One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Weekend Mini-Challenge: Doors

Doors mark our coming in and going through and out of this life. Big doors, little doors, stone doors, blue doors.

“If one were to give an account of all the doors one has closed and opened, of all the doors one would like to re-open, one would have to tell the story of one’s entire life,” writes Gaston Bachelard in The Poetics of Space.  

The Romans had a deity for doors: Janus, the two-faced god. January ends one year and begins another, and Janus sanctifies all passages and transitions with a gate that swings both ways. He was associated with Portunus, another gateway god who presided over harbors, travel, and shores.

Because doors have two sides to them, our relation to them is always duple. Albert the Great wrote, “In Germany there once lived twins, one of whom opened doors by touching them with his right arm, and the other who closed them by touching them with his left arm.” Our brain is halved by left and right hemispheres, each with their own realm of functioning—one analyzing, reducing, the other synthesizing, adding up. Is there a door between them which keeps us fiddling with its lock at the same time keeping its bolts in place?

Doors font inspiration. What creative impulse in us can resist opening them?  A shepherd on a remote Hebrides island in the early nineteenth century accounts that at night, “a woman often came out of the sea and said strange foreign words at the back of his door, and these, he added, in a whinnying voice like that of a foal ; came, white as foam ; and went away grey as rain. And then, he added, ‘she would go to that stroked rock yonder, and put songs against me, till my heart shook like a tallow-flaucht in the wind.’" (Fiona MacLeod, “Sea Magic”)

There’s always a danger in doors; they secure our world but also knock loudly with the Other. According to the old Irish dinshenchas, the hero Riach places into a well the severed heads of warriors slain in battle. The presence of the heads seems to magically affect the water and it becomes highly dangerous. In order to prevent it from rising up against him, Riach constructs a building over it in which it can be contained. But one night he forgets to place the capstone “door” back over the well one night and it rises up and drowns him.

Today our theme is Doors: Portals in, passage out. Find a door and try it.  Will it open or is it barred? Half-open, almost-closed? What freedom flows in as you go out? And what is the melancholy click of a door closing forever? Is there one door representative of the whole, a page which emblems the bestiary? Or is there a poem which resembles a house-shaped Advent calendar, with a door or window to peer into along every step of its way? You choose.

Write a poem about one door (or many) and bring it back here to share with your fellow portalettes. (Hmm.) What will we open on our separate lily pads? What singing skulls and water wonders we will find! What an Advent calendar we will house!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Bits of Inspiration ~ Dragonfly

First of all I must brag about my daughter, Carrie. She is Artist Relations Director at Art Colony Association Inc. and they are the producers of the Bayou City Art Festival. It is an important event in Houston. We are so proud of her. It would take pages to write all the work she puts in along with staff to bring all this talent together in our city. 

At the this year's Bayou City Arts Festival I discovered the beautiful art of Ann Byrd and purchased two prints.  One print is a dragonfly.

I really love how she describes her art. "My pieces tell a story, but not the whole story. They are windows into certain glimpses in a narrative that is already in play. Visions of things you catch out of the corner of your eye, but cannot be sure are real or merely ghosts of your imagination."  Ann Byrd

I'd like to share the totem meaning of the dragonfly and quotes with you.

The dragonfly totem carries the wisdom of transformation and adaptability in life. As spirit animal, the dragonfly is connected to the symbolism of change and light. When the dragonfly shows up in your life, it may remind you to bring a bit more lightness and joy into your life. Those who have this animal as totem may be inclined to delve deep into their emotions and shine their true colors.

"Time is for dragonflies and angels. The former live too little and the latter live too long."  ~  James Thurber

"It's very far away/It takes about a half a day to get there/ If we travel by-dragonfly." ~  Jimi Hendrix
Who would deduce the dragonfly from the larva, the iris from the bud, the lawyer from the infant? ...We are all shape-shifters and magical reinventors. Life is really a plural noun, a caravan of selves." ~ Diane Ackerman

Also the painting is titled "Tipping Point." 
tip·ping point
1. the point at which a series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change.

