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, April 27, 2017

Writing Shoes

Friends! It is day 27! We are almost there! Let’s race to the finish!

Photo by Marian Kent
When thinking about music to accompany this fun photo, I ended up not being able to choose between three quintessential songs by iconic artists. So I’m sharing all three: Paul Simon with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Elvis Costello, and too-soon-gone Townes Van Zandt. Enjoy!

Your assignment is to write about shoes. Pick a song (or two or three) if you like, use the photo if you like, or whatever works for you. And then let your words race, dance, fly!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Outsider Art

Some of you may have noticed that I have had a hard time blogging the last few months. Part of the difficulty for me has been the feeling of being an outsider, in my own country and in the world.

Oddly, not writing so much poetry has led me to do more visual art work (a real bit of grace.)  Here, the feeling of being an outsider has been very freeing since (with no real training), I have very few expectations about my visual art. 

There is actually a long tradition of outsider art in the visual arts, that is, of unschooled  artists making of a body of work; Grandma Moses was a famous outsider artist; Simon Rodia of Watts Tower fame another.

So, the prompt today is based on the idea of the outsider.  You can approach this from any direction you wish--an outsider as refugee or exile; an outsider at a party or at school or from a clique.  

You could also use the prompt to try to write as an outsider--like someone unfamiliar with the established tools of writing (an “outsider literary artist”.)  Or you could write about simply being outside, that is, in nature.

Finally, you could use this as an ekphrastic challenge and just write about a picture made by an outsider artist. 

 Since I feel like a bit of an outsider in the art world, I offer some of my drawings for use.  Please feel no obligation to use one, but if you do, please do credit me (Karin Gustafson--all rights reserved.)  Or credit whatever outsider artist that you use. 

Most of all, have fun.  And for those who have been working on a poem a day--you are almost on the other side of that challenge!  Congrats!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to The Imaginary Garden...

Agnes Lawrence Pelton (1940)
Greetings to all poets, visitors, friends! And so we have come to the last Tuesday of poetry writing month. It has been a CHALLENGE for those who are attempting to complete 30 poems in 30 days. It has also been a celebration of our community of poets - we are so often too busy to make the effort to write on a regular basis (and I count myself in this number) but this one month of the year allows us to come together both to inspire and support the art which all of us holds so dear.

While this platform remains open to any poem you wish to share, I offer a tiny picture prompt for those who may be running out of ideas, and are looking for a spark to ignite the thought process.

The artist I am featuring today is Agnes Lawrence Pelton (1881–1961). To visit the WikiArt gallery of some of her paintings, click HERE.

When uploading an image to your blogsite, remember that we apply the Fair Use Principles:

➮It is a historically significant artwork
➮The image is only being used for informational and educational purposes
➮The image is readily available on the internet
➮The image is a low resolution copy of the original artwork and is unsuitable for commercial use

Monday, April 24, 2017

Artistic Interpretations - Beauty

Peacock at Magnolia Garden, SC
Welcome to Artistic Interpretations.  Today's theme is "Beauty"  There are many poems celebrating what is beautiful  HERE is a link to a few famous "beauty" poems.  

For this prompt, one may write about beauty or ponder the symbol of the peacock, often referred to as "the most beautiful bird in the world."  You may use my photograph above if you like.

Like the crow and raven, the peacock is often referred to in folktales, fables, myths, and superstitions.  If you don't want to write about beauty in general, feel free to write about the peacock.

HERE is a fascinating link -  A few excerpts from the link are:

* Peacocks can be traced back to biblical times and the court of King Solomon

* birds of "ill omen" -  cause of the "entrance of the devil into paradise" and expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden

* important symbols in Roman times, linked with early Christian belief in resurrection, the Eucharist, and the Annunciation

* feature in Greek Mythology having sprung from the blood of Argos (the hundred eyed giant)

* superstitiously believed to be heralders of death with their peculiar cry

Other interesting links:

"Fine Feathers:  A brief history of the Peacock as Decoration"

"The peacock: A symbol of royalty"

 "Peacock Symbolism and Meaning"

The entirety of "When the Peacocks Sing" video is fascinating, but at 5:23 the footage focuses on the peacock.

