Saturday, March 30, 2019

Physics with Björn - Cosmology and expanding horizons

Hello sweet amphibians,

Today it’s time for another topic of physics to inspire you:

Cosmology and the creation of our universe.

Let us pick a few points and see what we know, what we guess and perhaps what a scientific
theory actually means (hint… scientific theory is not guesswork, it is combination of facts).

In 1924 the astronomer Edwin Hubble could show that our home galaxy (the Milky Way)
was just one of many similar collection of stars, and in 1929 he could also prove that the
distance between the galaxies was growing. Hubble never received the Nobel prize in physics
because astronomy discoveries were not awarded until later. His discoveries have since
lead to numerous Nobel awards in Physics.

Image result for edwin hubble
Edwin Hubble

The further away the faster it left us. The only theory that would fit the observations was that
the universe expanded. A theory in science always have to be linked (directly or indirectly)
to some type of observations or predictions that later will be shown.

The consequence of Hubble’s finding was that physicists, and to some extent philosophers
began to ponder the consequences. Any notion that the earth or even our solar system is
the central of our world was shattered even more than when Galileo degraded earth to a
piece of rock circulating the sun.

- Is there any outer border or horizon, and is there any void beyond?
- Since light takes time to travel does the galaxies we see still exist?  
- When the did expansion start, and will it ever stop?

The third question lead to theories where you could find a point in time around 13.8 Billion
years ago when the whole universe was basically aggregated in one single point of origin
from which it then expanded and continue to expand which lead to the big bang theory.

The big bang had actually been proposed already in 1927 by Georges Lemaître, a Belgian
Astronomer and Catholic Priest, and Edwin Hubble’s observations fitted perfectly with a
single moment of creation.

Later on the Big Bang Theory has been both verified with other verifiable facts such as the
observation of the background radiation which was discovered by accident by American
radio astronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson and awarded by the Nobel Prize in 1978.

For me this prize and the excitement around cosmology was probably one factor influencing
me to  study physics, and more and more research has since been made giving details to the
standard model of cosmology (without my contributions). The theory and new observation
has lead to new questions being asked and answers given both by  observations in the sky
and by looking into the deep matter of elementary particle physics (which is beyond this
short article).

So today I would like you to ponder the cosmos, the theories of origin and horizon. Sometimes
when I read about the vastness of the universe I sense the utter loneliness on our little blue
planet we will never move beyond  We are trapped for just a short moment in time in this
little moment in time and space trying to understand that for all practical matter the universe
is infinite.

The prompt is wide open when it comes to form and length, just remember to visit and read.

On Monday the April Madness of everyday poetry begins.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Get Listed: Late March Edition

How should not thy lovers rejoice in thee, 
leader and lord of the year that exults to be born
So strong in thy strength 
and so glad of thy gladness whose laughter puts winter 
and sorrow to scorn?
Thou hast shaken the snows from thy wings, 
and the frost on thy forehead is molten:
thy lips are aglow
As a lover's that kindle with kissing, 
and earth, 
with her raiment and tresses yet wasted and torn,
Takes breath as she smiles in the grasp of thy passion
to feel through her spirit the sense of thee flow.
- from March: An Ode by Algernon Charles Swinburne
(read the full poem here)

Greetings poets, wayfarers and friends. As we bid farewell to the month of March I am reminded of poems by Algernon who was one of the most accomplished lyric poets of the Victorian era. The early critics commended his intricately extended and evocative imagery, metrical virtuosity, rich use of assonance and alliteration, as well as bold and complex rhythms.

For this "Get Listed" edition I want you guys to choose any 3 words that fit best with the mood/theme/personality of your poem on a topic of your choice. For those who would like an added (optional) challenge feel free to throw in a word or two of your own and be sure to mention it somewhere in your post.

  • afternoon                  centuries                 silence                          sugar                        forbidden
  • untried                       dust                        march                          teasingly                      rise
  • primrose                   shadows                  inseparable                    open                        strawberry
  • smudge                      song                        bowl                             yellow                          care

Also, enjoy this musical inspiration by Ariana Grande, I found it to be quite compelling:

Good luck sketching, honing, and naming your masterpiece. I look forward to what you guys come up with. Please do visit others and remember to comment on their poems. Have fun!☕

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Tuesday Platform

I can survive anything even the burnt of failure, the pain that lingers long after circumstances have altered, this and so much more only if I feel loved. 

I stumbled upon an incredibly evocative poem by Peter Cole and was deeply touched by the wisdom in his writing. Born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1957 he has been called "one of the handful of authentic poets of his own American generation" by the critic Harold Bloom. His work both as a poet and a translator reflects a sustained engagement with the cultures of Judaism and especially of the Middle East.

His collections of poetry include Rift (1989), Things on Which I’ve Stumbled (2008), The Invention of Influence (2014), and Hymns & Qualms: New and Selected Poems and Translations (2017). With Adina Hoffman, he wrote the nonfiction volume Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza (2011).

