Saturday, December 30, 2017

Meet 2018 with a manifesto

Hello fellow amphibians, this is Bjorn and today in the last quivering hours of 2017 the time has come to both reflect and look ahead. For many of us 2017 will stand out as an Annus Horribilis. I am sure that there have also been a year of positive changes but maybe we tend to focus on negative movements. It’s like weather, we remember the days of hurricanes and rain and forget the many days of sunshine. The good thing about stormy weather is how much we appreciate the days that follows.

What can we do then to make 2018 into an Annus Mirabilis?

Many times we focus on the changes we can do ourselves by giving new year’s resolutions, but having lived some years I have learned how much this means failures. At the end of the day we are all alone in our resolutions, and if we are really successful we might end up with a better body, a happier mind, we might have found a new love or made some improvements to the housed, but we have failed to change the world.

Through history change has been driven through movements, through inspired actions and through art, and at the core of change there is often a declaration or a manifesto.

Today I want you to write a manifesto, for yourself, for a group (real or imaginary), for your writing or for any cause you find important.

Analyzing manifestos we find some common themes:

Name your manifesto to make it clear what you want to achieve. (e.g. Declaration of independence, the Communist Manifesto)
Write it in first person (singular or plural
State the problem but do not dwell too much on what is wrong but focus on what you think is right and what should happen
Use strong language. Use verbs. Start sentences with a pronomen (I will…, we believe…, I have a dream …
If you use metaphors make them clear and not ambiguous. In a manifesto you can (and should) use cliches that are easily understandable
Focus on rhythm and cadence. A manifesto should be written to be spoken.
Use repetitions and rephrase the main points of what you want to change.
Identify any threats and tell us how to deal with them.
You might even quote famous passages from other works and manifestos, like Martin Luther King reminded us of the declaration of independence.
But primarily: try to win me over to your views.

If you want some inspiration why not listen to Martin Luther King

I wish you all a happy new year, and let us make 2018 the best year ever. I will return with my Physics Prompts during 2018.

Thursday, December 28, 2017


Good day, Toads!

To close out 2017 on a high note, I'm happy to introduce one of my favourite new artists:

Who could not love this wonderful, quirky, inspiring woman and her message? Enjoy!

Links for your further reading and listening pleasure!


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to The Garden, dearest Toads and visitors. I hope you’ve been enjoying the Holiday Season. I, as always, have been mourning warm weather (and cursing an achy shoulder). But don’t pay much attention to that, you know what they say about me (and passiflora plants):

In summer,
my potted passiflora envies
trees whose roots run deep
into deliciously wild dirt.
In winter, she holds on
to the lush of her leaves…
grateful she’s not an oak.

Let’s get lost in poetry. Share an old poem or a new poem or, mayhap, a poem that doesn't care about her age (yes, today, all poems are ladies). Visit other Toads. Be merry in word, everyone.

do feel free to use my image
and again, be merry

Saturday, December 23, 2017



That was: Despacito Parang by The Los Alumnos De San Juan Parang Group of Trinidad and Tobago


Si, this is the time of the year when we luv to share
With our friends and family fans and foes
The days are short and longer the atsmosphere
Filled with love and laughter joy and care
Here's what
Look! we getting ready to wend up to Lopinot
The traffic tune up party ready for the show
We going nobody want to miss Los Alumnos
Then! we getting ready to wend up to Paramin
Where five in the morning we still paranging
If you love your parang let me see you do so
If you love your parang let me see you do so
If you love your parang let me see you do so
This is happenning right here in Sweet Trinbago
We getting ready for the birth of Jesucristo
We doing lots of shopping everybody never so much love so
This is how we do it here in sweet Trinbago
We moving house to house we don't have to know you
We eating and drinking everthing you bring yeah...

YOUR CHALLENGE: having heard and wrapped your pens, pencils and key-tapping fingers around the video,
Fashion me your words around the theme 'SLOWLY' in a poem of NOT MORE THAN 100 WORDS

Parang - a genre of Christmas Music from Trinidad and Tobago ...


SO NOW HERE'S Luis Fonsi - Despacito ft. Daddy Yankee


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Writing Exercise (For Days of Little Time/ No Muse)

Hey Toads,

Karin Gustafson, a/k/a Manicddaily, here first to say that I am sorry to have been so absent. It has been a difficult year; I have missed you. 

