Saturday, December 31, 2016

Physics with Björn: Brownian Motion

First I thought about doing a new year prompt, but somehow I think all has been said about last year. Still you are fine to combine my prompt with new year wishes.

As you might know I once read Physics, and I took a PhD many years ago. I have not worked with Physics after that, but I have always had a passion to understand how the world works, and how it connects to philosophy.

For me Physics is always present in my writing, but I have understood that for many of you Physics brings back memories of less joyful moments in school. I would like to start a small series on different phenomena and what it might tell us of the world. I promise, that there will be no equations, no math, just fun. If you like the theme I will continue this prompts with more challenges.

Today let us look into a microscope and consider Brownian Motion, which is the random motion of particles suspended in a fluid that can be observed through a microscope.

When this was first described by Robert Brown in 1827 when looking at pollen suspended in a solution. At that time atoms and molecules was just a wild theory and the movements he observed seemed random and unpredictable. It was not until 1905 when Albert Einstein came up with a comprehensive theory that the reason was collision from the invisible molecules in the fluid, and that the movement could be explained (if not predicted). Therefore it constituted one of the first concrete evidences of the building.blocks of matter.

Isn’t it fascinating how we can observe something for real that is caused by something we can only imagine?. Often I find the world to be random and erratic. Are we bounced around by forces we only can imagine.

Think about concepts like apparent randomness, of motion and of what we cannot see. Maybe you can imagine being puppeteered like pollen in a fluid, or just dance to randomness and see where you end up.

Link up below and share the joy what other read.

And have a happy new year.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Words Count With Mama Zen

For my final Words Count post of 2016, it seems only fitting to feature the Oxford Dictionaries words of the year.  Are you ready?

The Oxford Dictionaries word of the year for 2016 is . . . (drum roll, please) . . .

Post-truth: an adjective relating to circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than emotional appeals.

But wait!  There's more!

The shortlist:

  • Adulting - The practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks
  • Alt-right - An ideological grouping associated with extreme conservative or reactionary viewpoints, characterized by a rejection of mainstream politics and by the use of online media to disseminate deliberately controversial content
  • Brexiteer - A person who is in favour of the UK withdrawing from the European Union
  • Chatbot - A computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the internet
  • Coulrophobia - Extreme or irrational fear of clowns
  • Glass cliff - Used with reference to a situation in which a woman or member of a minority group ascends to a leadership position in challenging circumstances where the risk of failure is high
  • Hygge - A quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being, regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture
  • Latinx - A person of Latin American origin or descent, used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina
    • Woke - Originally in African-American usage meaning alert to injustice in society, especially racism

    Hell of a year, huh?  Let's close it out with a poem (how about 70 words or less) using at least one of the words of the year.  Have fun!  After all, it's almost over!

    Tuesday, December 27, 2016

    The Tuesday Platform

    Happy New Year, Toads! I thought perhaps it is okay to extend the holiday celebration a bit longer by sharing a classic. Perhaps some of you are not amongst the 35M people who have already watched this video from The Pogues and the late, great Kirsty MacColl. *Smile*

    Anyway, I am sending love to all of you as 2016 comes to a close. Thank you for sharing your talent, creativity, and heart in this space. Please share again today, something new or something old, and raise a cheer to the wonder that is the Imaginary Garden. Here’s to 2017--may the collective force of poetry prevail. 

    Share * Read * Comment * Enjoy 

    Saturday, December 24, 2016

    Fashion me your words ~ Collaborating For Christmas

    animated gif from Zimbio

    It was the day before Christmas, he was hungry, mighty hungry,
    He stalked the pantry, the cupboards were empty,
    He didn't want to sleep, he was too hungry for that
    Guess what, no, not guest what? Guess what???

    The last festival he had eaten was, Halloween
    No, not the last time he had eaten, the last festival!!!

    For he was, The Eater Of Great Joy
    But that, could never satisfy him.
    Shudder, shudder!!!

    He had heard about Santa.
    He had heard about A Star.
    COLLABORATING FOR CHRISTMAS © gillena cox 2016

    Hi Toads, Season's Greetings.

    Your challenge, on this eve of Christmas, is a collaboration. I have set the pace, be it chapter or verse, you continue in the style and number of words you wish ( yes!!! number of words you wish)

    If you are adding from my piece, your post must start with my piece and continue into your piece.

