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.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Weekend Mini Challenge: Boats

Welcome to the Weekend Mini Challenge with Kim from!

When I was a child, the only boats I knew were the pedal boats in the local park and those in songs, like ‘The Skye Boat Song’:

The Skye Boat Song


Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing,
Onward, the sailors cry.
Carry the lad that's born to be king
Over the sea to Skye.

Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar,
Thunderclaps rend the air,
Baffled our foes stand by the shore,
Follow they will not dare.


Though the waves leap, soft shall ye sleep,
Ocean's a royal bed.
Rock'd in the deep Flora will keep
Watch o'er your weary head.


Burned are our homes, exile and death,
Scattered the loyal man.
Yet ere the sword, cool in the sheath,
Charlie will come again.


This song is about Bonnie Prince Charlie’s escape, when Flora Macdonald took him, disguised as a serving maid, from Uist to Skye in a small boat.

Even on our annual days out at the seaside, I had never seen or been on a boat. That is until I went on a school trip to the Isle of Wight and we had a tour of the HMS Victory before getting on the ferry. 

The first time on a boat I felt seasick but later, when I was a teenager and moved to Germany, I took many ferries and started to enjoy all kinds of boat trips. When I moved back to England and moved to Twickenham by the River Thames, I used to take a small rowing boat ferry across to Ham. I now live on the Norfolk Broads, where I see boats every day. When my husband and I travel abroad, we tend to favour river tours of cities.

I love boats, which is why this weekend I’d like you to write about a boat. It could be a boat you’ve owned; one on which you’ve taken a trip; a famous boat; a dream boat – it’s up to you, as long as your poem is a new one and it has a boat in it.

Happy sailing!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fireblossom Friday : "The Distorted Lens"

Bertha Mason, the madwoman in the attic in "Jane Eyre."
Hello, poets. Fireblossom here with another Fireblossom Friday writing challenge for you. This time we're going to put our faces right up to the eyepiece and look at things through a distorted lens.

What happens if we can't trust our senses, or our mind's ability to interpret what they convey? Sometimes an illness or a brain injury can result in some very peculiar states of mind. Oliver Sacks reports about a man who believed that everyone in his life was an exact--yet false--duplicate of the people they pretended to be. It turned out that the pathways in his brain that connected facial recognition with emotional response had been compromised. As a result, this man saw faces he knew, but did not feel anything about them and so concluded that they had to be fakes.  

A stroke victim may lose "right" or "left" altogether, depending upon which side of the brain has been damaged. In her book "Left Neglected", Lisa Genova--author of "Still Alice"--writes about a (fictional) woman who has completely lost the notion of "left." Half the world ceases to exist for her.  

Mental illness can also certainly distort a person's understanding of the world around them. Such conditions as depression, paranoia, schizophrenia and dementia, not to mention alcoholism and drug addiction, can turn the world into a dark or absurd landscape.

So, your task is to write from the point of view of someone who is seeing reality through a distorted lens.  New poems only. No haiku because I have a deathly fear of Oriental forms. Enjoy. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

There is one rule for The Tuesday Platform: SHARE.

Share a poem with us.
Share some time reading poems this week.
Share your thoughts when moved to do so.

Easy! Enjoy!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Weekend Mini-Challenge: Juice

Recently my little house in Central Florida was bamboozled, flummoxed and baroccocoed by the passing of Hurricane Irma, a grand dame of massive wind and climate shame. The good news is that except for a bad night of rock 'n' roaring round the rafters of our house and a leaky upstairs deck door (fixed, finally, with a redneck repair of duct tape), we got through fine. Lots of branches down and, like millions of others up and down the state, no power for days.

The world changes without juice—contemporary human life is powered-up, online, air conditioned and refrigerated; such things define our suburban dailiness. No clocks, no microwave, no reading lamps, no Internet and only sparing use of cell phones and laptop, preserving precious percentages of remaining juice. No TV, no DVR, no Netflix or HBO on streaming. Without these essentials, the day reverts back to natural rhythms and definitions. Inside and outside lose most of their difference. Time slows. Night ends day and not much happens until the next coming day.

In a powered-down town, houses at night are afterthoughts and stars are amazing.

