SOL March 28th Golden Shoveling

Fran Haley introduced Golden Shovel Poems in her slice today:

Try digging with the Golden Shovel yourself. Take a line from a poem or a favorite book, speech, or song that has special appeal to you and transform it into something of your own. Each word in that line becomes the ending word of a line of your own poem (or the beginning word, if you prefer). Your poem may reflect an aspect from the original work. It may not. A Golden Shovel poem can mean whatever you wish; it’s just inspired by the line you use to create it.

Fran Haley, Digging For Awe: Golden shovel poems
"Our stars weren't meant for
 their sky. We have never known
 the same horizon." 
 - Clint Smith, "Canon" in Counting Descent.
What we know is that our
reaching and grasping towards stars
reflected a desire we weren't
prepared to justify, to say what it meant. 
Stars are not property. For
whatever reason they decided their
version of sky
could never be the same that we
might claim too. Have
faith, rest assured, one man's never
is but a wish. Not known,
not fact, only speculation. The
stars remain the same,
we become the horizon.


"we bring a part of where we are from
to every place we go."
- Clint Smith, "Meteor Shower" in Counting Descent
Whatchu mean we?
You see all this meaning I bring:
a feast of metaphor and magic, a
philosophical smorgasborg in part,
a banquet of 
ideas. Check out where
the difference between I and we
grows wide, grows deep. Are
you seeing the gap from
not enough listening to
overbearing surveillance every
time I enter this place?
It's no picnic, you know. We
say we're good. My heart says go.



What a challenge! I had no idea where I was going with either of these and yet here they are. Something like this might really unfreeze some learners. I usually resist given structures but this one intrigued me just enough and truly got me to dig.

14 thoughts on “SOL March 28th Golden Shoveling

  1. I am blown away by these poems! Did they come naturally or did you have many drafts? I am so intrigued by this form and told Fran I must try it. Your post is giving me another push. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m still mulling over these brilliant lines: “one man’s never
    is but a wish”, “Stars are not property”, and “we become the horizon.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! I have to admit that I kinda let the words find me. I didn’t start out with a theme, just the mood from Clint Smith’s work. I was surprised at the feelings that surfaced. I dug and found quite a mix of emotions. 😳😌

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow!!! Sherri, these are pretty incredible!! Golden Shovel poems are so interesting – and you’re right, quite compelling for some kids. I’m so impressed with what came forth! And I love Clint Smith. Do you know Nate Marshall’s work?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In a word: Breathtaking. I’ve read and reread just for the sheer beauty of these lines, Sherri. The form is just loose enough to barely BE form, and what you describe is my experience also – the Shovels take the lead and treasures are revealed. I am in awe.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What an incredible set of poems you’ve brought us here. Your two pieces take such a different tone and feeling. I’m in awe. There are lines I’ll be carrying along with me: “Have/
    faith, rest assured, one man’s never/
    is but a wish.”
    I’m going to be thinking about those lines ALL DAY.
    You also mentioned something about poetic forms, and not wanting to use them often with your kids. I totally get that. Sometimes I find that overly formulaic structures hold the kids back in a lot of ways, and limit their depth. But when it comes to forms like the Golden Shovel, they seem to create space for writers.
    Again. It’s BEAUTIFUL what you’ve done here. I’m also going to have to check out Clint Smith. He’s new to me!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh dang. These are something else. I know others have commented on these lines, but “Have/ faith, rest assured, one man’s never/is but a wish” is going to be with me for a while. Your first poem made me think a little bit of Zora Neal Hurston’s lines in Their Eyes Were Watching God, “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the same horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men.

    Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.”

    And I’m struck by the change in mood between the poems, the strong voice that comes from “Whatchu mean we?” and extends through “Check out where/ the difference between I and we/ grows wide, grows deep.” This is going to send me back to Clint Smith – and then forward to Golden Shovels again. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda, thank you for making this connection to ZNH. It is profound. I have yet to read Their Eyes… but it has been on my tbr list for a while. Your connection makes me feel deeply appreciated as writer and community member. That’s inclusion at its core.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooh – now I want you to read it & then we can talk. I used to teach it – long before I knew anything – and the language is just gorgeous. And I absolutely appreciate you as both a writer and a member of the community; I’m glad that shows, even if it is over pixels & wires & waves.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so excited Amanda sent me your way! I am justly inspired by you (and by her) to try my hand at one of these golden shovels. Bravo to you! Looks to be a challenge. Perhaps I’ll choose one for Day 31! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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