    And my generous spirit for the season, adds another bonus option.
    You can continue from the piece i have given OR you may read someone else's which consist of [what i gave plus their add on] and, then you add to that.

    Please remember, to credit persons, for any part thereof, their work, appearing in your post

    Yes toads we are Collaborating for Christmas; Fashion me your words and while you're at it, have lots of fun.


    whether you observe or not, Be Blessed for Christmas, have a wonderful one.


    Thursday, December 22, 2016

    A Skyflower Friday: Untitled

    Kerry here, standing in for Shay, with a Fireblossom Friday flavoured challenge.

    Untitled (Perfect Lovers)
    Felix Gonzalez-Torres ~ 1990
    Fair Use Principles

    We take our inspiration today from Cuban-born American sculptor, photographer, and conceptual artist, Felix Gonzalez-Torres known for work in a variety of media that addresses issues of identity, desire, originality, loss, the metaphor of journey, and the private versus the public domain. Like many artists of the 1980s, Gonzalez-Torres used the postmodern strategy of appropriating ready-made motifs and objects to create his art, thereby challenging the idea of the unique art object that was so much a hallmark of Modernism. (source)

    His Untitled (Perfect Lovers) piece shown above is described thus: “These two identical, adjacent, battery-operated clocks were initially set to the same time, but, with time, they will inevitably fall out of sync.”

    For this challenge, I would like you to visit his page on and view the selection of sculptures on display there. You will notice that all pieces are "Untitled" with a description placed in brackets. Write a new poem, with the same method of title. The content and style of the poem is open, but let us take our cue from "issues of identity, desire, originality, loss, the metaphor of journey"
    The Christmas theme is banned. (Bah, Humbug!).

    Tuesday, December 20, 2016

    The Tuesday Platform

    Welcome to The Imaginary Garden...

    It seems strange to be in the middle of December, with the holidays looming. It seems to me to be a time for introspection before the start of a new year, but also a time of reconnection. So I make this call to all our poets, especially those who have fallen silent for reasons of their own (and I count myself as one), to share a poem, old or new, and spend some time with old friends.

    Saturday, December 17, 2016

    The Final Twilight ~ Micro Poetry

    Greetings to all!
    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 has been to write a poem in no more than 10 lines but since it is December, and Christmas is approaching, I am feeling generous and will extend the number of lines to 25. Choose your own form or write in free verse, if preferred.

    A Wolf ~ Jorge Luis Borges
    Poetry Foundation

    This weekend, our frame of reference is 'The Final Twilight', quoted from Jorge Luis Borges. Follow this link to Poetry Foundation which offers insight into Borges' influence and where more of his work is available to read. 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 15, 2016

    Stuff and Nonsense

    Given the mood in my country over the last month, I wanted to steer today’s prompt in a more lighthearted direction. Art doesn’t have to be serious to be meaningful. Sometimes a smile or even a full belly laugh can be more healing than somber contemplation.

    I’ve created three nonsense words I would like you to incorporate in your poem: 
    snarfdiffanous, rhambangle and lalamilty. 

    If none of these words tickle your muse I invite you to make up a nonsense word of your own. The goal is to use them to create something that feels innocent or child-like. And if you can be a bit silly or funny, it’s a bonus.

    Remember, this must be a new poem created for this prompt. Do be sure to visit your fellow poets. I look forward to reading all of your poems.

    A little ditty from the master of made up nonsense 
    to get things going

    Tuesday, December 13, 2016

    The Tuesday Platform

    Romare Bearden, Morning of Red Bird, 1975
    Welcome to the Tuesday Platform, your unprompted free-range day for sharing poems in the Imaginary Garden. Please link up a poem, old or new, and spend some time this week visiting the offerings of our fellow writers. We look forward to reading your work!

    Share * Read * Comment * Enjoy

    Saturday, December 10, 2016

    Snow Birthed Tales (Poetry and Flash Fiction with Magaly)

     “Snow Birthed Tales”, by Jenny Leslie
    (the artist has allowed us to use her photo on our personal blogs,
    please link it to her Instagram account)

    Greetings, dear Toads. I hope you are having a magnificent week; if not, then do your best to grab the weekend by the short hairs (and the long ones) and make it as fantastic as you need it to be.

    As those of you who read me already know, I’m a lover of poetry and fiction. For this reason, I’m delighted to present the first in a series of Poetry and Flash Fiction prompts.

