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.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Wordy Thursday with Wild Woman: Hannah's Boomerang Metaphor Form

Some time back, in 2014, our Toad-friend Hannah Gosselin created an interesting form that I like very much, called the Boomerang Metaphor Form. She began with the "This poem is - " format, and added some intriguing features, in which the first statements are expanded in separate stanzas, and then boomerang around to be repeated  at the end. Here is the premise, as described by Hannah:

Boomerang Metaphors 

* Create three, “This poem is a ____,” statements.

* Support each statement in separate stanzas, (one can choose the length of the supporting stanzas and whether or not to rhyme or employ free verse).

* Restate the statement that’s being supported in the last line of these supporting stanzas, (as mini boomerang metaphor refrains).

* Then name the list of three, “This poem is a _____,” statements again as a boomerang metaphors closing refrain.

Note: One may choose to state the closing refrain slightly morphed but mostly the same. As it seems, words that go out into the world do tend to come back touched – slightly transformed.

* The title encapsulates the three listed elements, “This Poem is a ____, ____ and a _____”

Hannah's brilliant example of her first boomerang poem is sadly not available, as her blog is now private. (I miss her!) So here is my version, to give you a general idea:


This poem is the breath of dawn on a windswept
morning at the edge of the sea.
This poem is a murrelet on the wing.
This poem is a grey whale, spy-hopping.

This poem is misty with early morning fog.
It drapes shawls over the shoulders of
Grandmother Cedar so she won't be chilled.
This poem loves the morning.
It looks to the sky to see all the colours of the day.
This poem is the breath of dawn on a windswept
morning at the edge of the sea.

This poem is a tiny bird who makes her nest
deep in the forest.
This poem must fly great distances,
out to sea and back again,
in order to find sustenance.
This poem sometimes grows tired,
and in need of rest.
Its perch is precarious,
its nesting sites vanishing
along with the old growth.
This poem is sometimes in need of 
rescue and protection.
This poem is a murrelet on the wing.

This poem swooshes up in placid waters,
takes a look around with her wise old eye
and finds that life is good.
This poem is an ancient voice;
she speaks with an old soul.
Then this poem does a series of dives and breaches,
just for the joy of it.
This poem is a grey whale, spy-hopping.

This poem is the breath of dawn, on a windswept
morning at the edge of the sea.
This poem is a murrelet on the wing, heading for home.
This poem is a grey whale, spy-hopping
for the sheer love of living.

                  ***     ***     ***

Well, that is the general gist of it. Smiles. Take a run at it, and feel free to improvise and make it your own. As always, if you don't feel like tackling the whole form, feel free to try another angle. Some people like to simply begin "This poem is -" and proceed from there. 

The main thing is to enjoy the process, whatever you choose to do. Remember, I'm not strict!

Let's see what we come up with.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Tuesday Platform: Cowardice and Courage

I recently took out of its plastic sheet this poetry collection of the prominent Tamil poet and writer, Perumal Murugan, after buying it sometime last year. And it has been such a blessing to read his words, his thoughts that carry the weight of the political and social deprivations and their impact on individual lives on a daily basis. There is anger in it, there is passion in it, there is courage in it, and yes, there is cowardice too, as a powerful sentiment and socio-political statement.

Names of Days

Names of days
have become ruins of antiquity
We can give them new names
by flinging up new words
from the warehouse of language

Week, month, year
all such calculations too will go obsolete
Even day

We shall name a day Cuckoo’s Call
We shall name a day Scattering of Snow
We shall name a day Stone’s Softening
We shall name a day Mountain Peak
We shall name a day Crescent Moon

Each unlike the other, each unlike the other
So many days

We shall name some days
Devil’s Scream
Fool’s Grunt
Corpse’s Stench
And get past them easily

~ 23 February, 2015

Songs of a Coward: Poems of Exile, Perumal Murugan, translated from Tamil by Aniruddhan Vasudevan, Penguin India

Good day, poets! Welcome to Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. For The Tuesday Platform, share one link to a poem, old or new, that you would want all of us to read for its poetic craftsmanship, personal significance, or all-encompassing humanism, et al. This is Anmol (alias HA) and I wish you a beautiful week ahead, with its many opportunities and experiences, and not to forget, the poetics.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Weekend Mini-Challenge: Strange News

Greetings, dear Toads. I hope you are having a fantastic weekend. If not, then I wish you a poetry writing/reading experience that brings pure yumminess to your day.

