grain of Sand ~ Micro Poetry

To see the world in a grain of sand...
William Blake

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 Poet's Garret, showing a variety of 7 line poems.

The subject matter for your poem is wide open, but bear in mind the 'In a Grain of Sand' 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, December 10, 2015

Transforming with Nature's Wonders

Let’s try something…let’s piece the Classical Elements into our poetry. You can do this in any way that pleases your poetic heart but be sure to include an array of elements.

The classical elements are: fire, air, water and earth and there’re a few others according to differing views – the Tao includes wood and metal to the list, a Babylonia text references sea, earth, sky and wind and, “Aristotle added a fifth element, aether, as the quintessence, reasoning that whereas fire, earth, air, and water were earthly and corruptible, since no changes had been perceived in the heavenly regions, the stars cannot be made out of any of the four elements but must be made of a different, unchangeable, heavenly substance.”

Here’s a piece that I found inspiring about Egypt:

“A Greek text called the Kore Kosmou ("Virgin of the World") ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus (the name given by the Greeks to the Egyptian god Thoth), names the four elements fire, water, air, and earth. As described in this book:

And Isis answer made: Of living things, my son, some are made friends with fire, and some with water, some with air, and some with earth, and some with two or three of these, and some with all. And, on the contrary, again some are made enemies of fire, and some of water, some of earth, and some of air, and some of two of them, and some of three, and some of all. For instance, son, the locust and all flies flee fire; the eagle and the hawk and all high-flying birds flee water; fish, air and earth; the snake avoids the open air. Whereas snakes and all creeping things love earth; all swimming things love water; winged things, air, of which they are the citizens; while those that fly still higher love the fire and have the habitat near it. Not that some of the animals as well do not love fire; for instance salamanders, for they even have their homes in it. It is because one or another of the elements doth form their bodies' outer envelope. Each soul, accordingly, while it is in its body is weighted and constricted by these four.

According to Galen, these elements were used by Hippocrates in describing the human body with an association with the four humours: yellow bile (fire), black bile (earth), blood(air), and phlegm (water).”

Explore and bring us what sparks your muse!

Here’re two added images for inspiration…

(web image sharing

The Four Classical Elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth are a foundational part of the Western worldview and are found in every aspect of Western esotericism including Kabbalah, Astrology, Alchemy, Medicine, and the Tarot.

(wiki image share alike)

Have fun writing a new poem for this challenge and reading the work of others!

This post will be featured till Saturday and Mr.Linky is still active thereafter – please feel free to join in anytime and I will keep my eye out for your poetry.

Thank you, for joining in!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Aaahhhooooooooo! Greetings, puppies!

From the charity video Dogs Sing For a Cure from Ontario Veterinary College

Welcome to The Tuesday Platform! 
Grab that microphone and sing your heart out!
And remember to visit the other rascals who share poems today.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Flash 55 Plus

Greetings, denizens of the Garden, hedgewitch here standing in for Kerry, who has been dragged away by the tedious demands of the real world and nasty things like employment. I will do my best in her place to host this monthly event, where the rules are short and sweet:
Write exactly 55 words--no more, no less--of prose, poetry or microfiction  on the topic of your choice, and link it to this challenge.


Public domain

To make things more interesting, as always there is an optional plus to the prompt for those who want additional challenge or guidance, and for this month of the winter solstice, it comes from the seasonal theme of a traditional English carol called The Holly and The Ivy. (Though this song is about as Christian as you can get, for some reason it always reminds me of Druids.)

So, using the emphasis of the carol on the two plants, and on pairings, in your 55 you must explore, contrast or complement  the idea of two: two colors, two symbols, two plants, two animals, two events, two people--well, you see where I'm going here, two of anything--or you can employ various pairings of elements as the carol does.

I want to emphasize, the Plus! part of the challenge is optional, and your piece does NOT have to be in any way about the holiday or season, but it can be if you wish.

Here is a link to the full text of the carol: The Holly and The Ivy

That's it, toadlings. Have at it, link up the results below, and don't forget to hop by your fellow toads' lilypads. I look forward to seeing double and hearing 'sweet singing in the choir.' And as always, fond memories and gratitude to the G-Man, who hosted this meme for so many years with grace and incomparable humor. He is missed.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Words Count With Mama Zen

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to the Words Count with Mama Zen ekphrasis challenge!  Step right up and let the following vintage photos take you back to the circuses of days gone by. Be delighted!  Be amazed!  Be inspired . . . and write a poem of 60 words or less.


Circus girl smokes while rehearsing her stunts. 
Nina Leen, 1949.
Circus Girl Smokes While Rehearsing Her Stunts; Nina Leen, 1949


fortune teller. early 1870s
Fortune Teller, 1870s

John Gutmann, 1935:
John Gutmann, 1935

circus ~:
Unknown; via pinterest

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to The Tuesday Platform!

Hello and welcome to December! I don't know about you, but I expect that this month will fly by in a whirl of glitter and sugar. But, today gives us a chance to start off reflective. It’s open mic time in the Imaginary Garden. Easy, low-stress, just link up--here we are, your built-in audience.

Please link up a poem of your choice, new or old or whatever you like, and take some time during the week to engage with others who have shared their poems. Hurrah! We look forward to reading and sharing.

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.