    Using Jenny Leslie’s photo as inspiration, craft a new poem or story, while keeping in mind the following guidelines:

    If you choose Poetry
    - please write 13 lines or fewer
    - use one (or all) of these words: snow, cabin, ice

    If you choose Flash Fiction
    - please write 313 words or fewer
    - set your story inside the cabin

    Feed the direct link to your entry to Mr. Linky. Visit other Toads (insightful comments nourish the muse, really). Have a blast.

    Thursday, December 8, 2016

    Bits Of Inspiration ~ Shoes

    Hello poets! It is chilly as I sit at my computer contemplating shoes. Yes, shoes. I think I inherited my mother's passion for them. We lived in a small house with tiny closets, but my mom managed to find all sorts of creative ways to make room for her shoes.

    By Cornelius Eady

    My friends, 
    As it has been proven in the laboratory,   
    An empty pair of dance shoes 
    Will sit on the floor like a wart 
    Until it is given a reason to move. 

    There are many reasons why we choose our shoes, athletics, dress, work, vanity. I bet if you looked at your collection of shoes you could remember where and why you bought each pair. 

    By Charles Simic 

    Shoes, secret face of my inner life:   
    Two gaping toothless mouths, 
    Two partly decomposed animal skins   
    Smelling of mice nests. 

    My brother and sister who died at birth   
    Continuing their existence in you, 
    Guiding my life 
    Toward their incomprehensible innocence. 

    Today's challenge is to write about shoes. It could be a favorite pair, hated pair, your father's shoes, mother's shoes. Just go wherever your shoes take you. 
    As always make your poem a new one, post it on Mr. Linky, and read the work of your fellow poets.

    Tuesday, December 6, 2016

    The Tuesday Platform

    Welcome to the Imaginary Garden...

    Not an owl on the bough after all;
    But a patch of grey light forcing
    Through fir. A light-bird.
    A bird-light. Returning phantom.
    Or poem to my shortening sight.
    -John Fowles-

    Greetings to all poets and friends! I recently caught up on my John Fowles reading, with The French Lieutenant's Woman, a superb example of post-modernism at its most existential. Fowles is little known as a poet, with many of his pieces published posthumously. Read more on Poetry Foundation.

    Once again, the floor is open to those who wish to share a poem of their choice.


    Saturday, December 3, 2016

    Flash 55 PLUS!

    Greetings to all poets and friends.
    It is time for the 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.



    For the OPTIONAL EXTRA part of this challenge, I invite you to watch the short clip from the movie, Samsara, conceived and directed by Ron Fricke. This clip features performance artist, Olivier de Sagazan. Prepare yourself for something a little disturbing ...
    Saṃsāra is a Sanskrit word that means "wandering" or "world", with the connotation of cyclic, circuitous change.

    Feel free to post more than one 55-word piece to this prompt, which will remain first on the Home Page until Tuesday morning. Please return to enjoy the poetry of fellow poets.

    Thursday, December 1, 2016

    Out of Standard - Future/Tense

    Gates of St. Louis Cemetery No.1 - Image copyrighted, Isadora Gruye Photography.

    Greetings Garden Dwellers and welcome to the Out of Standard, where I set before you a challenge to defy the conventions of a particular theme and find new places in the everyday. 

    On November 8th, the next President of the United States was selected by the electoral college. This choice has sparked uncertainty in many of us. And look, many of us have feelings about this. We are future/tense. Bringing me to today’s prompt theme:


    That’s it. You get to interpret and write to this theme any way you choose. You don’t have to make this about politics, if you’re tuckered out on the topic. Or you can make it all about politics if post election anxiety has got a hold of your pen.

    The platform is yours, the mic is warm.

    So go now, my muddy buddies, and bring us back something shiny and new.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2016

    The Tuesday Platform

    We'll burn all of our poems
    Add to God's debris
    We'll pray to all of our saints
    Icons of mystery
    We'll tramp through the mire
    When our souls feel dead
    With laughter we'll inspire
    Then back to life again 

    -- Patti Smith, from “April Fool” 

    On this and every Tuesday in the Imaginary Garden, the rules are simple: Share a poem with us, and visit others during the week. Everyone is welcome!

