Friday, March 13, 2020

SOL 13/31 & Poetry Friday: Finding Words

Returning for year nine of writing daily in March with my Slice of Life writer friends! Check out Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life occurring every day in March.

Head over to Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme for this
week's roundup of poetic goodness.
Thanks, Matt, for hosting this week.

I wake at 4 am.  Time to write today's slice. I begin with the idea of writing a review of Dictionary for a Better World by Irene Latham and Charles Waters. It finally arrived on my holds shelf, but I still haven't read it. I savor these lines from the opening abecedarian poem,"Words for a Better World."
"Awash in attempts to help cool our fevered world, we
  Begin simply with words." 

I'm just a few pages in when Irene calls me to stop reading and create. I toy with the idea of creating a light (my OLW for 2020) acrostic. As I read, I jot down lines I love in my notebook. I arrive on page 32 and know that I've found today's form, a golden shovel poem.  I borrow Irene's words opposite her "Compassion" poem to create my call to action during tough times.

Moving Forward

When I find myself at loose ends, it
is time to look for my purpose, for it is 
by being intentional that I can often
shake off the doldrums and begin the 
journey toward hope. The smallest 
movements to action can be the moments
of catalyst to move us forward. Drink a glass of 
water, go for a walk, read a book, make connections
with others, think happy thoughts, create something that 
you can share. These are the actions that will carry 
us during times of isolation, that help us 
"hear a humming," the call to muster through
the challenges of the day, to find the 
way to thrive, to "get on with it" in spite of tough 
times, to make today one of the good times. 

- Ramona Behnke

Golden shovel poems are inspired by a line of poetry or text, constructed so that the ending word of each line when read top to bottom composes that line. This poem was built around Irene Latham's quote on page 15 of Dictionary for a Better World.

"hear a humming" - from the poem "Freedom" by Irene Latham on p. 38 of Dictionary for a Better World

"get on with it" - Charles Waters quoting the landmark Monty Python group, p. 17 of Dictionary for a Better World.

And so dear friends, the action I'm taking today is to call my independent bookstore (they need our support now more than ever) to purchase my own copy of Dictionary for a Better World. Filled with poetry, meaningful quotes, conversations with Irene and Charles, and invitations to Try It, this book comes from the hearts of these incredible writers. It's clear to me that this is a book I will dip into again and again.


  1. Oh what a lovely way to begin the day. I love the poem. It is perfect. I am reading it as I sit with a cup of tea, sunshine and thinking about how we can move forward in positive ways. Thanks for this.

  2. Moving forward, indeed! Love the positive tone, Ramona.

  3. Such a great slice and encouragement, love the poem and the whole way it is structured. I hadn't heard of golden shovel poems before, but now I do. Also the book sounds very interesting and worth getting.

  4. Ramona, you have created quite a nice golden shovel with a powerful message. These lines resonate with nme. "help us
    "hear a humming," the call to muster through
    the challenges of the day." And so I am off to muster through my day. The sky even has agreed we need a positive sign. The darkness turned to light (serendipity- your one word has been illuminated as I read your post.

  5. I just looked at this book on Amazon this morning. Now you know what’s gonna happen!

    Your poem and its message is just right for today, our first day staying home from school.

  6. It took me a while to get past your first sentence. 4a.m? I am glad I continued reading. The poem is fabulous. Worth reading more than once. Thank you!

  7. Ramona, I think we're always on the same wave length, no matter how far apart. I know you know I shared Irene & Charles' book today, too, and how wonderful that you also love it. Your poem is a balm for us all, as is the book. i love the idea of "hear a humming," you've blended in your poem. Best wishes to you & your family!

  8. What a lovely poem and much needed soul filler!I need to go check our her book!

  9. The wonderful "hear a humming" has us all listening now... and that is a gift in itself. (Unfortunately I have a tinnitus problem... haha.) You walked us through your day. Hooray! A good message, a good poem.... thank you!

  10. How fun to see this AMAZING book on the roundup TWICE! I definitely need to dig in, get inspired, and do some writing of my own.

  11. I love your golden shovel. Perfect for today. I keep seeing this book everywhere. I need to get hold of it! Maybe buy it???

    1. Yes, it's a book you'll want to savor! I went to my indie to buy it, but they couldn't find it even though their inventory said they had two copies in the store. Glad I have the library copy while I wait.