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: http://www.poemhunter.com/best-poems/moniza-alvi/presents-from-my-aunts-in-pakistan/.

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 AllPoetry.com 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

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Fireblossom Friday: I Feel The Earth Move

Shay here with another Fireblossom Friday writing challenge. In 1971, if memory serves, a successful songwriter released an album in which she sang her own new songs and it became a phenomenon--Carole King's "Tapestry." One of the songs I remember best from that album was called "I Feel The Earth Move." It's a love song, but I want to take that seismic idea in another direction.

What happens when the earth moves? I mean literally. Things shake, crumble collapse; everything known becomes changed, unfamiliar, disorienting. The very ground you stand upon becomes unsteady. What can you count on when that happens?

I want you to write about a situation where the earth moves under your feet. Maybe your significant other has been found to have their own significant other. Maybe your own body or that of a loved one turned traitor and a lump is found, or something that was easy and natural now involves pain and effort. Maybe your world view has been shattered and Everything You Know Is Wrong. Perhaps it's a crisis of faith. (Maybe it's even Donald Trump winning the White House.) Whatever it is, write a new poem about being shaken up, tossed about, made to doubt what you thought was solid. Then link up and visit other Toads. Don't wait until it's Too Late, baby. Feel the earth move and write about it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden ...

Greetings to one and all who visit with us in the Garden this week. Yes, it is a week set to be dominated by POLITICS. However, let us not forget in the lines of rhetoric we are exposed to an a daily basis, what is truly important in these times: love, friendship, good citizenship and taking care of our planet for our children's sake. This is the stuff of poetry.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Play It Again, Toads!

Welcome to Play it Again, Toads! where archived challenges of this Imaginary Garden come to life again. Have fun exploring the side bar (2011 - 2016) and selecting your own or choose from three I've highlighted below.

Philosopher and Poet
Giorgio de Chirico (1916)
Fair Use

1.  The Poetry in a Quote, Susie's Bits of Inspiration, April 13, 2015

2. Avant-Edge: Songs of Innocence and Experience, Sam Edge, April 3, 2014

3. Photography Challenge, featuring Kenia Cris, March 3, 2012

Thursday, November 3, 2016

What Fresh Hell is This? - November Word List

This month's list is dedicated to the risky proposition currently called 'Democracy'. 

Even for our out-of-nation Toads and visitors - what happens in the US November 8th will for good or ill directly impact the rest of the world.

The challenge: describe your view on this year's US election - how it affects you, how it angers or delights you, how you will be moving to a small island that likely will be consumed by global warming soon, but hey, better blue than orange.

Part (A): you may NOT use pejoratives, curse words, obviously denigrating terms, etc.

Part (B): Instead, take the approach of Dorothy Parker:
"This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."
If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.
or Oscar Wilde:
"Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much."
Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.
Part (C): take at least 3 of the following list of words and weave them into a new poem for the challenge, observing parts A and B above:

novel, toss, lightly, force, money, God, look, forgive, enemy, annoy, happy, cause, go.

As a reminder, please post the poem to your own blog, link that specific post in Mr. Linky below, and please revisit over the next few days so you can read your fellow contributor's efforts.

More on Dorothy Parker here:

And Oscar Wilde:

and your musical interlude: Óveður from Sigur Rós:

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Tuesday Platform

My November Guest by Robert Frost
My Sorrow, when she's here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walked the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She's glad the birds are gone away,
She's glad her simple worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.

Welcome to the Tuesday Platform, the weekly open stage 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.

Share * Read * Comment * Enjoy