Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Skyflower Friday: Monsters

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

Sadko the Green Monster
Leon Bakst (1917)

Today I am asking you to write a poem about a monster or monsters, be they real or imagined, mythical or made up, symbolic, surreal, abstract, nightmare or waking reality. You get the idea, I am sure.

I leave you with the famous words spoken by Iago in Othello:

"O beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meet it feeds on,"

And a music video..

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Exploring Eternity, In Tandem with Paul and Sherry

Greetings, friends! It is Paul Scribbles and Sherry Blue Sky here, presenting our poem in tandem. When our names were first paired, I was intrigued. Paul and I didn’t know each other well, and our styles are very different. I expected our exercise would be interesting, but I think we were both somewhat astonished at how easily it came together, and the direction it took. We plunged deep.

The tandem idea was always interesting to me and Sherry sent an email that landed when I was delivering a training program in Kuala Lumpur. Sherry and I had not had much contact other than poem comments and so this was a blind date of sorts. There followed a short email conversation and finally after some gentle nudging I sat down to write when I landed back in the UK. I was jet lagged and unsure about how to proceed so I began where I was. In the dark.

The beginning was open enough that it left me a lot of scope for a reply. And then the poem just took off.

We enjoyed this exercise so much that, once we reached what we thought was the end of the poem, we continued the conversation a bit further in Part II.  We offer the result to you in hopes you enjoy it.


Into the dark I move.
Arms out, eyes blind for now.
Feeling for the way ahead
with feet and with hands.

Use caution, wayfarer.
This way, there be dragons.
Who sent you journeying?
What is it that you seek?
Do you have a question for
Wild Woman of the woods?

My senses are my caution
and dragons I have met and slayed.
I answered my own call
and so seek only truth.
This question I ask of you.
What is it makes you wild?

It is the song of the sea,
the howl of a wolf, the way a tree
tells herself to me.
It's the beat of the drum, 
my heart's answering thrum.
It's the ancestors speaking
inside of me.
How does the land speak to you,
fellow pilgrim?
What secrets whisper to you
on the wind?

This land speaks to me with a voice
older than time itself.
An elemental whisper of the aes sidhe
carries itself within my soul
and sings to me of the temporal nature
of things.
I walk here now in the green.
I will also be gone
and only an echo remain.
What lies beyond oh wild woman?

I have peeked up and over
the brow of the hill
on the way to Eternity.
The ancients, ululating
a welcome song,
beckoned me with gnarled fingers.
I tried not to see.
There was a barren desert beyond,
and a river.
I heard the ferryman paddling
around the bend,
singing as he came for me.
Then I came back into my body.
Not time yet. Not yet.

Then it comes clear, my task
and the source of my beckoning.
I am to walk beyond the veil
into the land of my ancestors.
Into the ferryman's boat must I go
and across the great river,
and you, wild woman of the woods,
you must guide me there.

Death is that river, turbulent,
catching us up and
roaring us through rock-walled chasms,
green with weeping.
It plunges us into the maelstrom,
dashing us onto the rocks
so eagles may feed.

It swirls us 'round, then settles us,
lighter, and relieved of our earthly burden,
in peaceful ponds along the shore,
where coyote and wolf
may find us.

I will meet you there at twilight
on the last day.

Well met it is then and will be on that last day.
I am all swept up in that turbulence now.
Those eddies spin me beyond any idea of retreat.
So it is then that I must loosen this blanket of life,
so that in death I may come to the answer I seek,
that final truth which calls me across the waters,
and it is the knowing that I must die and relinquish all
which bears me forward to face my own face, born and dead.

Part II

I am dead. It is done.
I have crossed over the water’s threshold.
Life exists only on a distant shore now
and here a dark unknown surrounds me.
My faith was strong enough to leap but
now my heart crumbles and I am alone
with this void, this fear and an echo of my life.
Silent tears call out in vain. Where now?

Traveler, when there is no path,
the Way is the path.
Turn your face towards the void;
seek a glimmer of light.
In trust, we walked our earthly shore,
and now our quest is to discover
something More.
These words torment my mind.
Zen circles that spin me endlessly.
The void is all there is.
How can I face all ways at once?
My faith is lost and with it all trust.
Damned I am to dwell in darkness.
If the way is the path then my path
is to nowhere. I am lost.

Traveler, you are All Soul now.
Spirit sees in all directions
and will find its way.
Listen into the Wind.
Somewhere, there is an opening.
When you find it, you must enter,
for there is no going back.

Then darkness is my opening
and in that I now see the light.
I am made of nothing and of everything.
I am the wind and the space
into which it must blow.
I am the question and the answer.
I am life and death.
That one face, born and dead.

Paul: I was happy to begin the tandem poem as I tend to work very often from a place of ‘not knowing’ what is going to come when I write. Beginning felt natural. Then it was really just a statement of where I was in the process. In the Dark.