    Saturday, November 26, 2016

    Weekend Mini Challenge: Cooking up a storm

    Welcome to the Weekend Mini Challenge!
    I love the poetry of Moniza Alvi, a contemporary poet who was born in Lahore, Pakistan and moved to England when she was a few months old. Most of her poems are about 'growing up... and feeling half-Pakistani... on the edge of things’, a topic she explored in her first, full-length collection, The Country at My Shoulder, which earned her a place on the New Generation Poets list in 1994. Since then she has published seven collections for which she has been nominated for several prizes.
    Alvi' writes about place and identity, duality, difference, displacement, borders and edges, as well as possibility, worldliness and making connections. A wonderful example of this is her colourfully evocative poem ‘Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan’ which you can read via the following link:

    The poem with which I hope to inspire you is ‘Indian Cooking’:

    The bottom of the pan was a palette –
    paprika, cayenne, dhania
    haldi, heaped like powder-paints.

    Melted ghee made lakes, golden rivers.
    The keema frying, my mother waited
    for the fat to bubble to the surface.

    Friends brought silver-leaf.
    I dropped it on khir –
    special rice pudding for parties.

    I tasted the landscape, customs
    of my father’s country –
    its fever on biting a chilli.

    Image from Shutterstock

    I would like you to write a poem in the same format, four tercets, about cooking: it can be someone else doing the cooking, you cooking alone or together with a loved one; it can be sweet or sour, spicy or bland, a special or an everyday meal. All I ask is that it appeals to the senses and is related to your life or culture in some way.
    Link up your poem below and enjoy the colourful and delicious cookery of other toads!

    Thursday, November 24, 2016

    Artistic Interpretations with Margaret - Carol Law Conklin Batik Artist

    Moonlight Over Spring Art Fabric

    Carol Law Conklin is a Batik Artist.  I have admired (and purchased) her creations and am in awe of her talent.  

    Due to it being Thanksgiving in the USA, if we get low turnout I will repost this challenge the next time Artistic Interpretations comes around again.

    From her website "Amity Farm Batik" she states "Batik, an ancient method of painting on fabric with wax and dyes, is my medium.  Nature, the seasons, farms and animals - especially horses - are my favorite themes.  The horse expresses so much flowing movement, dynamic tension, the striving of life.  Once the wax is heated it never stops flowing as it is applied with brushes to the fabric and also with the ancient tjanting tool (a copper or brass bowl with spout) that applies lines.  

    I enjoy the sensuous flow of the wax, which has a will of its own, as it spreads into the cloth.  The beeswax and paraffin has special line effects and crackling qualities.  I am always excited by the magic of the wax and dyes when I iron the wax from the fabric."

    She has an Etsy shop (which I am addicted) and she sells these and many more images than the sampling I have here in various forms and price tags.  Scarves, cutting boards, trivets, mouse pads, puzzles, fabric swatches, pillows, cards, prints, and her original (gorgeous) batiks.   

    Her "Video Batik Tutorials" may be of interest as well - I know I find them fascinating.  They are (1) Applying the Wax; (2) Dye Baths; (3) Painting dye on the batik; (4) Ironing the Wax Out.

    She is on Facebook and Instagram and can also be found on Fine Art America and Flickr.  I honestly cannot stress enough how enjoyable it is to peruse these websites - I got lost in them for over an hour ... 

    Since Carol Law Conklin has been so gracious to allow us the use of the images on this page for this challenge, I am asking everyone to please link her website, Amity Farm Batik (and obviously her name) - along with your poem which is to be linked to Mr. Linky below.

    I would LOVE for an original poem or a greatly re-vised older one.  I highly encourage using more  than one of these beautiful creations.  Please visit the other poets and enjoy!  I look forward to your Artistic Interpretations.

    I apologize if I have offered far to many images to consider - I wanted to add 10 more!

    Permission has been given for these images to be used in association ONLY WITH THIS CHALLENGE at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.  

    Click on each image to enlarge.

    Unicorn & Phoenix Batik Print

    Garden in Moonlight - Original Batik/Wax Painting

    Crows Alone Batik fabric panel 

    Horses Frolic on a Snowy Starry Night Silky Scarf

    Mystical Garden Moon Mousepad

    Lothlorien Enchanted Land Batik Print

    Magical Birds - Art - Original Batik Painting

    River Sunrise - Lothlorien - Large Giclee Print

    Unicorn in Woods w/ Fox & Bird Swatch from
    original batik "Last Unicorn"
    Unicorns Take Castle Ceramic Tile Trivet

    Beaked Dragon Flies Above the Sea Mirror Image Giclee Print

    Hills Alive with Llamas - Fabric swatch
    from original batik (I almost purchased these as
    my Christmas cards - but went with her
    "Horses Trot to the Christmas Tree" 

    Summer North Wind - Cutting Boards Tempered Glass

    Tuesday, November 22, 2016

    The Tuesday Platform

    Welcome to The Imaginary Garden...

