Poetic Asides – Golden Shovel

I’m trying another poem from Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides column in Writer’s Digest magazine.


The Golden Shovel is a contemporary form introduced by National Book Award-winning poet Terrance Hayes. To get started, take a line (or lines) from a poem you admire. Then, use each word in the line (or lines) in the correct order, as an end word in your poem. Be sure to credit the poet who wrote the original line (or lines).

In his poem, The Golden Shovel, Hayes used the entirety of We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks – twice!

I used a line from a favorite poem I often read to my son when he was young: Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

The line I’m using: Sailed on a river of crystal light Into a sea of dew.


~ after Eugene Field

When she was young, she SAILED
to islands of imagination ON
a raft, riding down A
turbulent RIVER.


Her freedom OF
innocence creating CRYSTAL
thoughts of fancy LIGHT
that change a bedroom INTO
a different world; A
group of mermaids floating in the SEA,
in the home OF
fairies, whose wings glisten with DEW.

  • I can’t get the formatting correct with the picture of dewy wings, which I really like and want to keep! The last word of each stanza is capitalized… Just so you know I didn’t cheat. 😉


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