Greetings, Toads! Can you feel the cruellest month
slipping away… as May slides into her rightful place? I’m sure you can—the seasons
have a magic way of writing their arrival into our bones. I hope the month that’s
about to end was enriched by poetry and living. On the 30th day
of April poetry at The Garden, I wish for us to open our hearts to May.
Prompt: write a new poem inspired by the Maypole.
“A maypole is a tall wooden pole erected as a part of
various… folk festivals, around which a maypole dance often takes place.” Cultures from all over the world dance around the Maypole for
different reasons. I, for instance, do it to celebrate romantic love that heats
the flesh, warms the soul, and fills the soil with Nature’s need to bloom.
We have now reached almost to the end of our poetic endeavour to write one poem per day. At this point I have the choice of letting you having something really simple, or maybe the last challenge that makes the total challenge even harder…
Kerry asked me to go easy on this, and then I asked myself what’s easy. Some of you prefer a blank canvas, where other wants restrictions. Some love forms other hates it.
So now here is my idea that should be possible for all. I call it Instapoetry from that camera that has now been replaced by phones and digital cameras. Here is the process.
Find your camera or phone.
Go to the closest window
Take a snapshot and process it as you like.
Now look carefully on your photograph and jot down a few words, a story or maybe just the colors of your image. Are there strangers in your image, try to feel what they might be thinking. If you are on instagram it would be fun to present the poem there as well. In that case tag it with Instapoetry. Inclusion of your picture is fun, but if you feel like not doing it, that's cool with me.
Write a poem using no more than 100 words. Inclusion of your picture is fun, but if you feel like not doing it, that's cool with me.
Link up your poem below, and have fun reading what happens around the world through the eyes of poets.
My name is Kelli, and blah, blah, blah, boring, boring, boring.
Lately, I've been working on some projects that require a bio. You know, "please include a short biographical statement." Don't you hate those? Wouldn't you, just once, like to tell who you REALLY are? Well, here's your chance. Give me your bio . . . the real story . . . in 50 words or less.
Hello fellow Toads! I am pleased to be able to make my
prompt debut today on my birthday. I figured my first prompt should do double
duty; it should introduce me a bit as well as give a nudge to your muse. So I
decided to riff off of something near and dear to me, Japanese tea ceremony.
I’ve been fascinated with Japanese culture for much of my life, so when the
opportunity presented itself to study tea ceremony in depth I jumped at it.
The founder of the big three schools of tea, Sen No Rikyu
was a poet as well as a tea aficionado. He wrote 100 small poems about the
practice of tea. Besides for being quite helpful to aspiring chajin (literally
“tea people” – those who are serious in their studies of tea), I’ve found they
can be quite inspiring outside the tearoom as well. Today I’ve chosen 7 of them
to serve as your inspiration. Create a poem based on any one of these for
Once a flower’s season has passed, it should not
be brought in from another location for display in the tearoom.
In your temae (specific form of making tea) if
you only concentrate on giving a strong performance, then this “strength” is
likely to strike the guests as weakness or a lack of dignity, or else generates
a mood of oppression.
If you make tea for people returning from a
flower viewing, displaying a painting of flowers or birds, or a flower
arrangement in the tearoom is inappropriate.
When you serve tea to your guests, you should
simply serve tea from your heart, and think about nothing more.
The best way to remember how to make good koicha
is to simply make it frequently. Experience is the key.
The questions of how to begin and what to think
are matters for one’s own heart to resolve. Of oneself, for oneself – you must
be your own teacher.
See with your eyes! Listen with your ears! And
if you wish to smell the fragrance, press for an explanation of every
unresolved matter until your understanding is complete.
As per usual, this ought to be a new poem you’ve written. And
remember to show your fellow toads some love! At the beginning of tea lessons,
there’s a part where all the students encourage each other to do their best;
let’s remember to cheer each other’s poetic endeavors on by visiting and commenting
on their work.