Last night, thirty seconds before my wife went over the edge wondering when those idiot lazy power crews would get their act together—mid-sentence, actually, of her extravagant diatribe against Those Who Control The Juice—right then, all the lights sprang to life and a resounding cheer sounded up and down our block. We left our half-eaten takeout dinner on the porch and rushed inside to turn on lights and a/c and TV. And just like that, the natural world was gone from suburbia. Hi ho back to binge-watching “Veep” on HBO Now and an upstairs bed no longer sweltering.

Hi ho here and hello to all of you out there. We were fortunate going just two days without power. Some parts of western Florida won't be seeing juice until the end of next week, and some of our Caribbean island neighbors who caught Irma at Defcon Cat Five won't have juice for weeks, maybe months. We live in a not-nice age of a fooled-with Mother Nature.

This has me thinking about power and what runs our lives. Every living organism is self-powered with animate cells, and yet we extend our power through social contact. Humans extend their juice much further through tools that range from hairstyles to electric grids to guns to Facebook to booze. We are addicted to diminishing powers and recover through dependence upon higher or deeper powers. Our muse or musing is empowering of what we create—great when it comes, dry as a empty well when it’s gone. There are strategies of conserving and furthering power, reservoirs for storing it and batteries for carrying it. There is a need to balance power with something else—love, say—and sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice one’s power for the greater good. And sometimes we can’t learn about the nature of juice until we’re fully deprived of it.

For this challenge, write a poem about power in your life and the world. Write about family or creativity or instinct, plugging in or playing unhooked, heavenly or earthly powers, the power of life or death, human powers versus nature's, etc. Then come back here to the pond and find a lily pad to plug into and let 'er rip. Visit other patrons of the pond and sample the hooch they've brewed. Extra points for keeping your poem mini (-ish, -esque, -mal, -finny, etc.).

The juice bar is now open, whattaya having?

(Note: the next day after I wrote this, our cable, Internet & TV went dark again, and we've been told it will be another week before connectedness. I can still get Internet access using my iPhone for a hotspot, but the signal's weak and glitchy. I will not have much chance to visit you today as I plan to spend much of it in south Orlando at my mother's where there is still no power. But I'll get around to your contributions eventually.)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Of muse and me

The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible. ~Vladimir Nabakov

Paper, pen, ideas.. and suddenly our mind goes blank! There are times when we get so caught up with life that we don't get enough time to write. The muse is a fickle fiend which needs to be tickled every now and then. So today I want you guys to go out and breathe in your surroundings. Sit back and relax in a nearby cafe and grab a cup of coffee or tea with a friend. As Francis Bacon wisely states; "Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable."

A Walk 

by Rainer Maria Rilke 

My eyes already touch the sunny hill.
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it had inner light, even from a distance-

and charges us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave...
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.

Rushes in a Watery Place 

by Christina Rossetti 

Rushes in a watery place,
and reeds in a hollow;
a soaring skylark in the sky,
a darting swallow;
and where pale blossom used to hang
ripe fruit to follow.

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!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Anima and Animus, from Dream to Flesh

If you could read the thoughts of your wickedest Dream, what would your Dream write about you? We pondered the question, with all the seriousness it deserved (we infiltrated our Dreams’ journals), and present to you the findings:

Whisking delicate
tea into a heady froth
to delight my love,
my bliss is found inside her
enjoyment of my strivings.

I read her soul bright
while feasting on all her dark.
She writes me real…
at midnight, her wild tongue dreams
me alive, tasting her mine.

She gifts me with flesh
substantial enough to touch
past imagined boundaries.
The only reality I want
is the one that she creates.

When morn devours night,
the moon and I yearn for her
soul dancing in mine:
Anima and Animus
as mind in flesh, me in her.

I wish my name on
your lips, under the sunlight,
a dream crafted real—
I will spell ink into flesh,
“Words be dreams and dreams be words.”

the process…
- At first, we were going to craft a poem inspired by the art of writing and the current socio-political madness. But the pain was much too deep and dark and, well… too much. So, we switched to a topic we both love and that often brings us much pleasure *cough*: dreams. We played around with the dream and dreamer shown in Jorge Luis Borges’ “The Circular Ruins”, danced with Jung’s Anima and Animus, and dressed the whole thing up in tanka
- We each wrote two stanzas—imagining our speakers exchanging adventures at a dream bar (dream bars are real, really). We wrote the last stanza together, on the phone, serenaded by much squealing. We hope you enjoy the result as much as we delighted in the process.