Today's prompt is a writing exercise for those who are stymied in their writing.  It can also work well for those who aren’t blocked, but may like a little stretch.

I first learned a version of the techniques I use in these circumstances from a book called Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.  

When I feel like I would be much happier writing, but just can't come up with anything (am muse-less, as some like to say),  I find my most useful technique is simply to MAKE myself write; i.e. put a pen to the page.

Pen works better than sock.

Of course, one could put fingers on a keyboard as well.  But if I am really stumped, I find the physical act of writing far more approachable than typing. First, I happen to love the physical flow of cursive; secondly, my handwritten words are too illegible to fully leer back. 

Yes, I know--pen and page and even a ton of will power are sometimes just not enough!  Inevitably, you need something to get you going, a jumping-off point. When I am really stuck, a simple theme is often the best-- a word, a color, a food, a season.

In one of the hardest parts of this past year, I ended up writing a series of short pieces that each “jumped” from a letter of the alphabet.  I would take a letter, let a word beginning with that letter come to mind, and then jump off from that word.  My ultimate piece often had little to do with the jumping off word; it was just a useful starting place.  

So that is my suggestion for today.  Take a letter, let a random word beginning with that letter arise in your mind, and then.... follow my other rules below! 

OTHER RULES!  To give the jump momentum, I rely on a couple of other techniques, which I’m calling “rules” today---(i) on your first draft, keep your pen (or typing digits) moving.  (This is incredibly important if you are “making” yourself write.)  

Also on this first draft: do not cross out; do not go back to fix; simply keep your pen (or fingers) moving ahead. 

Keep the flow going for a certain span of time. Five minutes, ten minutes. It will be useful to set the time in advance.  Do not make your time too long--ten minutes max--otherwise you are asking for too much discipline.   

(Ten minutes later.)  Now, you should have your first draft.  Of course, you should feel free to revise it!  You absolutely should revise it!  At this point, you may turn it into a poem, prose poem, short short story, or (if you are not Shay), even boil it down to a haiku.  Your revisions may take hours, with lots of crossings-out. 

Keep in mind that the point of this prompt is really the exercise, not the particular theme.

So, first, remember that your piece does not need to have anything much to do with your letter or that word that came to mine.  These are only jumping-off points.

Second, please try to use the technique to write something new, and do not use the breadth prompt as an excuse to post a pre-fabbed holiday poem.  (Of course, your piece can be about the holidays!)

Having said all that--have a happy holiday!   

(On the personal front, I have recently published another children’s picture book called “Good Light Room” available on Amazon.  This is my third book of the year!  Other two--Doggone! and Does Melanie Like Melon? --please check them out and my other books as well! Thank you so much!  Finally - all art work here is mine--please do not use without asking!)  

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Greetings to all poets, wayfarers and friends. It's the holiday season and Christmas is right around the corner! It's the time when we're given the opportunity to brighten other people's lives by spreading warmth and joy. Moreover, it's when we bear each other's burden and lighten the load of mind.

I came across this glorious collection of poetry reading by several celebrities, and knew that it would be absolutely perfect to share with you guys this week. Poems such as "If everything happens that can't be done," and "Do not go gentle into that Good Night," tend to make us think more deeply about life. 

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 ahead.

Share * Read * Comment * Enjoy

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Micro Poetry ~ Fire and Ice

“It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

Robert Frost
Greetings to all! The object of this challenge is to write a poem in no more than 10 lines. However, since this is the holiday edition, I will extend the line count to 25.

Our frame of reference is Fire & Ice from the title of Robert Frost's poem. For those who seek further inspiration, click HERE for more of his short form poems.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Of Poems and Fruit

This special feeling towards fruit, its glory and abundance, is I would say universal. We respond to strawberry fields or cherry orchards with a delight that a cabbage patch or even an elegant vegetable garden cannot provoke. - Jane Grigson

Henri Cornelis Bol was born on 10th January 1945, and was a Dutch still life painter. His work was known for its realism and trompe l'oeil technique.  Bol was born and raised in the Southern Dutch city of Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant. He was the eldest son of painter Kees Bol. As I was browsing through his artwork I couldn't help but fall in love with the vibrant colors and intricate details. 