Welcome to the Imaginary Garden... Today, it is raining in purple.
Although Tuesdays are unprompted, open links, the option is given in April to write to a theme. There can be no other than the life, music, poetry of Prince, who died suddenly on Thursday, April 21 (as reported in the New York Times (online). As James Corden said, in his tribute to Prince on The Late Late Show (clip below) "What a thing to have been alive when Prince was making music. We are all incredibly lucky."
If you have been moved to express your thoughts on his tragic passing, please feel free to share it with us today. Of course, any and all poetry is welcomed on this platform, so do not hesitate to link up a poem of your choice.
We are poets. There are many reasons we began and continue to write poetry. In this month of poetry many of us have taken on the challenge to write 30 poems in 30 days or to at least reach deep into our creativity and produce more poems than our norm. It has been as exhausting as it has been rewarding. For me it is the only marathon I have or will ever run. When trying to find something to inspire words, poetry on this 25th day, I found the this trailer for a British documentary titled, We Are Poets.
Where I Am From by George Ella Lyon
I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush
the Dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.
George Ella Lyon is Kentucky's 2015-2016 poet laureate.
Today's challenge is to write about ~ Where do I come from? You can write about ancestry, place, environment, time. event...endless possibilities. Just pick a place in the story of you and take us there. Please share your poem on Mr. Linky and visit your fellow poets to read their work.
Hello toads, today I want to connect back to Kerry’s prompt on compound nouns and a comment made by Hedge where she said she often created new ones by herself. So do I sometimes, and it's called a kenning.
This made me think of a prompt I ran a couple of years ago on kennings. According to wikipedia kenning is:
So as a poetic device this is a complex word (usually a noun) that is used as trope or brief metaphor for poetic effects. This can be for a number of reasons: the imagery itself, the meter or the rhyme, to create a twist. Basically it’s a useful tool that we can add to our toolbox. Make your metaphors short and bouncy,
In English we usually use a hyphen between the words: (for instance whale-road for the sea) but in Germanic language the hyphen often disappears and the words are written together. Actually many existing compound nouns have been been created as a kenning, and at least in Scandinavian languages it is the alive to create new words. If you like to create compound verbs the same way I think it can be even more fun.
I wrote a poem for toads a long time ago for women’s day but I linked up late so very few of you read it I believe.
Unfortunately not like every day
and the meal-creator
Today it's women's day,
like every day should be
In this case I have used several different word combinations that I thought would describe a woman, and thereafter I made a list poem. That’s one way. You are free to use any word or concept and create as many kennings as you like.
The life-cycle of kennings follow the same concept as a metaphor. First a poet create his unique one, then it might become a cliche and finally it might be part of our vocabulary or toolbox of idioms.
So your challenge today.
Create a couple of new compound nouns. let them be memorable by funny or lyrical, maybe even cryptic.
Use these new compound nouns to create a poem on any topic you like. You might even want to write it on a challenge you have missed.
Link up your new poem (or poems), have fun and read what other poets might have done.
It is 400 years ago to the day that William Shakespeare died (and if legend is true, 452 since he was born). It would be remiss of this community of poets to allow the day to slip by without at least a nod in the direction of the progenitor of modern English literature.
The Daily Mail
I read an interesting article recently which brought home how valuable a contribution Shakespeare made to the archives of the world. A set of four extremely rare folios will be sold at auction in May, and are expected to fetch £ 1.3 million. The full article can be read at The Daily Mail UK.
Detail of Visscher's Panorama of London
showing the Globe Theatre (1616)
Another example of historical commemoration this year, is that of artist Robin Reynolds' redrawing of the 1616 Visscher engraving, which details the city of London from Whitehall to St Katharine’s Dock and has been described as one of the most 'recognisable and historic' images of London. Read more HERE. Within Reynold's view of current day London, taken from the same vantage point as the original, he has embedded 41 hidden references to the works of Shakespeare. If you enjoy searching for hidden objects, and have some time to spare, I would recommend the challenge of looking for each one at Visscher Redrawn: Hunt the Shakespeare.
