Saturday, July 30, 2016

Because It Is My Heart ~ Micro Poetry

From The Black Riders and Other Lines by Stephen Crane

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.

Today, our frame of reference is 'because it is my heart' quoted from Crane's poetic work entitled, The Black Riders and Other Lines, which consists of several parts, many of which are 10 lines or shorter. Follow the link given above for a full copy of the text.

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, July 28, 2016

Kerry Says ~ Let's Send a Postcard

Fair Use

Postcards became popular at the turn of the 20th century, especially for sending short messages to friends and relatives. They were collected right from the start, and are still sought after today by collectors of pop culture, photography, advertising, wartime memorabilia, local history, and many other categories. (Source)

I recently came across this collection of vintage postcards from 1900 - 1910, which showcases "Women's Beauty" on Bored Panda.

Gypsy Girl with Mandolin
Vintage Postcard
Source: Bored Panda

This led me to browse other sites for postcards, and found a huge range in style and composition, from humorous to romantic to erotic. It struck me that poetry and picture postcards have something in common, when it comes to brevity and striking images.

World War 1 Postcard

World War 2 Postcard

The Challenge:
Do some browsing of your own, or select one of the postcards I have used by way of example, and write a poem inspired by the picture, or if you prefer, the message written on the reverse side. I am not setting a word limit, but in the spirit of postcards, I would encourage brevity.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to The Tuesday Platform!

Photo by Marian Kent

It's Tuesday, your free-range herding-cats day here in the Imaginary Garden. This means share what you like, and we will read it! Stretch if you will, nap if you desire, and then get ready for some wonderful July poems. Meow!

Share * Read * Comment * Enjoy

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Play It Again, Toads

Greetings, dearest Toads! Margaret couldn’t make it this weekend, so we must Play It Again without her. But worry not, she’s just busy at the moment and will be back soon to delight us with her photos and words.

I stole an image Mama Zen borrowed from Pinterest. I love the quote. Also, Mama Zen’s prompt is one of my three choices for today:

1. Words Count with Mama Zen: “Is your life a circus?” (A dangerous thing to ask these days, I know.)

2. The Way of Tea: create a poem based on a quote by Sen No Rikyu, poet and tea aficionado.

3.  Kerry’s Wednesday Challenge ~ Gods in Nature: write a poem from the perspective of an ancient god or goddess, “contemplating existence in the present era.”

Please write a new poem for this prompt. Choose one of the three I’ve provided, or feel free to go archive hunting. Make sure to let us know which challenge you are choosing (include the specific link in your post). Speaking of specifics and of hungry linking tools, do feed a direct link to your knew poem to Mr. Linky. Then visit other Toads. We love sharing the words blooming in our gardens. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Transforming with Nature's Wonders

Hello, it's Hannah here with an opportunity to write poetry through the eyes of Nature...

A totem is a spirit being, sacred object, or symbol of a tribe, clan, family or individual. Native American tradition provides that each individual is connected with nine different animals that will accompany each person through life, acting as guides, (excerpt from Native American Legends).

“The true shaman, the true naturalist, works to reconnect conscious human life with Nature and Spirit through totems and ritual.” ― Ted Andrews, Animal Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small

“If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them, you will not know them, and what you do not know you will fear. What one fears one destroys. — Chief Dan George” 

This week I have had the dragonfly arrive in my realm in a way that has felt significant. As I sat at a stoplight on Monday one came and hovered above my hood and left four times and the last time it appeared to be looking through the window at me…I said I see you, what do you want to tell me? It didn't come back after I addressed was like it wanted to be sure I had seen it. I’ve been noticing them on my walks a lot this week and today while I was at my children’s new school another mother, who I had just been speaking with, got in her car and her license plate was drgnfly! Interesting, I think.

(By André Karwath aka Aka - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5,

Here’s one of the meanings I found…

“The dragonfly and damselfly reflect and work with the sun and light. The light changes throughout the day. The dragonfly and damselfly undergo their own transformations. If they have shown up, look for change to occur. Are you resisting change when you shouldn’t? Dragonflies remind us that we are light and can reflect the light in powerful ways if we choose to do so. “Let there be light” is the divine prompting to use the creative imagination as a force within your life. This is part of what dragonflies and damselflies teach us.” ― Ted AndrewsAnimal Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small

I invite you to check out this article from, NATIVE AMERICANLEGENDS – Native American Totem Animals & Their Meanings. It provides a general background and list of animals. Some might be familiar with this topic…some may already be acquainted with their animal totem(s). You may browse the list and choose an animal that speaks to you personally, either a favorite or through past experiences.

The list offers some of the Animal Characteristics & Meanings…Please include these in some way…either directly as a word list or indirectly as a feeling or metaphor.

Create something new, link up and then enjoy your poetic friends offerings as well. This challenge will be up for two days so feel free to link as many as you like!

Thank you, so much for joining in! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Tuesday Platform

For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
 ~ Nelson Mandela Day, July 18

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden ...

