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March Slice of Life No. 8.


What’s a golden shovel?
It’s a poem. Last month during Laura Shovan’s poetry challenge, I read a number of shovel poems. I did some searching and learned that the “Golden Shovel” is actually a poem written by Terrance Hayes and that the form is his creation. I found the whole idea intriguing, so I made note of it, to try on some future day.

Today I stopped by Nix the Comfort Zone  where Slice No. 7 is all about golden shovel poems. That future day became today. I decided to write a shovel poem.

Writing the golden shovel poem
I know that Terrance Hayes used a line from a poem, that a golden shovel is a poem that evolves out of words from another poem. However, I decided to bend that slightly today. I decided I would use a quote.

[So maybe I didn’t really write a shovel poem. Or maybe it is a shovel poem, it’s just not a “golden”  shovel poem.]

Anyway, after I decided I’d use a quote, I couldn’t think one. At least not a short quote. It needed to be short since I must write a line for every word in the quote and I’d never done this before.

I searched “short quotes.” One of the first quotes I read was from Winston Churchill. That was timely considering that I’ve watched “Darkest Hour” three times in the last two weeks, A Churchill quote would be perfect.

On a piece of notebook paper, on every other line along the right edge, I wrote Winston Churchill’s words:


Then I just sat there — looking at the words, reading them over a couple times, trying to visualize what words might come before them. As I read the words, my father’s words came to me. In memory’s ear, I heard him say as he had said so many times in my childhood:

You can BE anything
you want to be.
You can DO anything
you want to do.
You just have to be willing
to WORK hard.

With pencil and paper, I started writing.


My Daddy
My daddy taught me:  Never,
never think you can’t.  Never
listen to doubt.  Never
stop believing.  Give
all and nothing can hold you up.
© 2018 Alice Nine

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Here are the official rules for writing a golden shovel poem:

  1. Take a line (or lines) from a poem
  2. Use each word at the end of the lines in your poem
    Note:  If you use a six word line, your poem will have six lines
  3. Keep the end words in order
  4. Give credit to the poet who originally wrote the line you used

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