The Ghazal of What Hurt 
by Peter Cole

Pain froze you, for years—and fear—leaving scars. 
But now, as though miraculously, it seems, here you are 

walking easily across the ground, and into town 
as though you were floating on air, which in part you are, 

or riding a wave of what feels like the world’s good will—
though helped along by something foreign and older than you are 

and yet much younger too, inside you, and so palpable 
an X-ray, you’re sure, would show it, within the body you are,
not all that far beneath the skin, and even in 
some bones. Making you wonder: Are you what you are—

with all that isn’t actually you having flowed 
through and settled in you, and made you what you are? 

The pain was never replaced, nor was it quite erased. 
It’s memory now—so you know just how lucky you are. 

You didn’t always. Were you then? And where’s the fear?
Inside your words, like an engine? The car you are?! 

Face it, friend, you most exist when you’re driven 
away, or on—by forms and forces greater than you are. 

I also found an exquisite song by Three Days Grace which goes beautifully with the poem by Cole.

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.


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Weekend Mini Challenge: Nomenclature

Welcome to the Weekend Mini Challenge with Kim from Writing in North Norfolk.

A couple of Saturdays ago I visited the Natural History Museum in London. Saturdays are always very busy, especially in the dinosaur section, so we wandered into the Darwin Centre, where we found the Cocoon, a huge space dedicated to the collecting and naming of new species. Having studied linguistics at university and being a retired English teacher, as well as a writer, I was drawn to this section (apologies for the photograph).

Some of the names given to flora and fauna are little poems on their own, such as Everlasting friendship and Robin-run-the-hedge, as found on this display. I have found some fantastic names given to insects, such as Blue moon butterfly, Dewdrop spider, Tumbling flower and Whirligig beetles. A velvet spider has been named after Lou Reed and scientists have called a prehistoric crocodile Lemmysuchus obtusidens, after Motörhead frontman Lemmy.

I was intrigued by the ways scientists choose names for their discoveries and thought it would make a nice prompt. So today I would like you to write a new poem about how you named something or someone: a child, a pet, a plant - whatever it is you have given a name, tell us about how it came about.

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.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Artistic Interpretations with Margaret - Vintage Treasures - Paintings

Welcome to Artistic Interpretations.   I have recently enjoyed strolling through antique stores.  I enjoy the process, shifting piles, going through postcards, wondering about the history of certain items.  Quilts, Dishes, Paintings, Desks, Decorative items, books... I could wander through some of the stores for hours.  My husband went with me once - said he could have blown through the place in 30 minutes.  We didn't leave for another 2 hours.

I offer you various paintings that attracted my attention.  Interpret the images any way you please.  I have a few more Alcohol Inks to share with you (that was the last challenge) but I will save them for another time.

You may select as many images as you wish, however, please pair each with an original poem.   Link up with Mr. Linky below and then visit the other poets and leave a comment if you can.  We all love the Garden for the awesome opportunity to share with others who enjoy poetry.  I look forward to your Artistic Interpretations!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Tuesday Platform: Let the path go on...

Earth in Pain Painting by Joe Kotas

Ghazal: The weeds may flourish, let the path go on

The weeds may flourish, let the path go on
Even if I am tired, let the caravan move on.

The sun and moon–our ancestors’ guides
Even if they extinguish, let the breeze move on.

O, ruler of the town, what sort of town is this?
The mosques may be closed, let the taverns run on.

Call it faith, or the craft of politics
The art of suicide you taught us well.

So many corpses, how will I shoulder them?
The virtue of bricks you preserved so well.

Bring the shovels, open earth’s layers
Where I am buried, let me know as well.

Khar-au-khas to uthein, raasta to chale, Kaifi Azmi (Translation from

Good day, poets! This is Anmol (alias HA) and I thought of introducing you all to a poet who may not be very known to you. One of the most prominent writers in Urdu, Kaifi Azmi is well renowned for bringing the nuances of Urdu poetry and literature to Indian cinema. He was a member of Progressive Writers' Association, of which other members included such great poets and writers of the subcontinent like Ismat Chughtai, Saadat Hasan Manto, Mulk Raj Anand, Premchand, and Faiz Ahmed Faiz, who still enthrall us with their creative and evocative subjects and themes. It's the birth centenary of Kaifi Azmi this year and thus, I think that there is no better time than this to have a conversation about the idea of socio-political narrative in creative arts.

Recently, I attended a talk by an Indian journalist I really admire, P. Sainath. On writing (primarily journalistic writing), he talked about how important it is for writers to immerse themselves into the great processes of their times. He talked about some such great processes of this century like climate change, big corporations, inequalities still persistent in our society, et al. He talked about engaging with these processes and bringing to foray the very lived human experiences and impacts in what you write. What do you think about the same? How important do you think it is for the creative and literary writers like poets and novelists to engage with such themes and subject matters?

