I’ve been suffering a bit of writer’s block, poetry-wise. In general, actually, as I’ve been posting less frequently than usual. Extra-busyness in the fall and early winter led to an unacceptable level of creative numbness.
Then I got a push from a cousin last month which helped me to finally get past my years-long reluctance to finalize my gumbo recipe. What a gift he gave me when he requested that I give his sons a gumbo lesson! A very specific writer’s block was forever eradicated.
Another recent push to get this writer and amateur poet back on track was indirect, coming from Jane Dougherty Writes in the form of a poem she posted on Dec. 19 in the ‘golden shovel’ format. I hadn’t heard of the golden shovel method, and was really interested. Basically, you create a new poem using the first line of an existing one, with each word from that first line as the last word in a line in the new poem.
Jane and I had a great conversation in the comments on her post, where I shared that she was helping me to get unstuck, writing-wise. Here’s an excerpt from my comments about her poem and post that explains my inspiration:
“I don’t just like it, I REALLY like it. And you have truly awakened something, given me poetry purpose again. My grandmother died at age 100 on Dec. 30, 2020, and as I wrote in a post soon after, ” just before the onset of the pandemic, Grandma and I were talking about spring, and poetry, and life. I asked her about her favorite poem, and without hesitation, she recited every line of William Wordsworth’s poem about daffodils, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”. I’ve been thinking about how to commemorate Grandma Ruth on the anniversary of her trip to the other side of the rainbow, and now I know: the golden shovel approach, with Wordsworth’s poem as the anchor. I’m very excited about this.“From the comments on Golden shovel
So thank you, Jane, for the push. Here’s my golden shovel poem honoring Grandma Ruth and referencing I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.
i remember daffodils
creatively numb, i stumbled and wandered through lonely word-blindness, as forbidding as a blizzard-gray cloud jane’s golden shovel pierced the gloom - now in sunshine i remember daffodils, grandma ruth and what a word’s worth
Wordsworth’s poem is lovely, lovely, lovely – here it is for your enjoyment.
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. The waves beside them danced; but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: A poet could not but be gay, In such a jocund company: I gazed—and gazed—but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought: For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.
And below is my original post with the story I referenced about Grandma Ruth. She died two years ago today at 100 years, 1 month and 1 day. I don’t usually commemorate death days, as I prefer to remember the days when the world was graced with our loved ones rather than the circumstances of their leaving us, but Grandma Ruth’s was expected,and peaceful, and it just seems right. Plus, her birthday was the same as my late brother’s, and that day is and will always be dedicated to him, my childhood bestie and continuing muse.
I can see Grandma Ruth in my mind’s eye now, dancing with the daffodils.
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