    Greetings, and a very Happy Thanksgiving to those who will be celebrating this week. I am thankful to be able to come to this little place we call our own each week, to share in the gift of words, ideas and friendships across the bounds of time and space. Please link up a poem of your choice and keep the flame alive.

    Saturday, November 19, 2016

    The Cross-roads ~ Micro Poetry

    Greetings to all!
    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). Choose your own form or write in free verse, if preferred.

    The Mesh
    Kwesi Brew

    This weekend, our frame of reference is 'The Cross-roads' quoted from Kwesi Brew's poem, The Mesh. Follow THIS LINK to where more of his work is available to read. 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 17, 2016

    Music With Meow

    RUN THE JEWELS is New York City-based rapper/producer El-P and Atlanta-based rapper Killer Mike. I know some friends will be inspired by this extreme meowyness. Lyrics NSFW.

    For those who are interested in less cat-centric, strong and timely social commentary, try these:

    (Released November 9, 2016 with this note "for our friends. for our family. for everyone who is hurting or scared right now. here is a song we wrote months ago. we werent planning on releasing it yet but… well it feels right, now. it's about fear and it's about love and it's about wanting more for all of us. it's called 2100. we hope it finds you well. love, jaime and mike")

    Close Your Eyes (And Count To F**k) 
    Featuring Zack de la Rocha (of Rage Against the Machine)


    Tuesday, November 15, 2016

    The Tuesday Platform

    Welcome to the Tuesday Platform, the weekly open link for sharing poems in the Imaginary Garden. Many of us are struggling with darkness; let us endeavor to keep a light ablaze in the Garden. Please link up a poem, old or new, and spend some time this week visiting the offerings of our fellow writers and friends. 

    Share * Read * Comment * Enjoy

    Saturday, November 12, 2016

    Sunday Mini-Challenge: Still Points

    One of the greatest gifts of poetry is that it can find what we most need and desire and savor. And In times of turmoil within and without, the carved language of poetry can provide a rare bower of grace and wonder. When all is seemingly lost—and, strangely, especially, sometimes only then—a singing heart can find its grail.

    That’s what T.S. Eliot sought in Four Quartets, composed in the darkest hours of the German bombardment of London during the Second World War. Amid the ash and debris of a falling world he found “the light is still / at the still point of the turning world.” Still points are what we need today, so that is the theme of this week’s mini-challenge.

    Wendell Berry found such solace in “The Peace of Wild Things”:

    When despair grows in me
    and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
    in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
    I go and lie down where the wood drake
    rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
    I come into the peace of wild things
    who do not tax their lives with forethought
    of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
    And I feel above me the day-blind stars
    waiting for their light. For a time
    I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

    Mary Oliver found rapture in that stillness in  “Morning At Great Pond”:

    ... knee-deep
    in the purple shallows
    a deer drinking;
    as she turns
    the silver water
    crushes like silk,
    shaking the sky,
    and you’re healed then
    from the night, your heart
    wants more, you’re ready
    to rise and look!
    to hurry everywhere!
    to believe in everything.

    And in “Being Saved,” William Stafford says we can find stillness anywhere—country of city, suburbia or wilderness:

    We have all we need, some kind of sky and maybe
    a piece of river. It doesn’t take much more
    if your ghost remembers the rest, how Aunt Flavia
    called the cows in the evening, and there wasn’t
    anything coming down the road except a Ford
    now and then, or a wagon with a lantern.

    Your could smell a little hay just to remind
    the wind that sunlight would come back, and that
    Heaven waited somewhere even if you couldn’t see it.
    I don’t care now if the world goes backward—
    we already had our show before the tornado came,
    and somehow I feel in my hand all we ever held,
    a ticket, a compass, a piece of iron,
    our kind of pardon.

    For this challenge, find your still place in a poem. It can be new or something that has long resonated in you—whatever makes offers the most grace to our lily pond. Or maybe it’s a favorite poem by another author.

    Whatever, wherever you find it, then bring that stillness here.

    Let’s turn this online little pond a resounding chapel of stillness.

    — Brendan