Magaly and Rommy *still squealing*

the song: “When I Dream at Night”, by Mark Anthony
the visual art: “Hidden Intentions”, by Ana Fagarazzi

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden...

Greetings to all poets, wayfarers and friends. The floor is open; the platform is yours! Please share a poem of your choice and enjoy the company of your fellow scribes. 

Remember to stop by tomorrow for our Toads in Tandem feature post. Magaly and Rommy have banded together to bring us a collaborative poem to celebrate the creativity of our Garden environment.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

My Dearest Book, I Wrote You a Poem…

Greetings, dear Toads, and welcome to another Weekend Mini-Challenge. Yesterday was International Literacy Day. I wish to mark the occasion by writing a poem… to a book. Not a poem about a book. Not a book review shaped as a poem.    

This week, I invite you to write a new poem dedicated to a novel or a poetry collection you love. You can use the poetic form of your choice, but your entry should contain 131 words or fewer. Please share the book title (some of us might want to read it).

In the poem, you can choose to tell your book anything you like: how you feel about its words, or what reading its words has done to you (for you), or how you miss it when you don’t read if for a while… The possibilities are endless.

Add the direct link to your new poem to Mr. Linky.
Visit other Toads. Delight in their book-loving poetry.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Words Count with Mama Zen

Image result for book of words

For a creative writing class, my offspring had to create a book of favorite words.  Knowing a good thing when I see it, I stole a few of them for this poetry prompt.

The Words:


Your Assignment:

Chose three words from the above list and compose a little bit of brilliance of sixty words or less. Bonus points if you title your poem "Book of Words."

Have fun!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden!

What name do I have for you?

A wonderful poem by John Ashbery--read it here: Just Walking Around
Please share your own poem with the Toads today.

Share * Read * Comment * Enjoy

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Play it Again, Toads!

This weekend we revisit archived challenges of the Imaginary Garden. This affords us the opportunity to catch up on a recent prompt we may have missed or allows us to explore the side bar (2011 - 2017).

The Youthful Poet's Dream
William Blake (1820)

Alternatively, select a prompt from the three I have highlighted below. I have not included a Flash 55 prompt. However, that is an Open Challenge on the first weekend of each month so any 55-worders are welcome.

1.  Fireblossom Fridays: Arrivals & Departures - December 2011

2.  Get Listed! - September 2014

3.  Sunday Mini-Challenge: Carilda Olivar Labra - February 2015

Feel free to write to more than one prompt. The link stays open and at the top of the home page until Tuesday.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Skyflower Friday: Monsters

Kerry here, standing in for Shay, with a Fireblossom Friday flavoured challenge.

Sadko the Green Monster
Leon Bakst (1917)

Today I am asking you to write a poem about a monster or monsters, be they real or imagined, mythical or made up, symbolic, surreal, abstract, nightmare or waking reality. You get the idea, I am sure.

I leave you with the famous words spoken by Iago in Othello:

"O beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meet it feeds on,"

And a music video..

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Exploring Eternity, In Tandem with Paul and Sherry

Greetings, friends! It is Paul Scribbles and Sherry Blue Sky here, presenting our poem in tandem. When our names were first paired, I was intrigued. Paul and I didn’t know each other well, and our styles are very different. I expected our exercise would be interesting, but I think we were both somewhat astonished at how easily it came together, and the direction it took. We plunged deep.

The tandem idea was always interesting to me and Sherry sent an email that landed when I was delivering a training program in Kuala Lumpur. Sherry and I had not had much contact other than poem comments and so this was a blind date of sorts. There followed a short email conversation and finally after some gentle nudging I sat down to write when I landed back in the UK. I was jet lagged and unsure about how to proceed so I began where I was. In the dark.

The beginning was open enough that it left me a lot of scope for a reply. And then the poem just took off.

We enjoyed this exercise so much that, once we reached what we thought was the end of the poem, we continued the conversation a bit further in Part II.  We offer the result to you in hopes you enjoy it.


Into the dark I move.
Arms out, eyes blind for now.
Feeling for the way ahead
with feet and with hands.