For today's challenge, write about "beauty" or the symbolism that represents one of the most beautiful birds of creation, the Peacock - keeping in mind not all the myths, superstitions, folktales, and beliefs are necessarily "beautiful".  Any style of poetry is acceptable, but I do prefer poems newly written for this prompt.  A reworked one is acceptable.   As always, link to Mr. Linky below and visit the other poets.  I look forward to your artistic interpretations.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

FASHION ME YOUR WORDS ~ The way you see it

[image from Google dot com]

“Marie, let’s suppose that two firemen go into a forest to put out a small fire. Afterwards, when they emerge and go over to a stream, the face of one is all smeared with black, while the other man’s face is completely clean. My question is this: which of the two will wash his face?

That’s a silly question. The one with the dirty face of course.’

No, the one with the dirty face will look at the other man and assume that he looks like him. And, vice versa, the man with the clean face will see his colleague covered in grime and say to himself: I must be dirty too. I’d better have a wash.’

What are you trying to say?’
― Paulo Coelho, The Zahir

Hello Toads: FASHION ME YOUR WORDS : The way you see it.
Choose a poem preferable one you think you know pretty well. Look upon it with a fresh new view. What is your reaction, after this reading? Now, write a new poem based on the way it triggers in you a response after this reading. (Do not post the poem you chose at your blog, add a reference link only, if there's one, or mention it in a process note)
Post only your reaction poem, the way you see it.


Dare to stare down one of your
fellow toads by selecting and reacting to one of their poems, if you think you don't want to hop about too far from your Lily pad.


Fashion me your words. The way you see it. Then you must hop off your Lily pad once again to see what mischief other toads have been up to


Enjoy the Music

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Bits Of Inspiration ~ Mi Young Lee

Recently I was privileged to reconnect with the artist, Mi Young Lee, at The Bayou City Art Festival in Houston. She is a talented artist with such a beautiful spirit. While we were discussing her art and inspiration she did the most amazing thing. She gifted me with one of her lithographs. It is not a copy, but an original work of art, individually inked, pulled, and signed. I was stunned, humbled, and grateful for such a beautiful gift.

As we continued to talk she spoke of a woman who had written a poem about one of her paintings so I thought it would be fitting to use my gift as inspiration for poetry here in the garden.

Mi Young Lee's philosophy about her painting is, "The style and techniques I utilize in translating my feelings to images have grown from within myself as a result of my emotional response to my work and my life's experiences. My paintings are a composite of geometric forms, organic shapes, gestures, and texture, combined in a kaleidoscope of color to create an image of harmony, energy and optimism."

I see many things when I look at this painting, joy, heart, spring, hope, peace, strength, blue sky. I could go on and on. Here are a few quotes that I feel connect me to the art.

"We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves." Buddha

"Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy." 
 Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things." William Wordsworth

"Poetry is a beautiful way of spoiling prose, and the laborious art of exchanging plain sense for harmony." Horace Walpole

The challenge for today is to write an original poem inspired by this Mi Young Lee painting. It can be in any style you choose. Please post it on Mr. Linky and visit your fellow poets to read their offerings. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

“I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream”

I’m not exactly sure how old I was the first time I read “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream”,  by Harlan Ellison. But I will never forget the way in which my hand reached for my mouth, how aware I became of the gift that is my free tongue, how the title made me cringe and shudder.

Can you imagine yourself being full of ideas and words and feelings and wants and urges and needs… and not being able to communicate them? Have you ever pictured yourself living in a world where you are not allowed to speak? For the purpose of this prompt, not being allowed to speak refers to being kept from speaking our minds without fear of punishment.

For today’s prompt, my dear Toads, I invite you to create a new poem inspired by the title of Ellison’s short story (the title of this post). Let your poetry explore the feelings that might lurk in a mind that must scream, but has no mouth. What would such mind poetize?

detail from “Taking the Plunge”, by Shelle Kennedy

Add the direct link to your poem to Mr. Linky. Visit other Toads. Speak your thoughts.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Fireblossom Friday : Corvid and sit a while.

