Poetry Friday: “Living My Past,” a golden shovel

I love National Poetry Month. I love publishing new picture books. I love readings and signings and blog contests to promote those books. And I love teaching poetry and writing to students.

But trying to do all of these in one month? WHEW!



As I was looking over some of my documents, considering what to share for Poetry Friday today, I came across a poem I wrote back in March – that I never got around to posting here! So I’m going to take care of that right now.

I wrote it as a response to one of Michelle H. Barnes’ monthly challenges on her blog; she had interviewed the incredible Nikki Grimes, who had suggested that readers write a golden shovel poem.  A golden shovel takes a line from someone else’s poem and then uses each word in that line as the last word of each line of the new poem.

In this case, I used the first line of Devon Hope’s poem, “Black Box:” “in case I forgot to tell you”

Living My Past

Uncertainty sneaks in.
It’s always the case
when dealing with what I
want to lose, or wish I forgot.
Things left behind, they find a way to come back, to
remind me you never can tell
what’s going to hold onto you.

– © 2018 Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved

It’s only a second draft, so I could probably spend some more time polishing it, but this was an exercise in writing – not a quest for perfection. Remember what I always say: #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading! Sometimes polish and shine is necessary, but the act of writing itself needs to be allowed its freedom, which is why I occasionally share poems here that are not-quite-finished.

Every great masterpiece has to start somewhere – and sometimes, it can be pretty hideous when it first starts breathing. It can take a few days, a few months, a few years before it’s ready to debut in public. Just keep at it, and write – no one ever said everything needs to be a masterpiece, and no one ever said you had to share your writing with anyone. Write for yourself, first and foremost…and then see where it takes you.

Looking for today’s Poetry Friday roundup? You’ll find it at Rebecca Herzog’s little home on the web, Sloth Reads – where she is not only hosting today’s shindig, she’s also offering a book giveaway!


DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR” is now available everywhere!

Only a couple more signings lined up at this point – so if you are in the Southern NH-Eastern MA area, I hope you’ll stop by and say hi!

  • TOMORROW, Sat., May 19, 11:30am-3pm: Barnes & Noble, Salem, NH, National Storytime at 11am, followed by Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., June 2, 1-3pm: Books-A-Million, Concord, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing


Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, it’s true!

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new way to purchase personalized signed copies of not only Flashlight Night, but ANY of my books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

I’ve teamed up with the good folks MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH to present an option for people who would love to have a signed copy of one of my books but don’t live anywhere near me. MainStreet BookEnds has ALL but one of my books available for ordering…and the best part is, you can get them personalized!

Just log onto my website and click the cover of whichever book you want, and they will get it to me to sign and send it off to you. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)


Thank you so much to all the librarians, bloggers, and parents who are still discovering “Flashlight Night!” 


Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

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25 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Living My Past,” a golden shovel

  1. lindabaie

    I know from FB that you indeed have been busy, so thank goodness it’s a good kind of busy! Your poem is right, you never know what might hold you, or return now and then. Well said!


  2. I love and admire your golden shovel. It’s a form I struggle with. Thanks for sharing, and thank you for the copy of DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR. I received it in the mail this week, and both my granddaughter and I loved it! I gave you a public thank you on my Poetry Friday post today, too.


  3. Nice golden shovel, like the kernel of truth in such a small space.

    And I do not know how you manage to do all you do!! Is Superman your middle name? 🙂


  4. Kay Mcgriff

    Well done! I find this form incredibly challenging, but I attempted another one for today, too. Enjoy all those good things keeping you busy!


  5. I’m so glad you posted this golden shovel Matt—it’s a real beauty! Also love the fabulous photos of you in action. Certainly you would NOT have survived the last several weeks if you weren’t so passionate about what you do. It’s all good. 🙂


  6. Love your shovel. I wrote one a couple months ago and want to try more this summer. I think there is something wonderful about “linking” my words and ideas with those of another through shared words. Perhaps that is why I like writing found poems. Favorite thought “…dealing with what I / want to lose, or wish I forgot.” Pondering, how is it we remember what we wish to forget and forget what we wish to remember?


    1. Thank you, Alice. Indeed, why do we remember things we wish to forget? I have made mistakes that I’ll never be able to erase from my memory, yet I can practice piano chords over and over and over and still never remember how to finger half of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Strong golden shovel Matt, I like how your poem, and the”uncertainty” voice in it connects with the line from Devon Hope’s poem, thanks. Enjoyed your pics too, and it sure was a full busy month!


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