Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Tuesday Platform: The Frontier of Writing (Poems in April ~ Day 30)

From the Frontier of Writing

The tightness and the nilness round that space
when the car stops in the road, the troops inspect
its make and number and, as one bends his face

towards your window, you catch sight of more
on a hill beyond, eyeing with intent
down cradled guns that hold you under cover

and everything is pure interrogation
until a rifle motions and you move
with guarded unconcerned acceleration--

a little emptier, a little spent
as always by that quiver in the self,
subjugated, yes, and obedient.

So you drive on to the frontier of writing
where it happens again. The guns on tripods;
the sergeant with his on-off mike repeating

data about you, waiting for the squawk
of clearance; the marksman training down
out of the sun upon you like a hawk.

And suddenly you're through, arraigned yet freed,
as if you'd passed from behind a waterfall
on the black current of a tarmac road

past armor-plated vehicles, out between
the posted soldiers flowing and receding

like tree shadows into the polished windscreen.

© 1987 Seamus Heaney

Good day, poets! Here we are — the last day of the Poetry Month — it must be a big sigh of relief for some of us while others may be pondering over the products of this harvest. At this juncture, I think it would be beautiful to acknowledge all the creative labour that goes into writing as we celebrate the end of this month. So, let's have a round of applause for all of us, for all those who managed to see 30 days through, for all those who let the muse work it out for them because one absolute number (of days or of poems) doesn't really matter, for all those who read and supported their poet friends, and for all those who write in any way and anytime they want.

This is Anmol (alias HA) and I welcome you all to The Tuesday Platform at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. This is an open-link arena which means that you can add a link to a poem, old or new, in the widget down below. While you do so, do not forget to visit others' posts and share your words/comments with them. Here is the optional challenge for the last day of the marathon:

Write a poem in praise of a source of inspiration — your muse, your life, your own web of thoughts, your dreams or sleeplessness, your daily tasks, a favourite artist or musician, nature and environment, et al. Also, let's keep it between 30-60 words — there is a certain beauty in brevity after all.

I look forward to reading your take. Happy Writing!

P.s. We go back to our regular schedule of prompts from tomorrow onward. You can check it out here.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Poems in April - Asking Questions

Today we are very close to the end of the April challenge of writing poems, and I wanted to bring up the subject of questions in poetry, and the preference is for short poetry.

Let me start with three examples for having this prompt

My first example comes from the Douglas Adams’, “Hitchhiker’s guide to the Universe”, where the answer is given as 42, but what question is it that gives the answer, to some extent that is one of the basic ideas from which to spin the novels.

The second example comes from politics, where we expect the politicians giving us answers when they should rather be asking us questions to form our future, i think only by asking the right questions can we get to the right answers.

The third example is from Poetry and Pablo Neruda’s “Book of questions” where he provokes us by asking questions, sometimes leading us to the answer, sometimes being totally open ended.

Tell me, is the rose naked
or is that her only dress?

I think especially open questions leads us to think, where answers leads blocks our thinking often in a dividing manner.

So the challenge today is quite simply, write a poem consisting only of questions.

If you want to take it to the next level, why not write your own answer to the question(s) in the form of a response to your own questions.

Let’s have fun and share our thoughts with questions, remember to read and visit other poet’s writing.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Poems in April - Photographic Images Reimagined

Unidentified Woman ca. 1950's - Walter Silver Photographs

Congratulations if this is your 28th day of National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo).  I fell off the wagon halfway through April, but I enjoyed the ride while it lasted.  I am here to offer those on or off the "April" Poetry wagon a poetic challenge.

These images are free to download and use.   I linked the sites and you are also free to choose one for yourself if these don't inspire you creatively.    

I would like you to interpret your chosen image one of three ways:

1)  Use an ekphrastic writing approach by closely observing the photo. (vivid description)

2)  Create a narrative beyond the frame and reimagine the photo (storytelling)

3)  Interpret or impart an impression of sentiment or promise from the photo

The kiss, Terre Haute, Ind./ Clarence H. White 1904
Inez Milholland - Suffrage parade
About this lady: HERE

House with trees and clothesline - Walter Silver Photographs

Milkyway over Lassen National Park, USA - Thomas Ciszewski

Play for Me - Ian Dooley

Saturday, April 27, 2019

In a Station of the Metro

Today is the 27th of the NAPOWRIMO! Only three more days until the end.  Some of us are starting to look a little bedraggled and tired but still we press on.  To help us towards the end, I give you a poem prompt by no less than Ezra Pound; it is about … The Big End, so to speak.

