poetry · slice of life

My First Attempt at a Golden Shovel Poem

Last spring, I witnessed several Slicers attempt Golden Shovel poems. I wanted to try but kept putting it off. The link with “Find a Headline, Write a Poem” kept getting snoozed in my inbox. But today, as I designated 45 minutes to clean out my e-mail inbox, I decided to stop snoozing and try my own Golden Shovel poem.

I perused The Washington Post‘s main page for inspiration. I clicked on a piece that said MAY THE BEST GEAR WIN, which is about the gear Olympians are sporting at the Beijing Olympics. While I later (i.e., *After* I finished toiling over my Golden Shovel poem!) realized that may the best gear win was part of the article’s subtitle, not the main title, I decided to go with it anyway. Using “Top Gear: The Winter Olympics are tests not only of athletic achievement but of design and engineering. May the best gear win.” by Dave Sheinin as inspiration, here’s my Golden Shovel poem (bookended by videos so it makes sense in context):


Ari may
Have thought he knew the
How to make coins twist and spin. BUT, years ago, I found the best
Placement on the track to make the coins dance, hit the gear,
And fall to the bottom — so children, who need care, win.
Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.

11 thoughts on “My First Attempt at a Golden Shovel Poem

  1. I echo your words, “Very cool!” One of the greatest things about our writing community is getting ideas to stretch ourselves as writers over and over again. Then, feel the support from the community to try out things, knowing that encouraging words will drop into our comments just the way we want to create community of writers with students.

  2. I love the bookended videos here and your striking line! Everyone wins! The coins and wonder about the physics in this self discovery play is a perfect slice – just one moment, one incredible moment of a day that makes a difference. You encouraging your child, Ari figuring things out through a fun form of play, and children who will benefit from this one incredible moment of this day.

  3. Fun! I spent the whole of April writing golden shovel poems … that was quite the challenge! You chose a good line — not too long, a couple of really interesting words to move the poem forward. Great first go at this curious form!

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