I do not want this prompt to be another tried and tested Shakespeare bonanza. Rather, I would encourage you to approach the topic of "things Shakespearean" in a different way. Our world is a very different place to the one he inhabited, and many would question the relevance of Shakespeare's work today. If you could save only one piece of his body of work - one name, one line, one title, one sonnet, one play - which would it be?
This is one suggestion to get the ideas flowing. I am setting no strict parameters, but ask that some reference be made to the Bard, in his honour on this particular day.
Earth Day started as an environmental awareness event in the United States in 1970. Now celebrated worldwide, events are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection; coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year. The theme for 2016 is "Trees for the earth"
Today April 22nd is Earth day. So, lets us celebrate the stewardship our planet : FASHION ME YOUR WORDS ~ so i can dance
Additionally while its easy and its okay to get caught up in the rhythms, Please limit your words to 100 inclusive of the title
SO I CAN DANCE
fashion me a coat of song
let’s dance to the beat of weekend’s light
of weekend’s light
[this poem continues at my blog - 'verses']
gillena cox 2016
That's it Toads. Lets celebrate. FASHION ME YOUR WORDS ~ so i can dance. Happy Earth Day
Toads are small, though they may have big ideas. Elephants, on the other hand, are enormous, and to me, pretty fascinating. Fireblossom here with another poetry idea for you.
Today let's try writing something on the theme of elephants. There are two kinds of elephants that I'm aware of: the Indian and the African. I tell them apart by the ears--the African's are much larger--but I'm told that they differ in size and temperament as well, the Indian being less aggressive.
Elephants live in family groups. Females stay together for life, with their mother, aunts, sisters, and so on. Males, or bulls, strike out on their own eventually, but do spend many years with the herd they are born into, first.
Elephants really do have an amazing memory, and the matriarch leads the group to find food, water, and safety. An elephant pregnancy lasts nearly two years! And if the calf is female, they will stay together in the herd until one of them dies. Elephants grieve for each other when one dies, and they seem to have mourning rituals. Although it is arguable what exactly is going on, elephants have been taught to paint (!).
Write something with an elephant at its heart.
Write about elephants and family.
Write something fantastical about an elephant, that would only happen in imagination.
Write something about the majesty and intelligence of elephants, or their loyalty or courage.
Write about the deep emotional lives of elephants.
Write anything, as long as it is new for this prompt, and has an elephant or elephants as an important focus of the poem. Then link up, and have fun.
“…witches are quite careful about what they say. You can
never be sure what the words are going to do when they’re out of earshot.” ~
My grandmother mistrusted impulsive wishing and promises given without thought.
“You just never know,” she used to tell me. “Your wish for rain, so that the
nurse can’t make it here to give you a shot, might drown someone’s crops
and starve a whole family to death.”
So, my dearest Toads, today I’m wishing for poetry that
explores Terry Pratchett’s quote and my grandmother’s (mildly paranoid) wisdom.
Prompt: Write a new poem that illustrates what might happen when a
good wish renders a not so good outcome.
Please, feed Mr. Linky (below) with the direct link to your
Visit other Toads. Wish responsibly. And don’t forget to grin.
to the Tuesday Platform, mid-April edition! Poetry Month has been so
inspiring, thus far, don’t you agree? Today is your free-range day of
the week, your chance to link up a poem not written for a prompt (do we
have any of those this month?!) or to share any poem you like, old or
new. We want to read it!
Extra Added Non-Compulsory Bonus: This morning a sign on the highway implored drivers to
PLEASE DON’T LITTAH! KEEP MASS CLEAN!
Makes me smile. Sometimes those clever highway sign people say USE YOUR BLINKAHS because, well, you know. Where I live in western MA, the Boston accent is not quite so prevalent and despite living here for almost 20 years, I still find the whole thing charming. And I grew up near Pittsburgh, PA where people talk funny too. Yinz guys know what I mean?