So for today's challenge I would like you to write an original poem about a  dragonfly/dragonflies. It can be in any form you choose. Please post it on Mr. Linky and visit your fellow poets to read where their wings took them.

Note: I've contacted Ann and have been given permission to use and share her  dragonfly print. If you use the dragonfly art print on your page, please credit Ann Byrd and link it to one of her art sites. The first link I used is to her Facebook page. The second is her website. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Hello poets and poetry lovers. We're in the second week of November here in the USA and I'm thanking the universe for warm slippers and good cups of tea. I am also currently warming my spirits with this sweet song I heard recently in a fitness class of all places. Just goes to show you can find magical little delights anywhere, as long as you are paying attention.

Please share some of the magic of your pen with the rest of us at the garden. Submit a poem, old or new, down below and splash into other pages to see what your fellow poets have created this week. If you like something, don't keep it to yourself. Conversation and constructive feedback in the comments section is always welcome.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Fussy Little Forms: Rondelet

Happy Weekend, Toads! Today I offer to you the very definition of a Fussy Little Form, the RONDELET. The rondelet is a short French poetry form featuring a strict rhyme and meter pattern plus a lovely repeated refrain. It looks like this:

Line 1 :: A—four syllables
Line 2 :: b—eight syllables
Line 3 :: A—repeat of line one
Line 4 :: a—eight syllables
Line 5 :: b—eight syllables
Line 6 :: b—eight syllables
Line 7 :: A—repeat of line one

Of course, mapping it out that way does not allow for the beauty of this form, which is in part due to the refrain (lines 1, 3, and 7). The refrained lines should contain the same words, but substitution or different use of punctuation on the lines is accepted. For example, here is a rondelet about the rondelet, by Charles Henry Luders (1889):

Is just seven verses rhymed on two.
A rondelet
Is an old jewel quaintly set
In poesy--a drop of dew
Caught in a roseleaf. Lo! For you,
A rondelet.

Here is one of my rondelet attempts, called "Mount to the Sky"
You looked like rain
before the wild hurricane flew.
You looked like rain.
Clamoring down tin eaves, the pain
rollicked like thunder. Meanwhile, you
colored outside the lines. All blue.
You looked like rain.
(from my book Responsive Pleading)
And here is a more detailed explanation from a format challenge handed down in earlier times by former Toad, Pirate Grace O’Malley in earlier Garden times: SHORTENING THE SAILS

I hope you all will be inspired and try it. Rondelet, rondelet!

from Libri de piscibus marinis in quibus verae piscium effigies expressae sunt by Guillaume Rondelet (1554)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

(in)Famous and possibly fictional

 Image from White House public archives.

Greetings Garden Dwellers!

Welcome back to the Out of Standard, where I will call upon you to break out of the every day box and explore new territories. So get those ink wells refilled and a fresh sheet of parchment. Your challenge lies ahead.

(in)Famous and possibly fictional encounters
Write about a relative's encounter with a famous person. That's all. The encounter doesn't have to have actually happened. And the famous person does not need to be living or even from the same era.  Uncle Bob could have met Wilma Flintstone at the Grand Canyon, or your niece could have gone to the future and met BeeBop, the only robot in the world to be elected earth president. If you prefer the more traditional route, perhaps your mom did actually meet David Bowie at a laundromat and now is your time to commit that to paper.

So go now, my muddy buddies.  Brig us us back something new and unexpected.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Greetings to all poets, wayfarers and friends. I am loving the month of November, which is the last stretch of autumn but the beginning of new endeavors; and the time to explore new possibilities that lead through to accomplishing our goals and dreams. I came across this wonderful reading of 'The Waste Land' by T.S. Eliot on YouTube and knew that I just had to share it. It has been narrated by Alec Guinness. Hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I did. 

If you have any thoughts to share, ideas you wish to release into the wild or a world view to express, then you have come to the right place. Please share a poem of your choice and enjoy the company of your fellow scribes. We look forward to reading you and hope you have a wonderful day.