For today’s prompt, I invite you to be inspired by the following questions, out of the Strange News section of Live Science:

1. What if the moon disappeared tomorrow?
2. Can humans smell beauty?
3. Do trees sleep at night?

Please, write a new poem using one, two, or all three of the questions as your springboard.

Add the direct link to your poem to Mr. Linky. Visit other Toads. Have a lot of fun. Curious about the articles? Read them here: 1, 2, 3.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Shortcake, waffles, berries and cream .. February!

Happy Valentine's Day poets, wayfarers and friends! Winter trees line the avenue as rosy-cheeked and resilient my breath  rises to join the dove-colored sky, for some reason my mind goes to the comfort of hot and steamy brewing coffee.. with the accompaniment of shortcake, waffles, berries and cream. Ha! Don't worry we are not writing about choice of dessert.  

Joseph O Legaspi is a poet born in the Philippines. When he was only twelve, his family immigrated to Los Angeles, California, his life has always been oriented towards writing. Author of the poetry collections Threshold (2017) and Imago (2007), Legaspi has been honored with a poetry fellowship from the New York Foundation of the Arts.


Awkward and dry is love.
A moist kiss simmers as cherry pie.

A peck reddens into poppy.
Several feed like birds in your hands.

The first kiss carries history. The customary roses,
a bouquet received by two.

On the right side of her mouth, she is your mother.
On the left side, she’s the sister you never had.

If delicate yet firm, a kiss can resuscitate the drowned Ophelia;
hurried and open-mouthed, moths flutter out of her body.

A kiss that glides smoothly possesses the pleasant lightness of tea.
If it smudges, prepare yourself for children.

A kiss that roams the curving of the lips,
the tongue still tracing the slopes even
without her near is a poet’s muse.

When bitten on the lower lip—I am your peach—
if she’s left there biting, dangling, she’ll burn the tree.

When she’s sucking your lips as if through a straw
she wants you in her.

Never quite touching, sky and earth bridged
by clouds of breath, speak in recitation:

Because I am the ocean in which she cannot swim,
my lover turned into the sea.

Or cradle her in the cushions of your lips,
let her sleep in the pink.

For today's challenge, I want you to embrace the idea, theme and technique of Legaspi's poem and write one of your own. Your poems don't necessarily have to be mushy and romantic, they can also be solemn and act as a tribute to your loved one. 

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 work. Have fun!🍓

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Tuesday Platform

Queen-Anne's Lace

Her body is not so white as
anemony petals nor so smooth—nor
so remote a thing. It is a field
of the wild carrot taking
the field by force; the grass
does not raise above it.
Here is no question of whiteness,
white as can be, with a purple mole
at the center of each flower.
Each flower is a hand’s span
of her whiteness. Wherever
his hand has lain there is
a tiny purple blemish. Each part
is a blossom under his touch
to which the fibres of her being
stem one by one, each to its end,
until the whole field is a
white desire, empty, a single stem,
a cluster, flower by flower,
a pious wish to whiteness gone over—
or nothing. -William Carlos Williams 

February greeted me with a wink and whispered, "It's love," excitedly into my ear. I use to pride myself and thought I knew what it was, what it felt like and boy was I wrong. Before him I must have dipped into the feeling a few times and tasted passion so much as a single bite. Believe me when I say that I have had a million crushes being the hopeless romantic that I am, but this.. this amazing feeling, this fire and burning sensation in my chest is something out of a Jane Austen novel, is all-consuming and out of this world! This is the real thing.

As for the job unfortunately I didn't get it but it's all right I will keep trying. Lets see what destiny has in store. So tell me, what's happening in your part of the world? 

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.


