The Golden Shovel

Golden Shovel

Tooth brushing. Hair cuts. Scars. And Golden Shovels. These are the tools that I have been using for the last few months. I discovered them in a series of light bulb moments.  No, I haven’t lost the plot! This is serious business.

I’ve been taking part in Lady Calen’s weekly Sandbox Writing Challenge   for some months now. The weekly prompts are a means of enabling personal reflection, soul searching, growth and learning with a supportive group of people doing the same thing in their own unique ways.  This week is a ‘tween space. Part three ends. Part four will start. So we are invited to look at what’s been accomplished to date and warm up for the next round.

What does this have to do with the four tools ? I came across the first three in Zach Carlsen’s Strengths Life post Big Ideas .   In it he writes about making positive and lasting life changes. What I found uniquely wonderful was the simplicity and power of the metaphors he presents as the three major categories of change – The Tooth Brushing Type, The Haircut Type, and The Scar Type. Toothbrushing is a daily maintenance thing. Haircutting is a periodic and specific, but consistent, thing. The Scar thing is  the biggy. It’s a one off, cut deep, done and dusted. And the Golden Shovel ? It’s a new form of poetry I came across in Judy Dykstra-Brown’s blog, lifelessons.

Perfect! What better tool to use for digging around in my internal Sandbox than a Golden Shovel!

So here is my Golden Shovel review and warm up:


Deep within I search my core  for

my knowingness, my truth.

Finding it can

scorch and sting.

Digging deep with golden shovel as

cleansing as purifying drops of rain

wash  grains in soul’s sandbox,  evokes

memories, sadness,

forever rinsing

till the waters run clear.

There is no regret

for I am standing

exposed, cold

shivering and

shaking, unhindered,

unencumbered,  diminishing

those falsehoods.

Standing face to face

With Self – is this The Me, who

I Am, as we

the Sandbox Challenged ones are

bound together, stark,

golden shovel in hand and

intention, motivation pure

expose archetypal  journeys as

a way forward into the light of understanding when

washed, rinsed, cleansed and pure we

surrender to the knowingness that came

as digging, digging, screaming

searching, looking, finding yet another layer to

a never ending onion in this

journey of the Self, the internal world

pushes ever further in

stops and starts of laboured

learning to a new birth.


“Golden Shovel” poem.  Here are the rules:

– Take a line (or lines) from a poem you admire.
– Use each word in the line(s) as an END word in your poem.
– Keep the words from the original line(s) in order. When finished, you will be able to read down the right margin, and have the original chosen line(s) intact.

I used an excerpt from Candice Louisa Daquin’s    Scorched people over at thefeatheredsleep

‘For truth can sting

As rain evokes sadness, rinsing clear regret, standing cold and unhindered

diminishing falsehoods……

Face who we are

Stark and pure as

When we came screaming to this world in laboured birth…’


© Raili Tanska

Image Pixabay




36 thoughts on “The Golden Shovel

  1. Well executed poem with profound meaning, “Standing face to face With Self”. Love the tools and explanation. This challenge sounds really amazing and reflective.

    1. Wow Calen, I love it!! Where did you find that. I trolled Pixabay for a golden shovel and gave up. All I found was a black silhouette which I doctored 🙂

    1. Thanks Jacquie. I suggest you try it. It’s a very interesting exercise and surprisingly gratifying to write. I’m struggling with finding the right descriptor for what it feels like to write – gratifying is the closest I could come, but it’s still not quite right. You could even try using one of your own poems and see where it leads you 🙂

  2. You honor me with your mention. I apologize for coming late to this. It is beautiful. I find it hillarious that you don’t know how good a writer you are in poetry as well as prose. It reminds me of a book I read once, called The Golden Bough, it’s a bit of a new-age book and really interesting with lots of vivid imagry. Very female power too. Your poetry is just — powerful and your soul comes out of everything you write, you’re always part of what you write and that’s what lends it the gravitas. I hope you write many more poems and I will always read them (if WORST Press permits!). Love you my friend you are such a talent and I am so proud to know you and read you.

    1. Candice, your words are so appreciated, this brought tears to my eyes 🙂 The feeling is mutual… thank you xxx
      PS – I take WP is still not behaving.

      1. WP is EVIL 🙂 Nope it’s still not working for me. Sigh. I am SO happy my friend that you are writing poetry more often. I think you should and yes I’m biased, horribly biased but I’m right 🙂

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