Share * Read * Comment * Enjoy

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Camera FLASH!

Are you ready for the flashbulbs to go off?

Here is our photographic challenge for November.

Woman with Long Hair
Man Ray (1929)

The challenge is wide open to any angle or interpretation.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Get Listed: November Edition

A few years ago, I stumbled upon a gem of a book by Sandford Lyne titled, "Writing Poetry from the Inside Out:  Finding Your Voice Through the Craft of Poetry." The Poem sketching technique Lyne suggests gives wide enough girth for both birthing and growing poems. I copied 10-12 pages of his word list groups from the back of the book to get me through a few years of writing.

For this Get Listed edition I ask you to create your own brief creation. Keep it to under 100 words (I have a short attention span). Choose one of the word groups (using all 4 words) I've listed below to insert into your brain child, being mindful to choose the word list that fits the best with your mood/theme/personality of your unique poem on the topic of your choice.

pencil                  Creator                  desires                November                 nightmare
orphan                 pity                       night                   layers                         frost
book bag             tomorrows            flesh                    stone                          ruts
tank                     winds                    poems                 throat                         awoke

And, if this seems backwards... try reversing the sequence by first choosing one of the word groups, and then letting a fresh poem spring forth from...  well, from a metaphorical loin-place.

I can only suggest that there's no right or wrong way to poem. I can however, offer limited guidance and encouragement in sharing what's worked for me, while reiterating that no two poems are alike in personality or voice.

Good luck sketching, honing, and naming your beauties. Can't wait to meet/read them. And please do check in on all your fellow poets.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

“Autumn wins you best by this, its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay.” ~ Robert Browning

Do feel free to use this image with your entry, it is mine and I don’t mind.

Summer is my true love. But I lust after Autumn—its October, its fiery colors, the hats and boots we (and by “we” I mean “me”) get to wear, the celebration of death. Other time of year, death is seen as gloomy and scary and soaked in tears. But in October, I get to celebrate the life of loved ones who no longer breathe. And I can do it without getting what’s-wrong-with-her? looks. How cool is that? I know! I hope your October was glorious, and may your November be even better. 

Share any poem you like. Any form. Old or new. We’ll delight in it. If there is a hint of Autumn or October in its lines, I’ll probably dance with it. Fine, I will kiss it on the mouth.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

FASHION ME YOUR WORDS ~ Lets build houses

FASHION ME YOUR WORDS ~ Lets build houses; as some parts of planet earth remain storm-ravished, some parts have weathered the storms. Yet some parts remain near-paradise. Poets: wherever we find ourselves, here is a call to build houses. Let's build them sturdy and strong or not at all. So fashion me your words folks.

Limit your poem to NOT MORE THAN one hundred words.

Be further inspired by:
Here are some images from MSN homes that are anything but ordinary

AND Poems

The House that Jack Built By Jacob Polley

the first trees were felled
and sailed in, wrecked, then slept
an age in the northern sun, blackening
to iron                    were found by horsemen
leading their horses and raised as
cloud’s axles, rafters of night, a god’s gates
were passed through, seen
from miles off, rolled the sun
and moon along their lintels, rooted,
read the whole poem HERE
to a farmhouse, hanging
a hall from their outstretch, bracing floor
after floor on their inosculating
joists, which sang
to a barefoot tread and were called
home of shadows             heart of the wind

... ... ...

White Houses by Claude McKay
Your door is shut against my tightened face,
And I am sharp as steel with discontent;
But I possess the courage and the grace
To bear my anger proudly and unbent.
The pavement slabs burn loose beneath my feet,
A chafing savage, down the decent street;
And passion rends my vitals as I pass,
Where boldly shines your shuttered door of glass.
Oh, I must search for wisdom every hour,
Deep in my wrathful bosom sore and raw,
And find in it the superhuman power
To hold me to the letter of your law!
Oh, I must keep my heart inviolate
Against the potent poison of your hate.

... ... ...

Dreamhouse by Mary Oliver from Pinterest

... ... ...

