Writing a Golden Shovel: Day 1

Our Poetry Princesses group is writing a golden shovel poem this month (Tricia chose this prompt), and I thought I’d try sharing the process here.

I’ve never written one, and I’ve only read a few! I checked out this post by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes and this one by Laura Shovan (and make sure to follow links in these), and I heard Nikki Grimes talk about her new golden shovel collection One Last Word on a podcast recently (I think All the Wonders), which I have on order and can’t wait to read!

I’m excited to give this a try! I’ve written a few phrase acrostics, which are similar. I enjoyed them, but they were definitely a challenge. Luckily, today, all I have to do is choose my line.

We are each choosing a line from Pied Beauty, by Gerard Manley Hopkins:

Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;

And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

From just a language standpoint, the highlighted lines are the ones calling to me, so I will probably choose one of these.

I’ll let you know when I check in with Step 2!


10 Responses

  1. You do realize that if you chose the last line, you would have had your poem completed by now? 😉 Golden Shovels are fun, but yes, they are challenging, indeed…looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

  2. Since I fully believe our sister Tricia is trying to KILL US with this, I am grateful you’re posting your process… at present, I am in the stage of looking at the origin poem and going, “Um.…”

    1. Yeah, I sort of dictated a rough draft to myself while walking this morning, and it’s way too literal. No surprise. Too much of an expansion of what is already there, I think. So. Tomorrow I will try again.

      1. …well, it took me what feels like most of my life, but I have ONE.
        Must try rereading it tomorrow to see if it feels like sheer nonsense, or what.

        These. Are. Hard.
        (she whines as she does almost every time)

        1. My 1st draft is horrible. Will be trying a new poem to a new line over the weekend. But at least we have drafts! Yay, us!

  3. One Last Word is AMAZING. You will move it.…going to go find that interview now!

  4. Golden shovels are challenging to write but the aha moment when it is done is amazing. Am interested in your process.

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