Today I'm asking you to write a poem involving a crow, or crows. They happen to be my totem animal, and I adore them, but even if you don't like crows, they make wonderful fodder for writing.

As most of you know, a group of crows is called a "murder" of crows. Crows are often used in literature and films to convey a sense of foreboding or death. But crows are extremely intelligent birds who can figure out complex tasks--like using a stick to help them retrieve a piece of food--and they can distinguish individual human faces so that they know who is a friend and who to avoid. If you feed crows, they will sometimes bring trinkets and shiny objects to leave as gifts for you. 

So, write about crows, or from the point of view of a crow, or use them as metaphors. Just write about crows! New poems only. You can write haiku if you want, but crows will come and peck your eyes out, and I won't feel one bit sorry for you.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Poems in April - Poetry through the eyes of Carol Ann Duffy

Hello everyone, hope you guys are having a wonderful day so far. I am really excited to make my debut prompt here at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. Today, we'll be taking a look at Poetry through the eyes of Carol Ann Duffy.

Carol Ann Duffy was the first woman, the first Scot and the first openly LGBT person to be appointed Britain's Poet Laureate. She was born in Gorbals (Glasgow) on 23rd December, 1955. Her work explores both everyday life and fantasy life, which makes it even more intriguing. While reading her poems, I came across one which left me absolutely breathless.


Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding ring,
if you like.
Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

The object of this challenge is to write about love, using a common everyday image. Choose your own form or write in free verse, if preferred. I look forward to reading what you all 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!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

“Vogon poetry is of course, the third worst in the universe."

Douglas Adams is a harsh critic, but I think we can do better than this, Toads! Today is your prompt-free open link day of the week, so please share any poem, old or new, with us today. For those who are flagging in your Poem-A-Day energy, I suggest trying out this Vogon Poetry Generator and sharing the results: VOGON POETRY GENERATOR


Monday, April 17, 2017

Over // Under // Through

Papers Please. Copyright - Isadora Gruye Photography. 

Greetings Toadlings, 

Congrats to all of you participating in the neck-breaking, poem-a-day marathon for National Poetry month.  Today's challenge is all about challenges, and how we rise ...or er, don't or whatever. 

Over // Under // Through

We've all got a lot of borders to hop, a lot of walls to climb, a lot of checkpoints to dodge. Write a poem detailing how you get by. This is also the theme for the opening issue of Nice Cage. If you are interested in submitting your work, please check out the submission guidelines and past issues at our home page.

So go now, my muddy buddies and bring us back something shiny and new!!!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Micro Poetry ~ Streetlight Rain

Greetings to all!
Today is the day we put the "mini' back into the Sunday Mini-Challenge, and return to the option of form poetry. The object of this challenge is to write a poem in no more than 10 lines (but you may write in fewer than 10 lines all the way down to a single American sentence). Choose your own form or write in free verse, if preferred.

Hard Rain
Gilad 173 (Photobucket) 
As we are now in the third week of NaPoWriMo, I am going to break with my traditional open-ended prompt to focus on The American Sentence pioneered by Allen Ginsberg.

American Sentences as a poetic form was Ginsberg’s effort to make American the haiku. If haiku is seventeen syllables going down in Japanese text, he would make American Sentences seventeen syllables going across, linear, like just about everything else in America. In Cosmopolitan Greetings, his 1994 book, he published two and a half pages of these nuggets, some of which had scene-setting preambles.
For example:

Tompkins Square Lower East Side N.Y. 

Four skinheads stand in the streetlight rain chatting under an umbrella. (1987)


Rainy night on Union square, full moon. Want more poems? Wait till I’m dead. (August 8, 1990, 3:30 a.m.)

To read more of the fascinating article by Paul E. Nelson, click HERE.

If you would like to try your hand at this form, I would love to read your efforts, but the initial challenge to write a poem of 10 lines or less, focusing on the theme: "Streetlight Rain" is also an option.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Villain Speaks

One of my favorite songs from a musical is Defying Gravity, from the play Wicked. For those of you not familiar with the musical, it was based on a book of the same name by Gregory Maguire, which is a reimagining of the classic story, the Wizard of Oz. As you may have guessed based on the title, the story is from the point of view of the Wicked Witch, providing some insight as to what it was she did to earn the title of wicked.