For an extra bonus, Please highlight your door for soon it be Halloween and surely someone will come-a knocking or not!!!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Artistic Interpretations with Margaret

All Art work from NC County Fair - Asheville

Welcome to Artistic Interpretations.  Inspiration is found in nature, museums, and ... at county fairs.  These works of art are diverse in medium and age range, and created by "amateurs".  

Photography was permissible, but because of my youngest son's eagerness to get to the rides and games, I did not have time to capture the artist's names.

The challenge is to write a poem in any style matched to one or more images.   Simple as that.

Link to Mr. Linky below and please visit the other poets.  I look forward to your artistic interpretations!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Toads In Tandem: The Oak in Autumn

I could have never imagined even in my wildest dreams to be paired with Fireblossom! I still remember our conversation where the two of us decided to collaborate next year; and then Kerry discovering our shared enthusiasm and giving us the opportunity to appear in October! Needless to say we were absolutely delighted! 

We decided to let our love of nature guide us through our collaborative effort and here is what we came up with. Hope you guys like our poem.

The Oak in Autumn

Lovers and lunatics favor the oak.
Say anything--the oak will still be there,
With its odd-shaped leaves, inconstant as smoke
At their edge, but shy to leave the branch bare.
The thing that enchants, is what’s not shown there,
The mystery of a season--or a smile;
Madly bold or nightjar soft--autumn’s wile.

Oh how can I sleep with leaves all around, 
Wavering to gold from adumbral red.
Your touch imprinted on sensual ground, 
As lips opened amorously and pledged--
Of love being gentle and yet strongest thread. 
At length you had observed most conscious flame,
Erratic and bright as I called your name.

The oak is always last to lose its leaves,
Standing unchanged as if it didn't know
Of nature altered in you and in me;
Disbelieving of first November snow.
And so, I wonder if you really know
How hard it is for me to understand
Why you still smile but then withdraw your hand.

It’s undoubtedly an autumnal day, 
As moody-sweet as words we scarcely spoke. 
Can you feel sombre wind and twilight grey
Round and round the irrepressible oak--
As such reminiscence from slumber woke
Your resolve unchanging has deeper pierced 
A reckless heart hidden in rhyme and verse.

The form we chose is called Rhyme Royal which is a stanza of seven 10-syllable lines. It was popularized by Geoffrey Chaucer and termed as 'royal' because of its imitator, James I of Scotland, who had employed the form in his own verse. The rhyme scheme is: ababbcc

I remember feeling both nervous and excited as the weeks passed by, and how Shay's fiery attitude and good humor led us along the way. Thank you Shay for being such a wonderful writing partner and Kerry once again, for assigning such a lovely project to us.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Greetings to all poets, wayfarers and friends. I was browsing through YouTube the other day and happened to come by a wonderful reading of Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats, hope you guys enjoy listening to it as much as I did. 

If you have any thoughts to share, ideas you wish to release into the wild or a world view to express, then you have come to the right place. Please share a poem of your choice and enjoy the company of your fellow scribes. 

Remember to stop by tomorrow for our Toads in Tandem feature post. Shay and I have banded together to bring you a collaborative poem so as to celebrate the creativity of our Garden environment.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Micro Poetry ~ Binding With Briars

Greetings to all! Today is the day we put the "mini' back into the Weekend Mini-Challenge, and return to the option of form poetry. The object of this challenge is to write a poem in no more than 12 lines... Yes, you read correctly, I am extending the length to 12 lines to include the possibility of writing 3 quatrains, a form which might have the flavour of an incomplete sonnet. However, the option remains for you to write in fewer than 12 lines all the way down to a single American sentence. If you wish to write in another form, that is an option too, as is free verse.

This weekend, our frame of reference is "Binding With Briars" - from the final line of the poem, The Garden of Love, by William Blake. I look forward to reading your work.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Awhape me!

Hello all...tis The Scibbler here for a second edition of 'Scribble It.'

What better beginning for a plethora of poets than a multitude of wordageables?

