Last Gasp

Another National Poetry Month for the record books! I mean, I guess there are record books? In any case, another one done. It still amazes me that I write any poems at all, and amazes me even more that I take on this 30/30 challenge each year and have mostly been successful, that I have been doing this since 2009. That’s just nuts. And yet, here were are.

As I feared, last night I fell asleep (again!) before posting the poem I was working on for day 29. So I’ll post both my 29th and 30th Golden Shovels here tonight. The source text for the first poem is, you guessed it, Lucille Clifton’s poem “1994.”

Imagining Good

Everything I have,
tied to this moment, the idea of a "we,"
looking past anything we're not
past everything we've been.
Imagining all the ways we can create good,
embracing with the trust of children.

Somehow, it seems fitting that I would end this month of Golden Shovels with a poem that is awkward and doesn’t come together in the end. I’ve struggled to work with this form pretty much the whole month. Ending in this prickly way isn’t surprising.

The source text for this month’s final poem is the untitled poem on page 86 of Lucille Clifton’s How to Carry Water.

Your hand rests, it
looks as old as you feel, is
drawn and grey, a 
tired thing, no longer able to cast a spell.
You massage it slowly, no
need to rush. Magic
can always wait. You've no
other task, no obligations, no anything.

And so, farewell NaPoWriMo2021!


National Poetry Month 2021: the Golden Shovel

As I’ve done for the last forever, I’ve chosen a poetic form, and I’m going to try to write a poem in that form every day for the month of April. I don’t always succeed, but I always give it my best shot. The “Golden Shovel” was created by Terrance Hayes in tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks. I learned about it from my friend Sonia (aka Red Emma). I’ll be using Lucille Clifton’s poems as my starting point this month. Here are the rules:

  • Take a line (or lines) from a poem you admire.
  • Use each word in the line (or lines) as the end word for each line in your poem.
  • Keep the end words in order.
  • Give credit to the poet who originally wrote the line (or lines).
  • The new poem does not have to be about the same subject as the poem that offers the end words.

If you pull a line with six words, your poem would be six lines long. If you pull a stanza with 24 words, your poem would be 24 lines long. And so on.

Should be interesting!

2 thoughts on “Last Gasp

  1. Hey, whether or not you felt all of them were gems, you did thirty days of them. That is impressive. And now you can put your quill down for a respite. Well done you!

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