Greetings to all friends, poets, toads...
It seems to be harder each week, to find the joy and tranquility of the simple act of living, when so many innocent people are suffering on a widespread and unprecedented scale. There seems no end to cruel and unusual acts of hatred and revenge. As poets, we are called upon to be the voices of our age: to offer commentary, bear witness, speak of hope, grief, and always to sound a call to arm ourselves, not with weapons, but words. I believe that here, in the Imaginary Garden, we are all in agreement that Life Matters, in every shape and form.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Weekend Mini Challenge - In the Market for Poems

I love markets - that is, I love food markets. (I kind of hate shopping for anything else.) 

One reason I thought of today’s prompt is because I recently took a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico and was lucky enough to take pictures of some markets around Oaxaca, which I thought would be fun to post.

Here's the poetic aspect of the prompt:

So much of life is an exchange.  Every choice is a bartering of one alternative with another.  Even a conversation is an exchange; even a breath.  Sometimes in these exchanges one tries to sell something concrete, sometimes one tries to sell an idea, sometimes, one's self or one's image of one's self. 

Sometimes people become a little bit like the things they sell (in the way that people sometimes begin to look like their dogs.)  Or they become a little like the things they buy. 

Then there’s the whole idea of marketing--how people might strive for attention for themselves or their product.  (Or not.)  

So, how does this translate into today's poem? 

Consider some kind of bargain, exchange, purchase, promise. It can be an exchange or promise made by or to you, or by or to some one or something else. (It does not have to have anything to do with a true sale, direct promise, and it certainly doesn't have to do with a food market.)

 Alternatively, think of some way in which a person, thing, relationship, country, world has been molded by a barter or exchange.

Or think of exchanging places with someone or something.  You could also use a formalistic poetic exchange--by, for example, writing a poem using homonym or rhyme (each which is rather like the exchange of one word for another that sounds the same).

Or if you like simply think of some market place.

But please keep in mind that the poem does not have to deal with any market at all!  Here's a pic that's not from Mexico, but of my beautiful granddaughter.  Still, it seemed to fit the topic of exchange so well, I could not resist including it. 

So, here we go, Toads!  And as part of the wonderful exchange of ideas that goes on here--read the posts of your community poets! 

Two final points.  All rights are reserved in the pics here.  I offer for inspiration but not for use (as I don't feel I have a full panoply of permissions from the persons photographed.)

And then, in the interest of my own self-marketing, I am made bold to mention that I’ve just come out with a new book, a children’s novel (that is also great for adults), called Dogspell - or Sally & Seemore & the Meaning of Mushki.  Please check it out, especially if you have ever been under the spell of a beloved dog!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Words Count With Mama Zen

As I write this (July 10th), I'm feeling bruised and battered by the news of the world.  My heart is heavy, my hands feel useless, and I simply can't handle any more horror today.  I need something beautiful. Maybe, you do, too.

Here, for your enjoyment and inspiration, are a few images that entered the public domain this year.

Emily Carr, "Big Raven" (1931), oil on canvas (via Vancouver Art Gallery)
Emily Carr, "Big Raven" (1931)

Käthe Kollwitz, "Frau mit totem Kind" (1903) (via Wikimedia)
 Käthe Kollwitz, "Frau mit totem Kind" (1903)

Albert Richards, "France - the Beach Head, 1944" (1944) (via Imperial War Museums)
Albert Richards, "France - the Beach Head, 1944" (1944)

Art by Milena Pavlović Barili (via Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade)
Milena Pavlović Barili

Now, write a poem inspired by one of these images . . . 60 words or less.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Tuesday Platform

Photo by Jonthan Bachman for Reuters

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden! Please link up a poem of your choice today, and take some time during the week to visit others who have shared their own. Raise your voice!

Share * Read * Comment * Enjoy!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sunday Mini-Challenge: Shallows, Deeply

The tidal changes that are massively disrupting politics--as seen in the recent Brexit vote and the American presidential campaign--speak of forces that haven’t been adequately named yet. We are monkeys in a wind machine of change: But where's it coming from?

Much is now being written in the attempt to ken that breeze. In his superb essay, “Who Are All These Trump Supporters?" (July 11/18 issue of The New Yorker),  George Saunders asserts that divisions have grown so great between the political Left and the Right that it is impossible for either side to empathize, much less understand, the Other to any productive avail:

Where is all this anger coming from? It's viral, and Trump is Typhoid Mary. Intellectually and emotionally weakened by years of steadily degraded public discourse, we are now two separate ideological countries, LeftLand and RightLand, speaking different languages, the lines between us down. Not only do our two subcountries reason differently; they draw upon non-interesecting data sets and access different mythological systems.

So true—but there are so many other ways to read this wind, aren’t there? Think of the other data sets: race and guns; religion and modernity; old and young; wired and tired; have and have not; Wordpress and Blogger ... Visualizing this amorphous reality is like getting a new pair of glasses at the optometrist’s: first we have to go through many lenses as the view sharpens focus and aligns depth to periphery. Similarly, getting a bead on what's happening in the culture means fitting one lens then another to this eye than that, then together, aiming closer to focus. Elite or mass? Black Lives Matter or Police Lives Matter? Tweet or Feed? To and fro goes a fray which already feels swept far to sea.