Experts at the University of York have complied a list of 30 words from the English language that have fallen out of our consciousness and conversation that might conceivably make a comeback.

What better place to put that to the test than The Imaginary Garden? Here are those very words and their meaning.

Ambodexter: One who takes bribes from both sides.
Betrump: To deceive, cheat; to elude, slip from ( I know right?)
Coney-catch: To swindle, cheat, to trick, dup, deceive
Hugger-mugger: Concealment, secrecy
Nickum:  A cheating or dishonest person
Quacksalver: A person who dishonestly claims knowledge of or skill in medicine, a pedlar of false cures.
Rouker: A person who whipers or murmurs, who spreads tales or rumours
Man-millinery: Suggestive of male vanity or pomposity
Parget: To daub or plaster the face or body with powder or paint
Snout-fair:Having a fair countenance; fair-faced, comely, handsome
Slug-a-bed: One who lies long in bed through laziness
Losenger: A false flatterer, a lying rascal, a deceiver
Momist: A person who habitually finds fault. a harsh critic
Peacockize: To behave like a peacock; esp. to pose or strut ostentatiously
Percher: A person who aspires to a higher rank or status; an ambitious or self-assertive person
Rouzy-bouzy: Boisterously drunk
Ruff: To swagger, bluster, domineer. To ruff it out/ to brag or boast of a thing
Sillytonian: A silly or gullible person, esp. one considered as belonging to a notional sect of such people
Wlonk: Proud, haughty/Rich, splendid, fine, magnificent: in later use esp. as a conventional epithet in alliterative verse ( N. A fair or beautiful one)
Fumish: Inclined to fume, hot-tempered, irascible, passionate; also charectorised by or exhibiting anger or irascibility
Awhape: To amaze, stupefy with fear, confound utterly
Hugge: To shudder, shrink, shiver, or shake with fear or with cold
Merry-go-sorry: A mixture of joy and sorrow
Stomaching: Full of maalignity; given to cherish anger or resentment
Swerk: To be or become dark; in Old English often, to become gloomy, troubled or sad
Teen: To vex, irritate, annoy, anger, enrage/ To inflict suffering upon; to afflict, harass; to injure, harm
Tremblable: Causing dread or horror; dreadful
Wasteheart: Used to express grief, pity, regret, disappointment or concern: 'alas!' 'woe is me!' Also a wasteheart-a day, wasteheart of me
Dowsable: Applied generically to a sweetheart, 'lady-love'
Ear-rent: The figurative cost to a person of listening to trivial or incessant talk

So the task ahead is clear. Pick one or two or a dozen of those words and pen a poem. Not inspired by them? OK! Do your own research and find words that we do not currently employ in conversation and put them into a poem instead. Link the words to their meaning if you would.

I look forward to reading your revivalist tomes. Link up below and please visit each other and comment. We all love a visit.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Hello poets and poetry lovers. I am slowly getting into the Halloween mood now that the weather in the Northeast USA has taken on a decided crispness. In that spirit, I'd like to share one of my favorite ghost stories in musical form.

  The Highwayman sang by Loreena McKennit, original poem/ lyrics by Alfred Noyes

You all know the drill. Share a piece of poetry as the spirit moves you, new or an old favorite. Take a little time to hop around the pond and see how the poetic spirit moves through the rest of our denizens. If you like something, don't keep it to yourself. Conversation and constructive feedback in the comments section is always welcome.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fussy Little Forms: Shadorma

Greetings, Friends. Marian here, excited to host a weekend mini-challenge (which I have not done before!) and give thanks to Magaly and Kerry for the opportunity to step in. 

I was thinking about how I’ve been a bit stuck lately, not very productive, finding it challenging to write for many reasons--some of which I am certain are affecting other Toads as well. And I know that sometimes trying to write in tight verse or constrained lines can help get me going when I’m stuck. So, you are invited to join me in a monthly exercise focused on short and/or fussy form poems. I’ll try to find new (to me, anyway) forms and we’ll also revisit some that have been presented in the Garden previously.