Saturday, February 9, 2019

Just One Word: Sensation

Hello, Weekend Toads!
Here is just one word to inspire poems for this weekend:

Paul Signac, Opus 217. Against the Enamel of a Background Rhythmic with Beats and Angles, Tones, and Tints, Portrait of M. Félix Fénéon in 1890
Hope everyone is well and happy!  
So far, my 2019 has been dominated by sickness and work deadlines, 
but I think I’m pulling out of it and working toward feeling sensational. 
How about you?


Thursday, February 7, 2019

Thursday- Finding a Moment

Toads!  Manicddaily, Karin Gustafson here, wishing you all well. 

I had a hard time thinking of today’s prompt in part because I have had a hard time lately thinking about poetry.  I wanted the prompt to be something to goad me as much as you, but not through a search of old poems that I might use.  I wanted a prompt that would force me to write something new.

So, here it is:  I’d like you to write about this very moment.  That is, the moment in which you are sitting down (or standing up) to compose your poem.  Ideally, I’d like you to write about that very moment in rhyme or meter--that is, with some element of musicality.  

You can write the merest impression of this moment, or you can tell its fuller story.  This impression or story can, of course, include other moments--moments which led to this moment, or that come to mind in this moment.  Or, you can stick with what feels absolutely present right now. 

In other words, your poem can be a wide-angle lens, or a telescopic; a mirror, a window, a keyhole.   

To get you thinking of the layers of the moment, I include here two time-lapse videos made by a drawing/painting app that I sometimes use.  The one above is the video that resulted from my illustration of my newest (soon-to-be-published) children’s book, called “Baa Baa Briar!” and the one below ifsfrom a book I’ve just published called “Little Dog’s Thirst for Adventure.”  (I hope the uploads work!)   (All rights reserved.)

Note that the fact that you are writing about this very moment does not mean that you can not revise.  You can and should revise before posting, especially for musicality. 

See you on the flip side. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Tuesday Platform: In these times of love and oppression

We are living in strange times. The economic development of the last century has made an intrusive impact in all our lives. Everything has capital value, almost everything is monetized. This economic progress has been accompanied with rising inequalities in the society. I am not for making a proclamation that democracy has failed but I think we may find it so that the neoliberal policies of the modern democracies have rather only exacerbated the many divisions in our society. In recent years, we have also seen the rise of populist leaders in many countries with majoritarian leanings who have come out to exploit these divisions to rise to power. Oppression and repression on the basis of economic class, race, skin colour, sexual and gender identities, caste, religion, et al. haven't abated even when we are almost two decades through the 21rst century.

When anyone talks about love in this age and time with me, I can not help but remember Faiz Ahmad Faiz and the combination of romanticism with his revolutionary ideas in many of his works. Here is a translation of one of Faiz's most popular poems, "Mujh se pahli si muhabbat mire mahboob na maang" (translated by Kashmiri-American poet, Agha Shahid Ali):

Don't Ask Me for That Love Again

That which then was ours, my love,
don't ask me for that love again.
The world then was gold, burnished with light --
and only because of you. That's what I had believed.
How could one weep for sorrows other than yours?
How could one have any sorrow but the one you gave?
So what were these protests, these rumors of injustice?
A glimpse of your face was evidence of springtime.
The sky, wherever I looked, was nothing but your eyes.
If You'd fall into my arms, Fate would be helpless.

All this I'd thought, all this I'd believed.
But there were other sorrows, comforts other than love.
The rich had cast their spell on history:
dark centuries had been embroidered on brocades and silks.
Bitter threads began to unravel before me
as I went into alleys and in open markets
saw bodies plastered with ash, bathed in blood.
I saw them sold and bought, again and again.
This too deserves attention. I can't help but look back
when I return from those alleys --what should one do?
And you still are so ravishing --what should I do?
There are other sorrows in this world,
comforts other than love.
Don't ask me, my love, for that love again.