Use caution, wayfarer.
This way, there be dragons.
Who sent you journeying?
What is it that you seek?
Do you have a question for
Wild Woman of the woods?

My senses are my caution
and dragons I have met and slayed.
I answered my own call
and so seek only truth.
This question I ask of you.
What is it makes you wild?

It is the song of the sea,
the howl of a wolf, the way a tree
tells herself to me.
It's the beat of the drum, 
my heart's answering thrum.
It's the ancestors speaking
inside of me.
How does the land speak to you,
fellow pilgrim?
What secrets whisper to you
on the wind?

This land speaks to me with a voice
older than time itself.
An elemental whisper of the aes sidhe
carries itself within my soul
and sings to me of the temporal nature
of things.
I walk here now in the green.
I will also be gone
and only an echo remain.
What lies beyond oh wild woman?

I have peeked up and over
the brow of the hill
on the way to Eternity.
The ancients, ululating
a welcome song,
beckoned me with gnarled fingers.
I tried not to see.
There was a barren desert beyond,
and a river.
I heard the ferryman paddling
around the bend,
singing as he came for me.
Then I came back into my body.
Not time yet. Not yet.

Then it comes clear, my task
and the source of my beckoning.
I am to walk beyond the veil
into the land of my ancestors.
Into the ferryman's boat must I go
and across the great river,
and you, wild woman of the woods,
you must guide me there.

Death is that river, turbulent,
catching us up and
roaring us through rock-walled chasms,
green with weeping.
It plunges us into the maelstrom,
dashing us onto the rocks
so eagles may feed.

It swirls us 'round, then settles us,
lighter, and relieved of our earthly burden,
in peaceful ponds along the shore,
where coyote and wolf
may find us.

I will meet you there at twilight
on the last day.

Well met it is then and will be on that last day.
I am all swept up in that turbulence now.
Those eddies spin me beyond any idea of retreat.
So it is then that I must loosen this blanket of life,
so that in death I may come to the answer I seek,
that final truth which calls me across the waters,
and it is the knowing that I must die and relinquish all
which bears me forward to face my own face, born and dead.

Part II

I am dead. It is done.
I have crossed over the water’s threshold.
Life exists only on a distant shore now
and here a dark unknown surrounds me.
My faith was strong enough to leap but
now my heart crumbles and I am alone
with this void, this fear and an echo of my life.
Silent tears call out in vain. Where now?

Traveler, when there is no path,
the Way is the path.
Turn your face towards the void;
seek a glimmer of light.
In trust, we walked our earthly shore,
and now our quest is to discover
something More.
These words torment my mind.
Zen circles that spin me endlessly.
The void is all there is.
How can I face all ways at once?
My faith is lost and with it all trust.
Damned I am to dwell in darkness.
If the way is the path then my path
is to nowhere. I am lost.

Traveler, you are All Soul now.
Spirit sees in all directions
and will find its way.
Listen into the Wind.
Somewhere, there is an opening.
When you find it, you must enter,
for there is no going back.

Then darkness is my opening
and in that I now see the light.
I am made of nothing and of everything.
I am the wind and the space
into which it must blow.
I am the question and the answer.
I am life and death.
That one face, born and dead.

Paul: I was happy to begin the tandem poem as I tend to work very often from a place of ‘not knowing’ what is going to come when I write. Beginning felt natural. Then it was really just a statement of where I was in the process. In the Dark.

Sherry: When I received your first stanza, it left me wide open to respond and, instantly, the words began to flow. My Wild Woman persona showed up right on time, and began to speak. I just stepped out of the way.

Paul: Here the door opens to the poem. Now I’m on a journey and am quizzed about my motivation. In response I have to learn more about this Wild Woman. Who she is and what she is made of? Her answers evoke myth in me and ancestral voices. I mention the ‘aes sidhe’ who I have encountered in Irish mythology (my own heritage). This ancient race and our connection to the Earth are interwoven into my own story and so the idea brews now in my head of the ‘otherside,' the land beneath the sidhe, the otherworld. So I ask that question at the end of the stanza.