Let’s start off easy! No rhyming today, just a simple six-line poem with a syllable count: the SHADORMA. Kerry introduced the shadorma back in 2012 and I find it very rewarding and fun to play with. The rules are simple:

  • A six-line poem (or series of six-line stanzas)
  • Syllable count by line: 3-5-3-3-7-5
  • Not rhymed

Check out Kerry’s shadorma post for examples and ideas (plus lovely photos). I’ve written a bunch which you can view here if you like. I don’t know why some of mine have more than six lines, but what the heck. And, apologies in advance to you-know-who, as the shadorma is really a glorified/extended haiku.

Okay, ready? Shadorma away! If you are like me, this little form might get addictive, so please feel free to link up as many shadormas as you like. I can’t wait to read them all.

Thursday, October 12, 2017


Toads! Presented for your inspiration is guitar hero Annie Clark, aka

“Bodies, can’t you see what everybody wants from you?”


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Toads in Tandem: Creature Comforts

Image copyrighted Isadora Gruye Photography
Greetings Toads,

Kim and Izy are here to unleash our Toads in Tandem piece for 2017.  We can’t wait for you to read it. But first, a few words of introduction.

Kim says - The only signs I was aware of, regarding distance in miles and culture between Izy and me, were one or two phrases or spellings. Not knowing much about her, I decided to look up Izy on the Internet and was impressed by her poetic activity, which was somewhat daunting. However, once we got going, it was more like working with a version of myself in a different universe and we riffed on each others’ ideas and fragments with ease.

Izy says - I was so excited when Kim was announced as my toad in Tandem. I  loved the idea of working with a poet whose style is different than my own. Where I tend to be stark and obscure, Kim is color and concrete. When I want to burn the page down, Kim brings beautiful form and word architecture. I gotta say, I was so impressed with how fearless Kim is in her writing.Thanks so much for the tango, Kim!!!!

Toads in Tandem bonus: we’ve included audio files of each of us reading the poem in full. If you have a few moments, you can listen to how each of us chose into interpret and read each line a little differently! Also....our accents!!!!

Creature Comforts
Your lover drapes me on your shoulders,
sunlight strays through crinkled linen,
tickles your unblemished skin.
I protect your sensitivity,
remind you of marmalade
and flyover territory:
fat ants marching on clothes lines
hung tight between windows uncleaned
and chipped by gossip houndstooth.
I am imbued with pepper scent of grass cut
before the heat,
before the thick of summer
leaned over the typewriter
to ash its cigar across the whole of July.

You had me on loan
the day autumn mist rolled in,
shrouded everything,
left cold droplets in your hair
and smeared its sheen on bare skin.
Now you touch my woollen fibres
to your nose, inhale the scent
and I’m matted with tears.
There is a silence so quiet,
it cuts sharply.
The cables are knit so tightly
breathing becomes labored
in the lemon dusk.
Have the signals got crossed?
Is there no one poised and ready
to decipher these dashes and pauses?
Tomorrow, newspaper ink will be thin
and wash away in street puddles.
And here, the coffee stains on my cuff
will sing boldly on their own.

Winter rattles dust
from window panes,
and you still bring me to bed,
despite my jersey stretched nine years thin
and twisted torn at the hem.
The flat scent of last night’s fire
falls on cold sheets,
falls on your cold, freckled knees.
You sweat through the night,
happily cocooned
in your empty bed,
dreaming of a lover’s gift
infused with perfume, the bottle lit
by flames and fairy lights.
Faces merge in shadow,
bask in afterglow,
buffeted by music -
an old long-playing record
by a favourite band
crackles on the deck.

When the spring breeze coaxes
leaves to bud and rain
lifts worms to the sidewalk
to bake on the concrete,
you pull me over your feet.
You stomp proudly through mud
and dropped blossoms,
each step a drum beat
louder than you ever imagined.
Your toes curl and flex against the solidity
of our rubber-soled security,
a comfortable pairing against puddles
and slippery situations –
galoshes for all seasons.