So for today’s prompt I want you to give a voice to a villain (fictional only please). What makes them so villainous? Do they feel justified in their villainy? Or perhaps, like in the Wicked Witch’s case, is there part of the story we may not have been told?

Please be sure to let us know the name of the villain and the story in which they appear in the process notes. And as always, stop by and enjoy your fellow poet’s words.

Friday, April 14, 2017


Friends! Am sharing this newly-released video for Christina Grimmie, a young and vibrant singer-songwriter, gamer, and YouTuber who unfortunately was murdered last year after one of her concerts. I was thinking about the idea of invisibility and came across this lovely tribute to a talented woman who had a fondness for gaming and anime.

For Day 14, let’s muse on invisibility. What does it feel like to be invisible? Who or what is invisible? Would invisibility be a cool superpower or what? Or, feel free to explore the links I’m providing for Christina Grimmie and be inspired by her work or life.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Get Listed - April Ain't Fooling edition

Brooklyn Bridge. Image- Fair Use

We've gone and made Arthur Furgurson emperor, and George C. Parker king. 


That phrase, "if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you" came into parlance due to Parker.

He was, if not the original con man, one of its more successful operators, having sold the Brooklyn Bridge, General Grant's Tomb, and The Statue of Liberty, among other properties. (For other scammers, see here.)

Furguson was merely a Scottish actor who regularly sold the White House.


Your word list for the Global / National / Earthbound (though maybe some astronauts are playing, who knows?) Poetry Writing Month 2017 is:

Wait, you believed that 'short' business? Then I have a bridge to sell you...

How to play: take at least 3 words (or reasonably variants) from the following compilation, craft into a new poem, and link via Mr. Linky below.

Please be so good as to come back and read and comment on your fellow con artists, too.

bridge, con, lie, tomb, scam, gullible, fraud, president, hustler, sucker, mark, prison

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Out of Standard - Signs of the time

Greetings Toadies!

I am ever so happy to present the mid-week prompt for our Poems in April promptkrieg. For this prompt we are going out of standard. I am going to challenge you to find new places in the everyday and sully the page with the unexpected. At this point in the month, your poem muscles are warm, limber and ready for the long haul.

Signs of the times

The prompt is simple: find an image of a protest sign and use that phrase in a poem that is not political.

In case you don't want to find your own image I have supplied some below from different eras and different causes. Feel free to use them as poem fodder. However, do also feel free to find your own picture which means something to you....or even use a picture of yourself holding a protest sign.

So go now my muddy buddies and bring us back something shiny and new! 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden ...

Greetings to all poets in this one month of the year dedicated to the art of poetry writing. I have been so inspired in the first 10 days, and I know that resolve may be flagging but taking a target-free approach has enabled me to enjoy the process without feeling pressured to keep a tally. I hope each person who is writing this month has a renewed sense of community thanks to the wonderful support of all those who have and will support our efforts in this space.

The Tuesday Platform sets no parameters for the poetry shared. You may want to share something written for earlier this week, a prompt you may have missed or wish to revisit or something from your archives. Anything goes.
However, in keeping with our prompt a day motto, I offer one small suggestion in the form of a question:

Has a song saved your life?

Use a song as the inspiration for your poem, take your title from the lyrics or add a link a song that saved your life.

P.S. I attended my daughter's graduation in which she attained her B.Soc.Sci. (Psych) on Monday and will be spending today away from home. Apologies in advance if I only get to read your poems later in the week. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Poem Sketching

"Poem sketching" was introduced to me years ago here at The Imaginary Garden with Real Toads by Ella in 2012.  HERE is a link to that challenge and a fine description of how to create a word list.

When I have "writer's block" I use my own version of a "word list" - I write down words that apply to a photo(s) I have taken - what I see in the photos and the feelings and memories they evoke.  I will write down anywhere from 10 - 20 words and then I will get out my thesaurus and search for "richer" word choices.  "Alabaster" is a word I found for "white" and is a favorite word of mine to this day.