I sense a lot of it stems from the disruptions of the digital age. The tech revolution which has made corporate giants of Google and Facebook to the point that traditional media like newspapers are crumbling to dust. (Traditional culture has faded fast, too.) Our alien overlords rule us through smart phones attached to our eyes by invisible chains.

What makes disruption so hard to understand and see is that very little of the "real" world changes. Walk outside: it’s the same damned day or night, unchanged for the past 20 million years even though the online spike in your head has all but defeated time and space zooming toward infinite reach and access. The digital replica of that world is as insubstantial as the consciousness which lurks about our physical brains, the ghost not of reality but an oracle meaningful only to algorithms.

in his book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing To Our Brains, Nicholas Carr writes that our brains themselves have been disrupted by digital media, our neural wiring re-routed, so that we now think fleetingly, distractedly, widely but without depth, without concentration or meditation. "What the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation," he writes. "Whether I'm online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski."

If that's the case, then maybe the great surge of dark phenomena (ISIS, Facebook, Pulse, Brexit, Trump, Black and Blue Lives Matter) looks increasingly strange to us because we aren't conceiving of them with the same brains anymore. Perhaps our world is becoming too complex because our conceptions are hairbraining out.

Of course, there still a Resistance at work against such things—am I right, O my bruthas and sistas of the Pond?  Thank our varied gods and beer bawdesses that we float over an immense shared verbal depth. Still lots to find down there. According to some studies, "deep reading"—exhibited most voluminously by reading poems— fires the brain up by immersing it in a rich bath of sensory detail and emotional, moral and intellectual complexity. It's slow going, savoring the heft and taste of words, allowing the allusions and metaphors to light up regions of the brain conducive to analysis, reflection, even empathy: But it’s a pretty good defense from becoming an empty reflection of shallows.

For your challenge today, let's show there still be dragons below and within and around us.  Find something deep in a shallow world.

And to make this somewhat true to a Mini Challenge, write deeply in a shallow space—use little, say much. (5 lines? 20? that's between you and The Succinct Muse.)

And if you’re wondering how to cover both bases at once—to go deep sparingly--consider these lines from a poem Rilke wrote shortly before he died in 1925:

… Take your practiced powers and stretch them out
until they span the chasm between two
contradictions  … For the god
wants to know himself in you.

(Transl. Stephen Mitchell)

Maybe whatever the world is turning into will feel greeted, accepted—perhaps even magnified— by what we share.   

Onward to deeper shallows!


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Fireblossom Friday: Secret Love

Hello dear Toads and pond followers. Recently, I was watching a film called "The Celluloid Closet", about how LGBT people have been portrayed in movies over the decades. Over the closing credits, they played this song, "Secret Love." ( I think they used the Doris Day version; I've chosen Anne Murray's.)

The song seemed a perfect launching-off point for a poetry challenge! Certainly there are many possible variations on such a theme. Please write a poem about a secret love (bearing in mind, of course that this will be a poem, not an autobiography. You can make the whole thing up!) Oh Pooky....your secrets are safe with me!

Maybe your poem will be about midnight assignations and stolen moments between secret lovers. Or, maybe it will be about secretly loving someone who doesn't even know they are adored! However, your poem does not have to be about lovers at all. Maybe your secret love is reading some kind of forbidden literature, or maybe your secret love is something edible, like anchovies! But remember, the important thing is that it be SECRET--except to us readers, of course! As Delaney & Bonnie once sang, only you know and I know...

Don't confuse guilty pleasures with secret loves. If everybody knows you love Bill down in accounting, or that you love anchovies, then it isn't a secret love. So come on, whisper in my ear. What's your secret love? (or that of the speaker in your poem, at least!)

Small print: NEW poem, no haiku or similar Oriental short forms. Beyond that, length and form entirely up to you.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden ...

Source Unknown

Greetings to all friends, poets, frogs and toads! If you have poetry - new or old - to share, then you have come to the right pond. Let us share our words and our thoughts in the spirit of freedom and friendship across the miles.

Happy Independence Day to those bloggers who celebrated yesterday, and many thanks to Sherry Blue Sky for sharing the "All Others Will be Toads" picture.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Flash 55 PLUS!

Greetings to all poets and friends!
It is time for the Flash 55 Challenge in the month of July. 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.

British troops advance in the Battle of the Somme, 1916, WW1



July 1, 2016 marked the centenary of The Battle of the Somme, a ferocious bombardment which saw the deaths of 19, 240 British soldiers in a singe day, with a further 38,230 men wounded or missing. The siege lasted for 140 days.

For the OPTIONAL EXTRA part of this challenge, I invite you to reflect on the Battle of the Somme or the legacy of war and history as it impacts on us, living in the 21st Century.  For an hour-by-hour account of the battle with historical photos, click HERE.

Feel free to post more than one 55-word piece to this prompt, which will remain first on the Home page until Tuesday morning. Don't forget to return to enjoy the poetry of fellow poets.