What’s the meaning to the line “Imaginary gardens with real toad in them”?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In this poem, Moore is trying to parse or understand what real poetry is. She says a real poem has to be based, at least in part, on observed objects and experience. It must have, in her words, a "place for the genuine:" it can't be made up entirely of...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

In this poem, Moore is trying to parse or understand what real poetry is. She says a real poem has to be based, at least in part, on observed objects and experience. It must have, in her words, a "place for the genuine:" it can't be made up entirely of abstractions, which would be words like beauty and hope, or of images that are too out of touch with reality.

At the same time, poetry is not simply the plain prose we read in "business documents and school books." It must include the imagined. Moore's speaker, therefore, visualizes poetry as "imaginary gardens with real toads in them."

The imaginary gardens are the fanciful, creative parts a poet puts into a poem. The ugly "toads" are the parts of the poem that ground it in reality. Poems, therefore, must mix fanciful concepts with ordinary and realistic details of life.

Moore's poem invites us to join her thinking about what poetry is, both what sets it apart from prose and what makes us accept it as real and memorable.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team