"Mujh se pahli si muhabbat mire mahboob na maang", Faiz Ahmad Faiz, tr. by Agha Shahid Ali

This is Anmol (alias HA) and I welcome you all for a wonderful week of poetics ahead at this Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. I would definitely recommend Faiz and Agha Shahid Ali to all those who haven't read them before. For The Tuesday Platform, share one link to a poem, old or new, that you would like all of us to read. Do not forget to visit the linked-up verses of others. Reading and sharing our thoughts with each other inculcates that sense of community here that we all cherish so much. I look forward to reading you all. Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Art FLASH! / 55

"He felt a strange sense of relief as he watched the documents fly off into the street.."

For this weekend's art collaboration, I am introducing David Bülow, Danish architect and imaginer in ink. David has kindly given permission for us to use his amazing piece,
The Turning Point, for our poetic inspiration.

The Turning Point
David Bülow
Used with Permission

If you repost the image on your blog, please give attribution to David, using the following link:

Feel free to pay a visit to @bulow_ink on Instagram or the  Bulow Ink website where more of his amazing pieces are to be viewed, but not used for this prompt.

If you post your poem on Instagram, using David's image, please tag @bulow_ink and mention him as the collaborative artist in your post.

There are no restrictions placed on this challenge: Let the image speak to you and respond in a poetic or prose form of your choosing: Literal! Figurative! Reflective! Narrative! Symbolic!

As an alternative, you may write a Flash 55 inspired by the photograph, or on a subject of your choice, as we keep the memory of Galen alive, and send our love and support to Hedgewitch, during her time off from hosting.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Instructions for Living a Life ~ A Tribute to Poets of Our Time

Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. ~ Mary Oliver

January 2019 is the month when the world lost the voice that will always be Mary Oliver. The death of a poet, one of our time, always strikes a chill of fear into my heart..
I ask the question: Who remains? In compiling this writing prompt, I initially had in mind a way in which we could all pay tribute to a poet who inspired with her gentle wisdom and perception of the human condition, but we have been given the opportunity to do so already in other posts.

Then I got to thinking: Why do we only really Pay Attention to a poet's body of work once they have passed away? So I returned to my question: Who remains? Who is the poet - still living -  who speaks to you in a profound way? Therefore, for this challenge, I wish you to share a quote from a contemporary poet's work and write a poem as a tribute to his/her style, voice, themes, wisdom.

"I sometimes hold it half a sin
To put in words the grief I feel;
For words, like Nature, half reveal
And half conceal the Soul within.

But, for the unquiet heart and brain,
A use in measured language lies;
The sad mechanic exercise,
Like dull narcotics, numbing pain.

In words, like weeds, I'll wrap me o'er,
Like coarsest clothes against the cold:
But that large grief which these enfold
Is given in outline and no more.”

Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam

Here are a few poets to consider, but please feel free to choose your own favourite and follow Mary Oliver's advice: Be astonished. Tell about it.

Margaret Atwood

Jane Hirshfield

Robert Bly

W.S. Merwin

Billy Collins

Roger McGough

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Tuesday Platform


I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling fingertips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!

There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.

There is something about poems by Elizabeth Bishop that stir my soul and my muse from time to time. Greetings poets, wayfarers and friends, it's a beautiful day here and I am looking forward to reading poetry with a cup of coffee.

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.


Saturday, January 26, 2019

Weekend Mini Challenge: Sarcastic Percussion

Image result for how to be a woman caitlin moran
Welcome to the Weekend Mini Challenge with Kim from writinginnorthnorfolk.

I have been reading How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. It’s a humorous book by one of my favourite journalists, whose Saturday column in The Times Magazine is a weekly read for me. I’ve also been listening to the serialisation on BBC Radio 4, which has had me laughing out loud.

One phrase that jumped out at me this week is ‘sarcastic percussion’. As I rolled it around my tongue, wondering what sarcastic percussion might sound like and pondering all of its interpretations, my mind threw up a couple of other similar phrases, such as ‘vitriolic violins’ and ‘optimistic flutes’. All of which led me to this week’s prompt:

Choose an instrument, give it a characteristic adjective or a personality, and write a poem about it, in any form of your choice. It doesn’t have to be about the instrument or music. But it must include a phrase like ‘sarcastic percussion’. You can take it wherever you want – I can’t wait to see what you make of it!