So, if you need inspiration today (and again it’s optional as today is the OPEN platform), feel free to write a poem containing some kind of local vernacular, slang, or pronunciation. Yinz guys have fun!
This was a
hugely inspirational poem for me when I first read it back in 1995, as revelatory as
Rilke’s “you must change your life” in “Archaic Bust of Apollo” (which Karin so wonderfully engaged with in her In
The Remains of This Month challenge).The unexpected in Gilbert's poem is in the word “apparent” -- the surprise of shining the
wrong light and finding the same thing. Harm and boon in the meetings: the
revelation changes not only the poetry but the poetic.
I read Thomas Pynchon before Ranier Maria Rilke; Gravity’s Rainbow before New
Poems. Pynchon’s grand novel of the dead got me through a long hiatus in
the underworld; Robert Bly's hamhanded translation of Rilke's "Archaic Torso of Apollo" appeared before my eyes when I was first sobering up.
A few years
later when I read Rilke’s Duino Elegies and the Sonnets to Orpheus (in Stephen
Mitchell’s much more supple translation) I found both Pynchon’s deepest
inspiration for Gravity’s Rainbow and
what Gilbert would discover in “Harm and
Boon In the Meetings”:
… But if the endlessly dead awakened a symbol in us,
perhaps they would point to the catkins hanging from the bare
branches of the hazel-trees, or
would evoke the raindrops that fall onto the dark earth in
And we, who have always
of happiness rising, would feel
the emotion that almost overwhelms
when a happy thing falls.
There is a strange merriment in Russian ICBMs falling toward the roof of the Orpheus
Theater in LA at the end of Pynchon’s 1974 novel; and there’s a surprising
contour to the heart which can only be found by finding love suddenly and then
losing it slowly—lessons Jack Gilbert learned when his second wife died of
The only way we can discover those things is by turning prior things
For poets, this means a willingness to let surprise compromise our
work. You never know what you’ll find looking at things the other way. A useful tool in vatic box is
the trope. The critic Richard Poirier loved Emerson for his ability to
challenge established notions with the radical view through his tropes:
The turning or troping of words is in itself an act of power over
meanings already in place; it distorts "verbal solutions," which are
thus shown not to be solutions at all. In that sense one could argue ... that a
turn or a trope is in itself a "verbal solution." It promises after
all to save us from being caught or fixed in a meaning or in that state of
conformity which Emerson famously loathed. (Emersonian
A examples from Emerson show
how tropes discover new meanings:
A religious poet once told me that he admired his poems, not because he
wrote them, but because he did not. (“Character”)
Wisdom consists in keeping the soul liquid. There must be the Abyss, Nyx,
and Chaos, out of which all things come, and they must never be far off. Cut
off the connection between any of your works and this dread origin, and the
work is shallow and unsatisfying. (Journal, 1942)
Precisely in proportion to the depth of mind from which it issued, so
high does it soar, so long does it sing. (“The American Scholar”)
something new by revisiting a favorite theme of yours from a different perspective.
Maybe a story told in reverse has a different meaning than the gospel version.
Maybe a favored poet has too great of an influence, and ripping
off the mask means writing on rails far away from the grooved track in your ear.
Maybe the heart’s true depth can only be found in grief—or maybe there's a room after grief where the dust of
everything else allows breath to become air in heart everywhere. Who knows?
Whatever the case, find a new way to write about something—in
conceit or stylistics or mood or person or persona. Flip the mask around and
upside and down and try talking of the gods the other way.
Surprise us, but more importantly surprise yourself. You never know when you
will desperately need to change your life next, and having the poetic chops to
do so may get the work off on the right foot.
Or maybe there’s a poem about the wrong-headedness of all poetry …
Chop chop! Git outta here! There’s work to do, and more work
reading through all the new worlds we’ll find here! Last one in the pond's a rubber duck!
