Friday, April 21, 2017


For the next half of National Poetry Month 2017, 
Malvina will Sing It, and I'll write a poem in response.

Another unifying topic in Malvina Reynolds' songs is the environment. The next few days will feature songs written in the 1960's and 1970's, but which are fresh and topical today.

Today's poem is a Golden Shovel. The last word in each of my lines reads down, like an acrostic, and is a line from today's song by Malvina Reynolds, "Let it Be." Last month, I buried the story of the loss of two beautiful and magical places inside a book review, and when I set out to write today's poem, it became a lament of the most recent replacement of magic with convenience. Clearly, I'm not over that yet.


You do the best you can until you
can do no more. You think
about the choices that
you made and you
wonder if your love
could ever have been enough for her
survival. You planted and
weeded and you
hoped someone else would want
to become caretaker to
this magical place where kids could discover
the workings of nature -- how
intricately she's
designed -- made
with milkweed, for example, expressly so
there can be monarchs. Because you
loved that plot, you take
it personally that they leveled her
and undid all your work; took apart

a piece of what made this world good and
right, wild and free. Your regrets threaten to break
 your belief in yourself, but her
 beauty remains whole in your heart.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2017

Sing It, Malvina!

April 1 -- Working for Change
April 2 -- A Lifetime Filled With Change
April 3 -- Red
April 4 -- Little Red Hen
April 5 -- Childhood Dreams
April 6 -- Lonely Child
April 7 -- Quiet

April 8 -- Storyteller
April 9 -- Troublemaker
April 10 -- Girl Power
April 11 -- Choices
April 12 -- My Gal, Mother Nature
April 13 -- Not a Joke
April 14 -- I Don't Mind Failing

April 15 -- What is Feminism?
April 16 -- Holes
April 18 -- We Won't Be Nice
April 19 -- Grass is Persistent
April 20 -- Ticky Tacky
April 21 -- Regrets

Tabatha has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week at The Opposite of Indifference.


  1. Fabulous, Mary Lee. Every time I see a golden shovel poem my fingers itch to write one. I haven't used song your entire theme and commitment this month. You go, girl!

  2. Anonymous10:37 AM

    WOWOWOW I am constantly learning along with you.

  3. Aw, man, Mary Lee, sorry about the loss of your wild spaces. It can be hard to find another caretaker. Great Golden Shovel!

  4. Fabulous to see a Golden Shovel poem! It looks very challenging to write but you pulled it off. :)

  5. Wow, Mary Lee - this is amazing.

  6. You had me at your first line. There are things we can't save. Letting go is also a powerful, meaningful choice. And it just now occurred to me, reading your Golden Shovel, that a GS poem is like the opposite of a found poem... or a backwards found poem... you are BUILDING the poem around the skeleton... thank you! xo

  7. Amazing! Even though I can feel the loss of that magical space, remember all the children who got to experience and may one day grow up to grow their own magical places for their children.

  8. Ahh, regrets. You have done amazing things with this poem, Mary Lee.

  9. Magical places are so hard to let go of because they bring us back to our roots and to the wonder that is in nature itself. The song, your previous post, and the GS poem work so well together. Let it be is a haunting phrase.

  10. This poem is amazing on so many levels (up/down/left to right) and the lines:
    "Your regrets threaten to break
    your belief in yourself, but her
    beauty remains whole in your heart." - wow! =)

  11. Heartbreaking that you lost your special places. You showed it beautifully in your poem. This happened with a small farm outside of an elementary school that my sone went to for a while. I guess the farmer was offered too much $ & couldn't refuse.

  12. I've seen this all to often in my hometown. As the population has boomed, and housing prices have becoming stratospheric, everything is being levelled, bulldozed, partitioned and developed. It's amazing how there can be so much construction, yet we risk losing more than we could ever build.

  13. This is really effective, Mary Lee. I love the last line... we leave not quite so sad because you still have this beautiful place in some way. Thanks for explaining the Golden Shovel form--new to me.

  14. We need our gardens and wildernesses. I am with you.

  15. On this Earth Day, to read your poem makes me sad for all the magical places we are losing. In Louisiana, the wetlands are disappearing at an enormous rate and all people can think about is drill, drill, drill.
    The Golden Shovel worked well for your message today. It's hard to write, but so rewarding, like completing a challenging puzzle.

  16. Wow Mary Lee. I am floored by your craft and message. Beautiful.

  17. You transformed your feelings into incredible art!

  18. Beautiful Mary Lee and succinctly written! Wish your small plot of soil was still there, but it's there in memory for you, and for the students who will save other pieces of land.

  19. Anonymous5:38 AM

    So beautiful, Mary Lee. It's those little details; the milkweed, and the regrets that threaten to break your belief in self. I've heard of golden shovel poems, but until Margaret's blog today, and now this, I hadn't seen one. Must try one!

  20. Well done, Mary Lee!


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