Sherry: When I received your first stanza, it left me wide open to respond and, instantly, the words began to flow. My Wild Woman persona showed up right on time, and began to speak. I just stepped out of the way.

Paul: Here the door opens to the poem. Now I’m on a journey and am quizzed about my motivation. In response I have to learn more about this Wild Woman. Who she is and what she is made of? Her answers evoke myth in me and ancestral voices. I mention the ‘aes sidhe’ who I have encountered in Irish mythology (my own heritage). This ancient race and our connection to the Earth are interwoven into my own story and so the idea brews now in my head of the ‘otherside,' the land beneath the sidhe, the otherworld. So I ask that question at the end of the stanza.

Sherry: I am of Irish heritage as well. Your reference to the “ancestral voices” spoke to me. That question was a great hook for me, as I have contemplated death and eternity many times in my work these recent years, when time is ever more finite. It was a pivotal question in the direction the poem took. Wild Woman was in full roar now, and I waited with anticipation to see what your character would say, and how she would respond. For it was clearly Wild Woman at the keyboard, and not me. Smiles.

Paul: It gets interesting here because the response lines up with the feeling that had been evoked in me earlier, and I now see that a threshold is present and must be crossed.

Sherry: Paul, I am curious about your closing line in Part I, the “facing your own face, born and dead”. Can you explain a bit about that?

Paul: Sometimes when I write a line I have no idea what it fully means. It just sounds or feels right. Later meaning may come. With this line that was very much the same. I remember thinking 'what do I really mean here?' Then you actually asked me!

After some thought and a little exploration of a few myths that were brought into a more conscious view, I think that this line for me is looking at the idea of Katabasis.

Born is where I am at this the threshold....Dead is where I must go to find 'that other', be it a person or, as it turns out, an ‘awareness’.

Sherry: It reminds me of the Buddhist teachings about our “original face”, the one we had before we were born. I assume this is the face we reclaim after death, the Soul-face or Being that is our eternal essence, in life and in death, throughout our many lives.

It was with astonishment that I watched this poem become a journey into death and beyond. It was quite magical. It soon seemed necessary to both of us to continue with a Part II. One cannot leave a journey incomplete.

Paul: I agree with Sherry. Part II wrote itself out of need. The whole process of exploring the unknown only to discover we were looking at life and death was incredible. The writing of the poem mirrored the journey we wrote about. For me, in the context of the final piece, death was a liberation, complete and total, and whilst we talked about a possible part III, a return of some kind, I felt that the final stanza was final and Sherry concurred. There was nowhere to return from...or to.

Paul, this has been a most awesome and amazing journey. Thank you!

I am in complete agreement, Sherry. This has been a most enjoyable experience. I’m very happy with what we have created.

We hope you enjoyed this exploration of Eternity’s Face, Toad friends. We certainly enjoyed putting it together for you. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to The Imaginary Garden ...

George R.R. Martin

Greetings to all poets, wanderers and friends! There are times when I question the worth of my words, but I am proud to have been a contributor to the art known as writing. I believe it is a truly phenomenal aspect of human nature, and more momentous than we may imagine.

What words do you have to share with us today? Please link up a poem of your choice.
Remember to stop by tomorrow for our Toads in Tandem feature post. Sherry and Paul were on a roll when they got together recently to bring us a collaborative poem to celebrate the creativity of our garden of the Imagination.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

FASHION ME YOUR WORDS TO ~ stretch the imagination

[image froom Bing dot com]

Hi toads, today i want you to stretch your imagination; ponder a natural disaster, past or recent, and tell me, what role you think, the gods might be playing, resulting in that particular natural disaster.

For a little oomph, along the creative process, read the following poem - 'Tremor' by Melissa Allen (appearing on page 46 of 'We Are All Japan Anthology', edited by Robert D. Wilson and Sasa Vazic 2012)


All it is
is the sliding of plates.

I always image freshly washed ones,
sliding warm and damp,
squeaking slightly
in protest
as you return them
to the cupboard

I forget how plates slip
from between your fingers.

What god concieved of this way
of building a planet?
This haphazard layer
of broken pottery
we have to step over.
The bare feet we're born with.

The liveliness of children
as they dance

---------- ---------- ----------

Your poem can take any form you wish in your delivery, my only constrain is that you use ONE HUNDRED OR LESS WORDS.

Have fun dear Toads, looking forward to reading some very very interesting writes

Thursday, August 24, 2017


I don't know about everyone else, but the end of summer is usually filled with lots of activity. We're either prepping for the school year ahead or trying to squeeze one more vacation or day trip before fall starts. So I'll keep this week's prompt simple and light. I'm basing it on a popular meme I've seen floating around the internet.