Using the poetic cymbal of your finger, join in by clicking on Mister Linky and filling in your name and url – not forgetting to tick the small ‘data’ box. And please remember to read and comment on other toads’ poems – I’m hoping for an exotic orchestra of poetry!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Bits of Inspiration ~ Poet Discovery

Hello Toads and visitors! I'm excited to introduce you to a poet I discovered over the holidays. Her name is Jessica Helen Lopez. I am currently reading her poetry collection, Always Messing With Them Boys, and she hit me with wow from the first poem. She is sassy, bold, frank and was the former City of Albuquerque Poet Laureate and the Poet-in- Residence for the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History from 2014 to 2016. I could go on and on about her, but for brevity you can learn more about her here.

Image result for jessica helen lopez

Today I want to focus on her poem, Mama is a Poet

"oh silly mama 
why are you always scratching
words out of your head,
like nighttime pulgas, like old-school
rollers wrapped around the pelos of your bangs,
pink little pieces of crazy?"

(Translations: pulgas - fleas, pelos-hair)

And again I say Wow!  For today's challenge I want you to express why you write poetry. There are so many ways to approach it. What it means to you. How you began. Critics who don't get your journey. Be bold about it. (In case you don't know it. You are already bold. Anyone who places their work on the internet knows it is available for the world to read. Kudos to all of you!)

As always share a new poem inspired by this challenge, drop it into Mr. Linky, and visit your fellow poets to read why they write poetry.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Tuesday Platform: The Departed

As many of you must have come to know, the Pulitzer-prize winning poet Mary Oliver passed away last week at the age of 83. She leaves behind a treasure trove of more than 15 poetry and essay collections and a legacy that is going to last for many generations to come. As we remember the much-loved poet, I am sharing her elegy to her soulmate, Molly Malone Cook, which captures the nature of a human relationship in such an empathetic and curious voice — can we really say that we know someone in their entirety?:


All of a sudden she began to whistle. By all of a sudden
I mean that for more than thirty years she had not
whistled. It was thrilling. At first I wondered, who was
in the house, what stranger? I was upstairs reading, and
she was downstairs. As from the throat of a wild and
cheerful bird, not caught but visiting, the sounds war-
bled and slid and doubled back and larked and soared.

Finally I said, Is that you? Is that you whistling? Yes, she
said. I used to whistle, a long time ago. Now I see I can
still whistle. And cadence after cadence she strolled
through the house, whistling.

I know her so well, I think. I thought. Elbow and an-
kle. Mood and desire. Anguish and frolic. Anger too.
And the devotions. And for all that, do we even begin
to know each other? Who is this I’ve been living with
for thirty years?

This clear, dark, lovely whistler?

Cook, Molly Malone, and Mary Oliver. Our World. Beacon Press, 2009.

I would like to remember David Bowie as well who passed away in the month of January two years back. There is something so tragic about this time when the light either feels too sharp or too dim and everything seems to be jostling for space as plans are made, truths laid out bare, dreams relinquished in favour of destiny, as we look ahead to the many months to come and mark our bodies and souls with the ash of time.

This is Anmol (alias HA) with a rather somber note but please don't mind me. We have a wonderful week ahead full of poetics and we shall start it with certain gratefulness for all that such artists and poets have given to us. For The Tuesday Platform, link up one poem, old or new, to the linking widget down below. Do not forget to visit other poets and share your thoughts with them. Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Weekend Mini-Challenge: Mustn’t Be Fancy

Mary Oliver, that wondrous word-loving mind who just crossed The Veil, said that poetry “mustn’t be fancy.” According to her, “whatever isnt necessary shouldnt be in a poem.”

For todays prompt, I invite you to write a new poem with Mary Oliver’s words in mind. Let’s craft poetry that wastes no words.  

illustration by Deanna Halsall

Add the direct link of your poem to Mr. Linky. Delight in other Toads’ fancy-free contributions. Have a world of fun. Ink a mental wave for our Mary.