For today's challenge, I want you to write a poem about fruit. Not just any ordinary, everyday item on the dining table but your best-loved; the kind that makes your mouth water and pen savor every last detail. 


by Li-Young Lee

... Ripe ones are soft and brown-spotted.
Sniff the bottoms. The sweet one
will be fragrant. How to eat:
put the knife away, lay down newspaper.
Peel the skin tenderly, not to tear the meat.
Chew the skin, suck it,
and swallow. Now, eat
the meat of the fruit,
so sweet,
all of it, to the heart ... read full poem here.

The Consolation of Apricots

by Diane Ackerman

... Somewhere between a peach and a prayer, 
they taste of well water 
and butterscotch and dried apples 
and desert simooms and lust.
Sweet with a twang of spice, 
a ripe apricot is small enough to devour 
as two hemispheres. 
Ambiguity is its hallmark ... read full poem here.

Choose your own form or write in free verse, if preferred. I look forward to reading what you guys come up with. The link doesn't expire, so please feel free to write more than one poem. Please do visit others and remember to comment on their poems. Have fun!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tuesday Platform

Hello poets and poetry lovers. The end of November and all of December can get very hectic, but I am looking forward to a slow down in just a couple of weeks. I plan on indulging in good books, fine tea and lots of time wrapped in warm throw blankets once my vacation time starts, but until then I will be busy!

If you haven't succumbed to the busy-ness of the season, share something to savor during a quiet moment. 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, December 9, 2017

Fussy Little Forms: Than Bauk

Happy weekend, Toads! Today let’s try the Burmese form called THAN BAUK. It’s a truly little form--smaller than even haiku at 12 syllables--and far fussier because of a strict rhyme scheme. Fun!

The than bauk form is a three-line poem with four syllables each, featuring rhymes in kind of a step pattern like this:
        x x x R
        x x R x
        x R x x

One could chain together several to make a longer poem, like this:
            x x x A
            x x A x
            x A x B
            x x B x
            x B x C
            x x C x
            x C x x

The fun thing about than bauk is that such a short rhyming form allows for a witty expression or epigram. Sharpen your wits!

Here is my attempt at a chained than bauk poem from a couple years back. Not very witty, but maybe expressive:

“She Wishes By the Seashore”

            echoes unwise
            undone alone
            unknown pinkest
            surges cresting
            not best but most


Wikipedia entry for than bauk poems

Poets Garret article with examples

Fun examples at All Poetry website

Let’s have some fun with the short and sweet. Feel free to link one or many verses if the fussy spirit moves you. Enjoy!


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Wordy Thursday with Wild Woman ~ The Silence Breakers

There was a lot to be discouraged about in 2017, but one positive is the rise of the "Me, Too" movement, revealing how many women have experienced some form of sexual abuse, harassment or assault. 

Women's strength and courage is validated by the Time Magazine devoting its cover this week to honour The Silence Breakers. Woman-strong, they stand together to acknowledge the brave actresses naming their abusers. The mighty are falling.

The rise of this movement, during a year when the political regime is trying to roll women's rights back into the 1950's, is stirring our souls. The "Me, too" movement includes just about everyone we know - millions of women are coming into the light of day and speaking out. We are saying "Enough!" 

So this is your moment to howl, my friends. Write your poem about any aspect of women's lives, our voices, our stories, our silencing, and/or our speaking out that you wish. Hear us roar! 

We welcome, of course, the viewpoints of our men poets. It is not only girls and women who suffer. Nobody wins in a climate of fear, oppression and abuse.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Greetings to all poets, wayfarers and friends. I came across this wonderful reading of "The Raven" read by James Earl Jones and couldn't resist sharing it with you guys. Hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I did.

The month of December is upon us, which is the time of lights, snow and feasts. Moreover it's the time when we wave goodbye to the old year and prepare for the onset of another. It's also my birthday month (grins and dances around happily).

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 ahead.

Share * Read * Comment * Enjoy

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Camera FLASH!

Are you ready for the flashbulbs to go off? Here is our photographic challenge for December.

Reginald Southey
Lewis Carroll (1857)
Fair Use

The challenge is wide open to any angle or interpretation.