No, not the Willy Wonka one. The one where you grab a nearby book and flip to a specific page to find a quote that represents your love life. You have the choice of going to either page 13 and picking the 7th sentence or page 7 and picking out the 13th sentence to use as your inspiration for your poem. For bonus points, make it a love poem. As always, this should be a new poem created just for this prompt. And do be sure to visit your fellow poets.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to the Tuesday Platform, a place for sharing poetry. How? Link up a poem from your blog, old or new. Then visit, read, and comment on the offerings of others. Simple! Enjoy, and we look forward to reading your work.

Share * Read * Comment * Enjoy

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Micro Poetry ~ Uncomplicated Things

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.

Free Wallpaper
Text Added: © Leonard Cohen

This weekend, our frame of reference is "Uncomplicated Things" - from the second line of the poem, The Moon, by Leonard Cohen. 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, August 17, 2017

Bits Of Inspiration ~ Keep Dancing

Wow! We are swimming in negativity from Facebook posts to news outlets. We can't climb out of the pit if we're always feeding on reasons for walls. So today Toads and visitors we're going to dance.

"Every dance is a kind of fever chart, a graph of the heart". Martha Graham

I actually love to dance. I feel a sense of freedom, joy, courage when I lose myself in movement to a favorite song. It is not about whether I'm good or bad at it. It is about letting go and celebrating who I am without my thoughts pulsing with negativity.

"There is a bit of insanity in dancing that does everybody a great deal of good." -   Edwin Denby

I enjoy watching dancers translate lyrics or story telling through their bodies. For instance Sia's videos are infused with dance. It may look like odd choreography, but no one can doubt the passion in the performance. 

And I won't let you get me down
I'll keep gettin' up when I hit the ground
Oh, never give up, no, never give up no, no, oh
I won't let you get me down
I'll keep gettin' up when I hit the ground
Oh, never give up, no, never give up no, no, oh

Photo by Saksham Gangwar on Unsplash
"Dancing is silent poetry." – Simonides

Today's challenge is to express dance through poetry. Pick a photo, a quote, video...Pick whatever inspires you.  Write a new poem...Post it on Mr. Linky and visit your fellow poets to read their poetic choreography. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

True North - In tandem with Karin and Björn

Hello Toads and Tadpoles,

Happy Wednesday, this is Karin and Björn writing a poem in tandem. We have sent drafts back and forth between us starting from the idea of North. We wanted to share something common between the two of us. and both having connection to Sweden we thought we should use that in the poem and write about what the North means for us. We found that slight differences but also lots in common. Then we are each sharing an image, Karin a wonderful piece of art, and Björn a photo from one of the many rivers of the north.

Copyright ManicDdaily aka Karin Gustafson

True North

My true north was summer, a place where time
melted, where grass grasped
ankles as if they were
best friends, as if grass had arms
and ankles waists, as if it weren’t too hot
to hold tight to anything but
what froze.

Like my tongue, when stuck on frigid steel, I went  
from silence into songs;
when thawed,
belonging with the woodwind, with anemones  
in that loss of night
when dusk made love to dawn
my true north was summer
with strawberries and milk.

And when life drove me past
chosen directions,
I would look for that north
in the spooling pools
of the rear view mirror,
finding again the surprise
of strawberries,
knowing then that a return to grass should hold
no terror.

In the sound of water
in the canvas pitter-patter,
in the thunder and the roar of waterfalls
behind the bending boughs of birches
with every bird
are cairns that lead me north.
Thus I find my footing,
knowing well
I have walked this path before.

Copyright Björn Rudberg

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden...

Book Quotes Pencils
Jane Austen

Greetings to all poets, wayfarers and friends. The floor is open; the platform is yours! 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. Karin and Björn have banded together to bring us a collaborative poem to celebrate the creativity of our Garden environment.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Weekend Mini-Challenge: Out of Your Own Words

Greetings, dear Toads. I hope your day is dancing with words and wonder. I have been doing a lot of editing these last few weeks. And as I reread my work, many lines have stayed with me… whispering to the muse, asking to be written into more.

Today’s prompt sprouted out of those thoughts. I invite you to write a new poem that begins with a line out of your own words. The line can come from a poem, a story, a blog entry, a social media post… Origin doesn’t matter, as long as the words belong to you, and you have published them on a public platform before today. Please add a link to the piece that birthed the line.  
detail from this painting, by Magic Love Crow

 Feed the link to your new poem to Mr. Linky.
Visit other Toads. Love words.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Writing Unseen

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. 

Writing unseen
Today’s prompt is fairly simple.  

Write a poem about something you can’t see fully. Whether it’s the sea monster draped in darkness or just the silhouette of a lover blotted out by the sun, we are all intrigued with the details that exist but escape our sights. 

That's it. The platform is yours. The mic is warm.

Keep in mind
Like every challenge, your poem must by newly written and not one which you have previously written which conveniently fits the theme.

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