In a Station of the Metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd:
Petals on a wet, black bough.

To say it is brief is one thing, to say it is breathtaking and thought provoking is yet another thing. In two lines Pound gives us a vision of ghosts - the faces whipping past us in the stroboscopic light and he gives us a vision of the after world.  The subway car becomes Charon's boat rowing the dead across the River Styx.  He also gives us a feel of mono no aware (mo*no no ah*wah* ray) - the Japanese words for "sadness or wistfulness at the passing of things"- the seasons, leaves rotting, the last sip of tea, the kiss before dying.  The Japanese have written literally millions of poems about cherry blossoms - all the with the tang of mono no aware mixed in with the sweetness of the blossoms and their inevitable brief life and death.

Your prompt for 27th day of NAPOWRIMO:  Write a two line poem in which you convey some startling image, an image that juxtaposes two images.  That is all.  Make is stark, make it beautiful, make it heartbreaking, make it full of humor.  The choice is yours.

See you at the end!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Reboot, Rewind, Recycle, Rebirth - Poems in April

Reboot, rewind, retool, recycle, rebirth.

And take a deep breath.  (If you have been doing a poem a day in April, take several! )

I split my time between City and mountains and am very conscious of the movement of the seasons, in part because I get to see them twice--spring in city parks and then (some weeks later) in the country. Seeing rewinds of spring (and autumn too) makes me acutely aware of the recharging of the landscape in those times. (Last weekend--rainy-- the landscape upstate changed from brown to emerald in the course of a few hours.) 


The prompt is to write about those moments of re-charging, rebooting, re-winding, re-birthing.  It is meant to be as general as possible --meaning, please don’t write about spring or fall  (unless you actually want to.) 

There are plenty of other moments when rebooting or rebirthing may happen (a deep breath, a swallowed word, a spoken word, maybe even just a bathroom break! )  

These may be very long moments, involving several years of swallowed or spoken words (and innumerable bathroom breaks) or a second's epiphany. 

In writing your poem, please try to be with the moment or experience that you write of, and not to write of generalities. (Note, this prompt is not to write about bathroom breaks unless those are especially meaningful to you! But any moment of breaking and remaking.) 

If you can’t think of anything, take an old poem and retool it!

For fun--but not as a particular part of the prompt, I set forth here three drawings on paper (ink and watercolor). All of these were done on top of old pen and ink drawings, in part as a way of recycling paper.  If you do use one, please reference that they are the work of Karin Gustafson.) 

Have a good day, and many congratulations to those of you who have been doing the poem a day in April--you are almost done!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Kerry Says ~ Let's Be Imagists!

The Sea and it's Raining. I Missed You So Much
Artist: Wura-Natasha Ogunji
33rd Bienal de São Paulo
Photograph: Kenia Santos

“The point is that you start with any image … Contemplate it and carefully observe how the picture begins to unfold or to change. Don’t try to make it into something, just do nothing but observe what its spontaneous changes are. Any mental picture you contemplate in this way will sooner or later change through a spontaneous association that causes a slight alteration of the picture. You must carefully avoid impatient jumping from one subject to another. Hold fast to the one image you have chosen and wait until it changes by itself. Note all these changes and eventually step into the picture yourself, and if it is a speaking figure at all then say what you have to say to that figure and listen to what he or she has to say.” ~ C.G. Jung

The Sea and it's Raining. I Missed You So Much
Artist: Wura-Natasha Ogunji
33rd Bienal de São Paulo
Photograph: Kenia Santos

Imagism was born in England and America in the early Twentieth Century. A reactionary movement against Romanticism and Victorian poetry, Imagism emphasized simplicity, clarity of expression, and precision through the use of exacting visual images. The movement was rooted in ideas first developed by English philosopher and poet T. E. Hulme, who, as early as 1908, spoke of poetry based on an absolutely accurate presentation of its subject, with no excess verbiage. [Source]

The challenge for today's poem is to follow the advice of Carl Jung: "The point is you start with any image..." and tell us what it has to say to you. Remember the key points of simplicity, clarity and precision.