Greetings from the land of exile, toads and April poetry
participants, hedgewitch here. I am currently engaged in some issues that are keeping me from
writing regularly, so this year I am not doing a poem a day during this
month. However, I am popping in today to
hopefully give some inspiration to those who are. As always, feel free to scroll down to the section "Particulars of The Challenge" at the bottom if you find my tendency to babble on about things is getting too overwhelming.
Today on the third Sunday of April, I'd like you to
consider the possibilities of the number three.
There are all kinds of literary references to this potent number,
fromthe three-part riddle of the sphinx to Shakespeare'sthree weird sisters, to trilogies like Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.
There are also plenty of examples of the number three in myth and religions: the Three Norns who care for the World Tree and weave the tapestry of men's fates, The Three Graces, the Christian Holy
Trinity as well as various other triune deities and Triple Goddesses.
Norns Weaving, illus. by Arthur Rackham
Detail, Three Graces, from Primavera by Sandro Botticelli
One could also explore the significance of the number three in the Tarot or numerology.
3 of Swords, 1919 Rider-Waite Tarot deck
Particulars of the Challenge:
The idea of three can appear in any form and in any association in your poem: three objects, as in the floating heads shown in the painting by Odilon Redon below, three places, events, people, states of mind, directions, colors, or whatever, as long as you incorporate the number as a meaningful element of your piece.
The Sleep of Caliban, by Odilon Redon
Alternatively, for those who like to work in that style, you could also employ one of the many poetic forms which utilize the concept of three--like the tercet, the triolet, the terza rima, or perhaps the sevenling, which
uses groups of three in specific relationships. Kerry has also done a mini-challenge which contains more information about three line forms.
However you want to explore poetry to the third power,
please feel free to do so. Then link up
below and give your fellow participants some visiting and commenting love.
All images here are in the public domain, so feel free to borrow them if you'd like, with proper attribution.
Above is a fragment of a Buddhist sculpture, which I post thinking of one of my favorite poems in the world, also about the fragment of a sculpture (but a Greek one.) That poem is Rainer Maria Rilke’s Archaic Torso of Apollo (translated by Stephen Mitchell). In the poem, Rilke describes how the remains of the statue embodiy all the bits that are missing--the head, the eyes, the curls, the stare. The last line of the poem - “you must change your life” - somehow encapsulates the integrity of the broken statue; and to me, urges change both because of the example of some high standard of classical beauty, but also because of a realization of the ephemeral quality of time. (PS - I don’t mean to oversimplify the poem here, as honestly, I think it says a whole bunch of things.)
Whenever one visits a museum, and especially if one is interested in art of other times, one sees many pieces that are the remains of themselves--fragments of sculptures or vases or mosaics. This word “remains” has many connotations in English--the remains of a sculpture, the remains of a person, the remains of the day, the remains of a relationship, even just the remains of a meal (as in, leftovers!)
I ask you on this 16th day of this crazy month of April to write something that stems from this word--remains, remaining, remainder-- and I post pictures of sculptures I have taken or pieces that seem to me to be remains of some kind. (Feel free to do an ekphrastic poem and certainly to use your own pictures.)
PLEASE view this prompt as widely as possible. You do not have to use the word "remain" or "remains" in your poem. You can write directly of something related to remains (or one of these pics). But I am perfectly happy if you write about gas mains! Just use the prompt and a picture (if you like) as something to jump off of.
And have a good time! Visit your friends too, if you want to remain friends! (Please note that I will be traveling today and attending a sad family event so may be delayed in commenting.)
Also, I'm sorry not to identify the pics better--they were all taken by me, some at the Met Museum, and I don't have very good notes of them. (If there's one you particularly like, I'll try to figure it out.) Some, of course, were not taken at the Museum. One is from the 9/11 Memorial in downtown NYC,
Finally, thanks to Kerry for arranging this crazy month, and for all the support of those participating and not!