Poetry Project — June 2017

A golden shovel poem is kind of like a parlor game or a puzzle.
You take one line from a poem and use each word in that line as the end words for each line in a new poem.

In this case, my poetry sister Kelly chose Hopkins’ Pied Beauty, which is so exquisite it feels almost wrong to deconstruct it. But deconstruct it we did!!

I used the very first line as my Golden Shovel and I’ll admit I cheated a bit, making the first word my title instead of my first end word. I hope Gerard Manley would understand. Anyway, here goes. Enjoy!

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.

Glory, by Liz Garton Scanlon

To be a girl with a pony in the late yellow light, to be
witness to cowbirds and huge round clocks of hay, to
be a girl with a barebacked pony, to be witness to God –
no less than God is this! – this mane, this hill, this whisper for
her to Giddy up, Glory, Giddy up, into today all dappled.
What glory, to be a girl with so many splendored things.

And here are my Poetry Sisters’ poems….


Poetry Friday is at Buffy’s Blog today!

Posted on 06/02/2017 12:23 pm


  1. Liz, as a girl who longed for a horse of her own (my brother had one), I adore this poem. It reminds me of all the days I walked to the neighbor’s farm and mucked out stalls and did chores just so I could spend some time bareback on a horse.

    You’ve done lovely things with these end words, and I don’t think using the first word as your title is a cheat!


  2. Sigh. How lovely you’ve done this puzzle!! I was on that pony for a minute and it was glory.


  3. Mary Lee Hahn

    You had me at the way the title was the handle for your golden shovel. And then again at “huge round clocks of hay.” I’m in love with this girl and her pony. Perhaps that was me, galloping around the back yard on my hands and knees. I was the girl, and I was the pony in a dappled splendorous childhood.


  4. Oooh — the title! this mane, this hill, this whisper — it is kind of making me tear up. I don’t quite know why, except — wow. To love horses like that — I remember that girl, thinking that I could do anything and live forever at summer camp, atop a horse…

    Thank you for that memory. This is simply lovely.
    We all just knocked it out of the ballpark with these.


  5. Oh…into today all dappled. And clocks of hay. I am in love with this poem. And thank you for the memories of some glorious horsey moments in my childhood (not enough of them).


  6. I did have a pony, and oh my you’ve taken me back to the child & the pony that galloped up & down the barnyard. It’s a lovely adventurous poem. Those “round clocks of hay” will linger when I go to the country.


  7. Love this girl and her pony, giddy upping into all things dappled! Thanks to you and your fellow princesses for the wonderful golden shovels.


  8. Oh, my gosh….have you read The War That Saved My Life? It won the Oddesey Award last year…..and it’s incredible. That’s the girl. The Pony is Butter.

    A beautiful golden shovel. Thank you for sharing your puzzle.


  9. Riding a horse named Glory! Love this experience and what you have done with the form.


  10. I love all these golden shovels based on Pied Beauty, a poem in which every word shines like buried treasure. I love what you did with this, giving voice to a horse-mad Glory Girl.


  11. I love this poem. What a glory it is for this girl and her pony.


  12. Kelly Ramsdell

    I can’t take credit for this month’s project pick – I *think* it was Tricia’s doing. But my, what a wonder you have crafted from it!!


  13. I hadn’t heard of a golden shovel poem before joining up with the Poetry Friday community, and I’m inspired!!


  14. I am taken by the dappled, yellow light that you’ve woven through your poem, (I pictured Monet’s haystacks over on the side,) and also the steady pacing movement that builds into the girl galloping on her bareback pony, thanks!


  15. Late to the party, but what a party it is. Your poem feels true and fresh, Liz—you make it easy to fall in with your golden girl and ride and ride and ride. And you’ve captured Hopkins’ use of rhythm, too—subtly, but it’s there, thumping and driving the lines forward. Also, I’m in love with “huge round clocks of hay” which is exactly what I saw by the road as I drove across Oklahoma recently, only I needed you to name it. Ah, glory and goodness.


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