Kenia Santos kindly allowed me to use her photos from her visit to the 33rd Bienal de Sao Paulo, as well as this link to a video clip on Facebook, which features this Contemporary Artwork by Wura-Natasha Ogunji. If you use an image on your blog, please use the accreditation used beneath the picture. If you display the image on Instagram please tag @kenia.cs. Kenia blogs at An Exercise in Existing

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Wordy Wednesday With Wild Woman: Natural Wonders

A wax rubbing of tree rings and a human fingerprint.
This astounds me.

Our respiratory system, the bronchial tree, 
looks like an upside down tree inside us. 
And trees are the lungs of the planet.

Nature constantly astonishes me. Everything is interconnected in a grand  design that I believe cannot be random. These images show us we are part of a very large system, bigger than we realize, with patterns that are repeated in nature and in our bodies. 

Scientists have discovered a whole universe inside the cell. They tell us that the genetic structure inside our tiny cells - our DNA - stores information about all the species on earth equivalent to 12 sets of Encyclopedia Britannica!* This blows me away.

For today's prompt, the sky's the limit. Write a poem about one of nature's wonders, anything that especially amazes you, big or small. 


Go bigger: tell us how all of its breathtaking design makes you catch your breath in awe. Amaze us with the wonders all around us. Help us see them with new eyes.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Tuesday Platform: Gather around for some ghost stories (Poems in April ~ Day 23)

I Felt A Funeral In My Brain
 by Emily Dickinson

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading - treading - till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through -

And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum -
Kept beating - beating - till I thought
My mind was going numb -

And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space - began to toll,

As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange Race,
Wrecked, solitary, here -

And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down -
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing - then -

Greetings poets, wayfarers and friends. 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.

If you are participating in the poem-a-day challenge and looking for inspiration then here is an optional prompt for you. Write a horror poem that makes one taste the dark in broad daylight. Follow this link to a list on Goodreads for further inspiration.

Choose your own form or write in free verse, if preferred. I look forward to reading what you guys come up with on Day 23 of the month-long adventure. Happy Poeming!🥀


Monday, April 22, 2019

Beware of Poor Substitutions !

No, you can't use THIS one. Because I said so.
You remember. I know you do! The bestie running up to you while you're at your locker and with a mixture of glee and horror, she says. "We've got a sub today!" (Visions of mayhem and slaughter ensue.) Well....you've got a sub today. My name is Fireblossom and I'll be substituting for Anmol. No I don't know why. Yes, he will be back. 

This one's nice.
My ride is in the teacher's lot. With an armed guard, so don't get any ideas.
Okay then. You in the third seat, what is your name? Kerry? Well Kerry, I'd like you to hand me that note, please. Kerry, I saw Marian pass it to you. Uh, I wouldn't swallow it if I were you. You could--well, too late. Let me know if you need to go see the nurse. Now, you there in the back, your name please? Bjorn? Bjorn, please put away that physics book. This is poetry class. Okay, you by the window, that's enough about the man from Nantucket. 

You will have 10 mins to complete this assignment. Oh all right, take as long as you need.
Sliding low in your seat won't get you out of this.
All right. Over many years, I-- that will be enough eye rolling and fake snoring, thank you very much. Now then. As I was saying, over many years I have used a host of images to go with my poems and OW! My eye! No more spitballs! My goodness you are a band of hellions if I ever saw one. 

Oh how nice! A little birdy at our window!
Has someone been fooling with my coffee? Very funny.

You can write to the song, too, if you want.
I think I had better just get to your assignment. Excuse me, Toni...it's Toni, right?...excuse me, but I am not a "witless old biddy." Please go to the principal's office. NOW. *sigh* All right. Your assignment is to choose one of the images provided--taken from my Word Garden blog--and write your own poem about whatever the image says to you. No, Izy, it does NOT say, "split and go have a smoke." My word. Just write. PLEASE. Then link. Then visit. Then someone PLEASE put out the fire in the waste basket. Thank you, Brendan. Lucky you had water handy. ;-)
For you sensitives, in case you come out from the coat closet!
PS--Thank you for being such a fine group. You are, one and all, the best.