... here is a poem created from such a word list (two of a series of photos I used are posted here)

"The Sentinel"

Sentinel ever vigilant
gargoyle-like she stands,
ready to defend
her youthful charge

silhouetted silently
amongst swaying sweetflag
as the dewey eve
comes a night-tripping.

One last pebble thrown,
one last birdsong tweets,
she grabs his hand,
ushers him homeward -

today's voyage
soon tucked away,
his dreams of tomorrow rippling
beneath crisp, alabaster sheets.

Today's challenge is for you to create and use a word list - you can use the 2012 linked challenge "rules" or use my version.   Of course, post to Mr. Linky below and please visit and enjoy the others linked with today's challenge.   Thank you.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Twitter Me a Gothic Poem

Greetings, dear Toads. I’m in complete awe of those of you who are publishing one poem a day in April. I did it once, and the memories are enough to leave me exhausted. Your drive rocks.

I want to mix things up a bit. Let’s craft poetry that might inspire cackles or cringes. For today’s prompt, I invite you to write a new 3-stanza poem, where each stanza contains 140 characters or fewer and follows these guidelines: the 1st stanza will be a tweet from one of the thirteen writers listed below. The 2nd stanza will be a reply to the first tweet, by a different writer from the list. The 3rd stanza will be your reply/input/commentary to the exchange between the two writers. The stanza-tweets should be written in the chosen writers’ styles. And the completed poem should read as one piece.

I really hope we can have lots of fun with this one. I mean, how can one not laugh and weep at the thought of Poe, Coleridge, Stoker, Plath, or Lord Byron on Twitter?

Sylvia Plath
Edgar Allan Poe
T.S. Eliot
Edward Gorey
Charlotte Brontë
Lord Byron
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Bram Stoker
William Blake
Ann Radcliffe
Sheridan Le Fanu
Lord Tennyson
Mary Shelley

“Edgar Allan Poe in a moment of writer’s block”, by Gary Larson
(I know this image doesn’t quite go with this prompt,
but it made me laugh so hard that I couldn’t resist sharing it.)

Please delight Mr. Linky with the direct link to your poem. Visit other Toads. Have a blast. 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Hope and the Places That Heal You

By Wendell Berry

It is hard to have hope. It is harder as you grow old,
For hope must not depend on feeling good
And there is the dream of loneliness at absolute midnight.
You also have withdrawn belief in the present reality
Of the future, which surely will surprise us,
…...And hope is harder when it cannot come by prediction
Any more than by wishing. But stop dithering.
The young ask the old to hope. What will you tell them?
Tell them at least what you say to yourself.

Because we have not made our lives to fit
Our places, the forests are ruined, the fields eroded,
The streams polluted, the mountains overturned. Hope
Then to belong to your place by your own knowledge
Of what it is that no other place is, and by
Your caring for it as you care for no other place, this
Place that you belong to though it is not yours,
For it was from the beginning and will be to the end

Belong to your place by knowledge of the others who are
Your neighbors in it: the old man, sick and poor,
Who comes like a heron to fish in the creek,
And the fish in the creek, and the heron who manlike
Fishes for the fish in the creek, 
and the birds who sing
In the trees in the silence of the fisherman
And the heron, and the trees that keep the land
They stand upon as we too must keep it or die.

……Be still and listen to the voices that belong
To the streambanks and the trees and the open fields.
There are songs and sayings that belong to this place,
By which it speaks for itself and no other.

Found your hope, then, on the ground under your feet.
Your hope of Heaven, let it rest on the ground
Underfoot. Be it lighted by the light that falls
Freely upon it after the darkness of the nights
And the darkness of our ignorance and madness.
Let it be lighted also by the light that is within you,
Which is the light of imagination. By it you see
The likeness of people in other places to yourself
In your place. It lights invariably the need for care
Toward other people, other creatures, in other places
As you would ask them for care toward your place and you.

No place is at last better than the world. The world
Is no better than its places. Its places at last
Are no better than their people while their people
Continue in them. When the people make
Dark the light within them, the world darkens.