For The Tuesday Platform, share one link to a poem, old or new, by adding it to the linking widget down below. Do not forget to visit others and share your thoughts about their linked poems with them. Have a wonderfully poetic week ahead!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Weekend Mini-Challenge: Homographic Fun

Hola, dear Toads (and other word-loving creatures with deliciously charming smiles). Today, I invite you to play with homographs, or words which share the same spelling but have rather different meanings. Yes, Im referring to words like gay and just and park and “Engage thrusters, Mr. Zulu.” Sorry, my Star Trek reruns binging is starting to show *cough*.

For this weekend mini-challenge, write a new poem that includes one homograph (or more), and (1) use at least two of the homograph’s meanings in your poem (as in “her lips were too close to my mouth for me to close the door in her face without knocking out my teeth”); or (2) use the homograph in your poem in a way which allows two of its meanings to apply (as in “I wish to be close enough to her to kiss her lips without violating her sensibilities or the laws of physics”).

The cloud below includes a bunch of homographs to choose from. You can find more here.

Please add the direct link to your poem to Mr. Linky. Visit other Toads. And have fun, fun, fun with words.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Fireblossom Friday: Ask A Question

Good question!
Hello dear Toads and pond followers. Fireblossom here with another poetry challenge for you. 

Often I stop with this song on my mind:

Willie works as the garden man.
He plants trees. He burns leaves.
He makes money for himself.
Often I stop with his words on my mind--
Do spacemen pass dead souls on their way to the moon?

Which brings me to the idea for this challenge: write a poem which states a question. Oh, not a tired old chestnut like "Do you love me?" (I get that ALL the time. Honest!) Or "How much damage will carbon emissions do to the ecosystem?" Kind of hard to stay poetic with that, and besides, too much earnestness grates. (I was told that by Woody Guthrie. No kidding!) 

There's a novel--the inspiration for a famous movie, I'm told-- called "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?" THAT's the kind of question I want from you, my dear slippery amphibians. 

So, let's review.

RIGHT: What if common crows started talking to me telepathically?

WRONG: What is the square root of 3,444?

REALLY WRONG: Does Johnny/Janey love me?

Okay, my hippity hoppity friends. Go forth and formulate an interesting and original question around which to construct a poem! Then link and become part of an intergalactic hive mind. Oh all right, no hive mind. (But you wouldn't have to ask if they love you.) Writers proceed! 


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Tuesday Platform

March Days Return With Their Covert Light

March days return with their covert light,
and huge fish swim through the sky,
vague earthly vapours progress in secret,
things slip to silence one by one.
Through fortuity, at this crisis of errant skies,
you reunite the lives of the sea to that of fire,
grey lurchings of the ship of winter
to the form that love carved in the guitar.
O love, O rose soaked by mermaids and spume,
dancing flame that climbs the invisible stairway,
to waken the blood in insomnia’s labyrinth,
so that the waves can complete themselves in the sky,
the sea forget its cargoes and rages,
and the world fall into darkness’s nets. 
 ~ Pablo Neruda

I have always wondered where Neruda got his inspiration from when it comes to writing poetry, and admire the way his words reach deep into the soul. What impresses me the most about this poem is its sense of mystery  — that the beloved is somehow a means to the transcendent as one puts his emotions into the bare code of language. The lines; "O love, O rose soaked by mermaids and spume,
dancing flame that climbs the invisible stairway," is nothing less than poetic brilliance as it describes the intensity with which one undergoes a life-changing experience.

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.


Saturday, March 9, 2019

Just One Word: Gormless

Me again, Toads!

Just one word to inspire your poems this weekend:


Can't wait to read your brilliant verse! Don't be dull. :)


Thursday, March 7, 2019

Avant Gardener

Hello, Garden Dwellers!

Let’s take inspiration today from COURTNEY BARNETT.

I adore this woman’s music for so many reasons, chief among them that her lyrics are amazing and to me, often register as narrative poems.

This song in particular tells an epic story that’s a window into a tiny moment but with big observations such as “I’m not that good at breathing in” and “Life’s getting hard in here so I do some gardening/Anything to take my mind away from where it’s sposed to be.” I just adore it.

I chose this live version because of its garden quality but she has an official video for this song and there are other high-quality live versions to be found on YouTube, like this one for example. And many, many other great songs.

If you choose to spend some time with this prompt, I encourage you to listen a couple times and really hear what she is saying. I think it would be inappropriate to copy the entire lyrics on our site, but she has them on her website here, just scroll down a bit and you’ll find them.

I think this is the first song I heard from Courtney Barnett, and now I’m a total convert. Recently she made a record with Kurt Vile that is also completely awesome. Their song Over Everything kinda slays me.

Here is my challenge: Let’s use this song as inspiration to write our own narrative poems about small moments. Or as usual, this prompt is wide open so you can write us a poem inspired by Courtney Barnett, breathing problems, ambulances, being a clever songwriter from Australia, or anything else that comes to mind!