Monday, September 30, 2019

Try Everything!

Hello poets and poetry lovers! Firstly, a big thank you to all of the Toads, who through the years have given me the freedom and inspiration to keep exploring different ways of expressing myself. You've encouraged me to keep trying everything, and I'm a better writer and poet for the experience.

In this, my pentultimate prompt for the Garden, I'd like to celebrate that sense of exploration and ask that we all stretch ourselves a bit. No, not yoga (though I do recommend giving that a whirl if you haven't tried it). I'm asking you to break out of your poetic comfort zone and either try a subject or a poetic format you haven't explored too often (or at all). For instance, if you've been working on bite sized poetry bits, try something longer. If you noticed you've been all about love poems lately, try writing about something that makes you angry. Have you mostly been sticking to forms heavy on structure? Try something a little more free form.

Do show your fellow Toads a little love on their poetic explorations and start up a conversation in their comments section. Happy writing!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Weekend Mini Challenge: Maladroit

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

Often when I'm reading, I come across a word that I would love to use in a poem and make a note of it for future reference. I recently wrote down ‘maladroit’, a word I have seen before, but this was the first time it made an impression on me - it may have been the context or my mood on the day I wrote it down.

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines ‘maladroit’ as an adjective meaning awkward in movement or unskilled in behaviour or action (clumsy) with the following example sentence:
‘She can be a little maladroit in social situations.’

Image result for the albatross by charles baudelaire
Image found on
Like many of the more interesting words in the English language, ‘maladroit’ comes from Old and Middle French: ‘mal’ meaning bad and ‘a droit’ meaning right, direct, straight or properly.

Charles Baudelaire used the term in the second stanza of his poem ‘L’albatros’ (he Albatross) from his collection Fleurs du mal (Flowers of evil), which you can read in French, together with various English translations, here:

I found a great poem on Poem Hunter by Rebecca Kingswell, entitled ‘Maladroit Mechanisms’, which you can read here:

This weekend, I would like you to write a new poem with the title ’Maladroit’ which conveys clumsiness, awkwardness and anything associated with that condition or feeling.

Here's a song from the Maladroit album by Weezer:

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.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Bits of Inspiration ~ The Colors in a Song

Today we are gong to experiment with Synesthesia, particularly the color of music. A while back I listened to The Well Podcast, produced by Anson Mount and Branan Edgens who had Melissa McCracken as a guest. She said when she was fifteen she had a navy blue phone and she wanted a ringtone that would match it, a warm color to go with the cool color to balance it. She was looking through her iTunes and saw a Michael Jackson song, Cheater, and thought well, the song was orange so it would work perfectly. When she brought it up to a friend he had no clue what she was talking about. A couple of years later she discovered she had Synesthesia. To sum it up as simply as I can, when Melissa listens to music she sees it in colors. Immediately I thought about the psychedelic 60's. (No, not the mind bending drug part, the color part.) The psychedelic art combined with music.

So all this brings me to today's challenge. I have provided the following songs and I want you to choose one and listen to it. Visualize the lyrics, the music, and discover what colors you see or what colors come to mind and write a poem from that color wheel. Please indicate which song you chose. (If the videos don't show up in the post for you, choose a song, listen to it and find the color(s) it brings to mind. Please indicate your song choice.)

So my toad friends after you've word colored a song into a poem, visit your other poet friends to read (see) the colors in their poems. 

Friday, September 20, 2019


For your weekend mini-challenge, re-visit your grandmother’s kitchen. Was it your safe place? Is there one item that stands out for you, when you remember being in that warm, bright room?

Tell us about it, any form, any length. Take us back there. Make us see it. How did you feel, as a child, back then, in your grandmother’s kitchen?

Monday, September 16, 2019

Out of Standard: Gimme (fallout) shelter

Greetings Garden Dwellers!

It's time for the Out of Standard, where you'll dig into the farthest reaches of your imagination to create something unexpected. 

Gimme (fallout) shelter
To level set, a fallout shelter is a building or other structure designed to protect people from radioactive fallout after a nuclear explosion. Here in the states, they were quite popular in the 50's-60's during our cold war with Russia. 

For this prompt, imagine you are living alone in a fallout shelter.  Write a poem that encompasses you daily routine. 

While this seems pretty specific, there is lots of room for you to play. A few considerations:

  • Why are you living in the shelter? Has there been a disaster, or are you just paranoid? 
  • How big is your shelter?  Did you build a huge, underground facility with plenty of space or did you dig a small hole in your backyard?
  • What sort of things have you taken care to stock? Do you have a room full of nutrient-rich canned goods, or did you decide to stock Twinkies and cakes?
  • What sort of routines have you decided to skip now that it is just you?

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.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Guest Listed! with Helen Dehner

It’s fitting Kerry invited this ‘old toad’ to guest in September, my birth month ~  Seventy-eight and still kicking!

I spent the majority of 2018 caring for my son Carl. Four emergency room visits, surviving sepsis, liver and colon abscesses, three hospitalizations, three surgeries. Seven months of terror, stress and finally celebrating his recovery. 

Helen and Carl

Poetry took a back seat to everything else in my life.  I joined a book club in January, back to volunteering in Community Theatre (props, costumes, backstage crew) and will join an acapella women’s singing group in October.  Oh! And I am learning to play the harmonica, channeling Bob Dylan (Okay, I am laughing out loud) who also celebrated seventy-eight in May.

Crater Lake
Bend, Oregon

Here is the list of words to choose from, which reflects much of our September Book Club choice “My Dear Hamilton” by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie. Eliza’s story is fascinating, as is learning more about the political climate and lives of our founding fathers.

I look forward to reading your poems, any form .. any length. I enjoy all of you immensely. Please use 3 or more words in a new poem written for this challenge.


Friday, September 6, 2019

Art FLASH / 55

For this weekend's art collaboration, I am introducing an illustrator in mixed media, Cat Schappach, who is a marvel of dark surrealism. She has kindly given permission for us to use her piece entitled Seamstress.


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

Feel free to pay her a visit on Instagram, where more of her artworks are to be viewed, but not used for this prompt, or follow this link to her Etsy page.

If you post your poem on Instagram, using Cat's image, please tag @catschappach and mention her as the collaborating artist in your post.

Let the image speak to you and respond in a poetic form of your choosing: Literal! Figurative! Reflective! Narrative! Symbolic!

As an alternative, you may write a Flash Fiction 55 inspired by the art, or on a subject of your choice, in memory of Galen, who first imagined this challenge. Prose is acceptable but must be within the limit of 55 words!

From September, the weekend challenge will post early on Friday. I wish to remind all participants that this linky does not expire and the post remains open and at the top of the page until Monday. If you link early, please return to read other poems linked up after your own.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Wordy Monday with Wild Woman: Castle Ruins, Lowering Skies........Tell us a Story!

The Moors, North Yorkshire

The Moors, the lowering skies, the ruins of a castle, 
the ghosts of times long past, the phantom tinkling of a piano, 
and ............. Go!

This prompt seems ideal for taking a page out of
Magaly's book. 
Tell us a story - in either poetry or prose - 
in 313 words or less.