***   ***   ***

In these gloomy times, when it is difficult to hold onto hope, this poem speaks to us about what is solid beneath our feet: the world, our place in it, where we put our roots down, the place on the planet where our hearts belong.

For your challenge, write a poem about the landscape you love, the places that heal you, the ones you call you home. Where do you go to replenish your stores of hope? What does the land sing to you while you are there?

Use specifics to make the place come alive for us. Through your words, let us see what you see, feel what you feel while you are there. Show us how you care for this place, and how this caring expands to concern for all places, all beings.

Tell us what you take away with you when you leave, and how your special place on the planet allows you to keep hope alive, for the world and its many creatures.

No rules: use any form you wish. Just sing a love song about the place that means the most.

Then link up. And please do visit the offerings of your fellow poets. I look forward to reading some poems of love for this beautiful planet, and the place on it that you call home.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Kerry Says ~ Let's Paint a Picture

We have reached the end of the first week of NaPoWriMo, and today I offer the opportunity of a picture prompt. I am featuring the work of two artists:

Japanese print maker, Kaoro Kawano (1916 - 1965).

Tree Girl with Woodpeckers (1960)
Kaoro Kawano
Fair Use

With the medium of wood block, Kawano produced images quite startling in their simplicity. I invite you to visit the WikiArt page which features his work, and select an image which appeals to you.

In keeping with the Japanese theme, you may like to consider the form of Tanka. Back in 2013, we were very fortunate to have the expertise of Dr Hisashi Nakamura to guide us through several steps of tanka writing, which may be found HERE.

+ + + + + + + 

Alternatively, you may find inspiration in the work of Henri Rousseau (1875 - 1910).

War or the Ride of Discord
Henri Rousseau (1894)

As a self-taught painter, Henri Rousseau was completely untrained in any established art techniques. He is best known for his naïve, or primitive jungle scenes. He also developed the painting style of portrait landscape, in which he would place a person or a couple in the foreground of a landscape painting. He may have been ridiculed during his lifetime, but he is now considered a self-trained genius, who created works of high artistic quality.

Visit the WikiArt page which has a selection of his paintings and choose one that speaks to you. No form or style is suggested here, simply the technique of Ekphrasis.

When uploading an image to your blogsite, remember that we apply the Fair Use Principles:

  • It is a historically significant artwork 
  • The image is only being used for informational and educational purposes 
  • The image is readily available on the internet 
  • The image is a low resolution copy of the original artwork and is unsuitable for commercial use

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Celebrating Children's Poetry - Dreaming with Stacie

Happy National Poetry Month, Toads! I'm happy to share poetry - both written and spoken aloud - and excited to see what inspiring verses April brings us. Thank you for allowing me to continue to be a part of this rich community of poets, thinkers & dreamers.

Today I'd like to shine a light on children's poetry, because along with music, it is what first sparked a fire in me to read, write, and eventually pursue a lifelong career in the arts. How did it do this? By encouraging me to play, to wonder, to discover, to dream and to express myself. I was a small child, an only child - and when I began school, arguably a quiet and sometimes lonely child. Poems helped me understand a world that was complex and, at times, seemingly un-navigable. They also helped me understand myself, and spurred me to begin writing my own poems.

I know I'm not the only child to feel this way about poetry. Far from it! Indeed, there are many examples of children who have used the power of language (& music, & art, & dance) to become more confident young people. But further than instilling confidence, poetry keeps at its heart an experience of humanity like no other. Through the rhythms & words children hear and speak aloud they experience life at a sensual level. I always thought of poetry as a rainbow of not just colours but feelings, places and people. Today, as I read poems I still also feel and experience them, hear and imagine their images in my mind, taste their words on my tongue & feel their rhythms in my chest.

As a writer, I'm often drawn back to thinking of how poetry makes me feel when I'm contemplating the blank page. We all get stuck sometimes, but it is the magic and wonder of poetry that has the power to spur our writing on. Listen to this beautiful spoken-word performance by young Asha @TedXKids -- "Pick up the Pencil."