Sherry: I am of Irish heritage as well. Your reference to the “ancestral voices” spoke to me. That question was a great hook for me, as I have contemplated death and eternity many times in my work these recent years, when time is ever more finite. It was a pivotal question in the direction the poem took. Wild Woman was in full roar now, and I waited with anticipation to see what your character would say, and how she would respond. For it was clearly Wild Woman at the keyboard, and not me. Smiles.

Paul: It gets interesting here because the response lines up with the feeling that had been evoked in me earlier, and I now see that a threshold is present and must be crossed.

Sherry: Paul, I am curious about your closing line in Part I, the “facing your own face, born and dead”. Can you explain a bit about that?

Paul: Sometimes when I write a line I have no idea what it fully means. It just sounds or feels right. Later meaning may come. With this line that was very much the same. I remember thinking 'what do I really mean here?' Then you actually asked me!

After some thought and a little exploration of a few myths that were brought into a more conscious view, I think that this line for me is looking at the idea of Katabasis.

Born is where I am at this the threshold....Dead is where I must go to find 'that other', be it a person or, as it turns out, an ‘awareness’.

Sherry: It reminds me of the Buddhist teachings about our “original face”, the one we had before we were born. I assume this is the face we reclaim after death, the Soul-face or Being that is our eternal essence, in life and in death, throughout our many lives.

It was with astonishment that I watched this poem become a journey into death and beyond. It was quite magical. It soon seemed necessary to both of us to continue with a Part II. One cannot leave a journey incomplete.

Paul: I agree with Sherry. Part II wrote itself out of need. The whole process of exploring the unknown only to discover we were looking at life and death was incredible. The writing of the poem mirrored the journey we wrote about. For me, in the context of the final piece, death was a liberation, complete and total, and whilst we talked about a possible part III, a return of some kind, I felt that the final stanza was final and Sherry concurred. There was nowhere to return from...or to.

Paul, this has been a most awesome and amazing journey. Thank you!

I am in complete agreement, Sherry. This has been a most enjoyable experience. I’m very happy with what we have created.

We hope you enjoyed this exploration of Eternity’s Face, Toad friends. We certainly enjoyed putting it together for you. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to The Imaginary Garden ...

George R.R. Martin

Greetings to all poets, wanderers and friends! There are times when I question the worth of my words, but I am proud to have been a contributor to the art known as writing. I believe it is a truly phenomenal aspect of human nature, and more momentous than we may imagine.

What words do you have to share with us today? Please link up a poem of your choice.
Remember to stop by tomorrow for our Toads in Tandem feature post. Sherry and Paul were on a roll when they got together recently to bring us a collaborative poem to celebrate the creativity of our garden of the Imagination.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

FASHION ME YOUR WORDS TO ~ stretch the imagination

[image froom Bing dot com]

Hi toads, today i want you to stretch your imagination; ponder a natural disaster, past or recent, and tell me, what role you think, the gods might be playing, resulting in that particular natural disaster.

For a little oomph, along the creative process, read the following poem - 'Tremor' by Melissa Allen (appearing on page 46 of 'We Are All Japan Anthology', edited by Robert D. Wilson and Sasa Vazic 2012)


All it is
is the sliding of plates.

I always image freshly washed ones,
sliding warm and damp,
squeaking slightly
in protest
as you return them
to the cupboard

I forget how plates slip
from between your fingers.

What god concieved of this way
of building a planet?
This haphazard layer
of broken pottery
we have to step over.
The bare feet we're born with.

The liveliness of children
as they dance

---------- ---------- ----------

Your poem can take any form you wish in your delivery, my only constrain is that you use ONE HUNDRED OR LESS WORDS.

Have fun dear Toads, looking forward to reading some very very interesting writes

Thursday, August 24, 2017


I don't know about everyone else, but the end of summer is usually filled with lots of activity. We're either prepping for the school year ahead or trying to squeeze one more vacation or day trip before fall starts. So I'll keep this week's prompt simple and light. I'm basing it on a popular meme I've seen floating around the internet.

No, not the Willy Wonka one. The one where you grab a nearby book and flip to a specific page to find a quote that represents your love life. You have the choice of going to either page 13 and picking the 7th sentence or page 7 and picking out the 13th sentence to use as your inspiration for your poem. For bonus points, make it a love poem. As always, this should be a new poem created just for this prompt. And do be sure to visit your fellow poets.