Do you ever think of your favorite poems or poets from childhood? Did they inspire you to begin writing or do they inspire you to keep writing today? I am going to guess that the answer for many is yes! As a mother, I now love sharing classic poems with my children from Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, Dr. Seuss, Edward Lear - as well as poems from contemporary poets. The poetry book that became my favorite in middle school, and certainly inspired me to write - is Hey World, Here I Am! by Jean Little.

In April of 2016, to celebrate National Poetry Month, I published a short collection of poems I wrote as a child - Canvas of Imagination: Poems. Because I love sharing poetry aloud, I recorded a playlist of some of them on Soundcloud. My hope is that they inspire other young people to read, write and share poetry. I've also recorded some of my favorite children's poems from Shel Silverstein & Roald Dahl, and will certainly be adding more in the future. If you'd like to listen, go to:

Children's poetry remains my favorite literary genre to read and perform. As much as I love the tactile experience of holding and reading a book, the chance to act it aloud is thrilling! There are some wonderful collections available that encourage you to listen to & perform children's poems aloud. One of my favorites is by children's poet laureate Julia Donaldson - aptly titled Poems to Perform.

Here is a fun poetry performance video from CBBC kids. It just makes me smile! :-) 

For today's poetry writing prompt, I'm challenging you to write - or speak - or act! - or sing! - a poem that harkens you back to your childhood imagination. It may be of any theme or form you choose, but it must be as creative as possible. (And no, it doesn't have to rhyme!) I hope it will be magical or whimsical, quirky or funny, colourful or even nonsensical! Create the kind a poem a child would love to read, hear or act out. And most important, have fun & love what you are creating. :-)

Thank you for reading, participating & visiting Imaginary Garden with Real Toads today. It's been my pleasure & privilege to add my voice to this community. Have a fabulous National Poetry Month! -Stacie

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Physics with Björn: Space time and the special theory of relativity

Today I thought we should move on to write poetry inspired by Physics.

One thing that has always fascinated me in Physics is how the concept of time changed when I dived deeper and deeper into its definition. On one hand we can measure time with extreme accuracy, we are taught to put into formulas to predict the orbits of a satellite, on the other hand we cannot really visualize it as something real. It’s just a parameter that can only flow in one direction (for a physicist time travelling is fiction).

In 1905 Albert Einstein published his paper on special relativity starting from a very simple postulate that nothing can move faster than the speed of light in vacuum. This lead to a number of interesting consequences. The most well known being that energy and matter is the same according to the formula:

which have lead to both nuclear power and atomic bombs.But from a philosophical point this lead to something even more fundamental: the space-time.

The easiest way to understand the concept is of course quite intuitive. For two things to coincide they have to be at the same place at the same time. But it also leads to another thing. Unless we are at the same point in space it is meaningless to talk about concurrent events without taking into account the time it takes for information to pass between to two different places. Space and time connects, which also have that wonderful consequence that time can run at different speed depending on the relative speed you move (time dilation).

Before the time of train and telegraphs time was actually local, but with the technical development we had to develop chronographs for trains to run on time, to measure longitude. So this consequence can feel like returning to our roots, but fortunately earth is small. We live in a perfect approximation where things can be machined to perfection. Universal time exist on our tiny speck of astral dust. But after all we use the space time daily: let’s meet at corner of A-street and B-Ave at 3 PM, is a space time coordinate. Sometimes it just takes to think like a child to create fantastic new physics.

The prompt today is to write about space time. You might start from concept like concurrent events, or from the problem of meeting in the four dimension of space-time. You might go further and think about the consequences of time on earth or space. The prompt is mine, but the poetry is yours.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Tuesday Platform

Hello Friends! It’s Tuesday, your unprompted free-range day of the week in the Imaginary Garden. Today, please share with us something old, something new, or your April 4 entry for NaPoWriMo. And then hop around to read what other pond-dwellers have shared.

For those who need a prompt today, or who just want to revel in NaPoWriMo, I offer this *optional* extra teensy-tiny challenge: The ink is black, the paper’s white… Write a 5-line poem containing three colors. And… Go!

Share * Read * Comment * Enjoy