In the Midst of a Blizzard

Snow falls deep. Whiteness blankets outside. In-
side I sit and stare. Contemplate this.
This white scene. My life. Our world.
Looking out, I turn to look inward. Examine my I.
Memories of who I was. Who I am.

George Floyd’s image flashed over and over as
this rich country opened its eyes. Rich?
In what? Inequities. Color continuum laid bare as
I realize I grew up in la la land. My I?
White as far as I could see. White privilege. Need?
I had none. Have none really. So now, am I to . . .
to what? To admit? Because I can no longer just let this be.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for writers around the globe. It’s our last prompt of 2020 as dVerse takes a winter vacation and returns with a haibun prompt on January 4, 2021.

Today Peter from Australia asks us to consider endings and gives several suggestions on how to do that, including writing a Golden Shovel poem. Unfamiliar with the Golden Shovel form? You take one poem or line from a poem and use it to create your own poem. BUT the trick is, each word in the line, in the order they appear in the line, must be the last word in the lines of your poem! I’ve used the line “in this world I am as rich as I need to be” from Mary Oliver’s Winter. So look back at the poem and read only the last word in each line, from top to bottom: “in this world I am as rich as I need to be”.

Photo taken this morning from my window….yes, we are in the midst of a snow storm and by the time the pub opens, we will have at least 12 inches on the ground; perhaps up to 16!

Happy holidays to all my dVerse friends . . . and here’s to a happy and healthy 2021!

31 thoughts on “In the Midst of a Blizzard

    • lillian December 17, 2020 / 3:30 pm

      Glad you enjoyed. OOPS: I had the end word in line 2 wrong. Just corrected it so it is now a proper Golden Shovel!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) December 17, 2020 / 2:51 pm

    I think there is very little we can really do except our best… somehow we have to agree what’s right and what’s wrong… but I find that harder and harder… but it’s time to start trying.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian December 17, 2020 / 3:31 pm

      I agree Bjorn. And OOPS: I had the end word in line two wrong. Have corrected it so it is now a proper Golden Shovel!


  2. Grace December 17, 2020 / 3:08 pm

    Deep reflections on life here Lillian. The year 2020 brought on so many inequities and our life with privileges to the forefront. Thank you for being part of our team and community! Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 17, 2020 / 3:32 pm

      THANK YOU, GRACE! For all you do for dVerse. I suddenly realized I had the end word wrong in line 2. Have now corrected it so it is a proper Golden Shovel!!! And don’t we needs shovels today in Boston! 12+ inches of snow today! In the city, that’s tough to get around with. But it is beautiful and we’re just staying inside today.


  3. kim881 December 17, 2020 / 3:10 pm

    I think you have our share of snow, Lill! Your poem is so heartfelt. I wish you a happy holiday and hope that 2021 is healthy and peaceful, and we can be together with our loved ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 17, 2020 / 3:34 pm

      Thank you, Kim. Just realized, the last word in line two was wrong so I just corrected it. It is now a proper Golden Shovel poem…..and yes! We definitely need shovels today in Boston! 🙂
      Have a joyful holiday season, Kim. I so enjoy knowing you here at the pub 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • kim881 December 18, 2020 / 3:46 am

        Happy Christmas Lill, my barfly buddy in a virtual Cheers. 🙂


  4. peterfrankiswrites December 17, 2020 / 3:16 pm

    Bravo Lillian, – so like how you’ve taken the (presumed) pastoral of the original poem and given it a social and political context – I think this is exactly what Terrance Hayes was on about when he invented the form. I particularly liked the questioning and hesitation in the line endings – Rich? / My I? /

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 17, 2020 / 3:35 pm

      Thank you, Peter! Had never written a Golden Shovel….don’t know when you wrote this but I had the last word in line two wrong. Corrected it so it is now a proper GS! 🙂 A grand prompt to end the year here.


  5. Ingrid December 17, 2020 / 3:22 pm

    This is a topical poem in more ways than one, Lillian. I love this line especially: ‘Looking out, I turn to look inward. Examine my I.’ I have been doing this a lot because I’ve had no choice really with the current lockdown situation. It’s a good thing to do. If we all did this a little more perhaps there would be less senseless deaths like that of George Floyd.

    On a separate note, all of our snow is melting and I would like some more!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 17, 2020 / 3:37 pm

      Thank you for the thoughtful comment, Ingrid. Yes – we’ve basically been hunkered down since March 12th….only going out for our daily walks when the weather was good. My husband walks to the grocery once a week with our cart. We’ve been hermits and miss seeing our children so. But, it is a pause and we must be thankful for good health and yes….all the benefits we’ve had in our lives.
      Well….we have plenty of snow in Boston! Had 12+ inches today. Somehow a golden shovel poem was appropriate! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ingrid December 17, 2020 / 3:53 pm

        I’m sorry you haven’t been able to see your children. I only got to see my dad once this year, but I’m so glad for that. Little could we imagine last Christmas the year which awaited us. I hope for better times in the year to come.


  6. merrildsmith December 17, 2020 / 3:37 pm

    I like how you’ve interwoven the winter season (and current snowstorm) with recent events. A timely and very thoughtful poem. And well done with the golden shovel. I’ve yet to attempt that form.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 17, 2020 / 4:02 pm

      Thank you, Merril. So glad you liked it. And it’s all true….I was up very early this morning and as daylight came, I could see all the snow on the trees and on the ground and still coming down heavily. I just sat watching….thinking…..and out came this poem! It is indeed an interesting form!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jane Dougherty December 17, 2020 / 3:57 pm

    Clever and thoughtful, and I admire how you have taken the line and made ‘your’ poem an personalised expansion of the idea behind it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. msjadeli December 17, 2020 / 4:09 pm

    I heard the east coast was in the middle of a major blizzard. Glad you’re staying cozy. I very much enjoyed the thoughtfulness and bravery in your poem. I agree with Bjorn that we do the best we can with who we are and what we are aware of . I like the resolution at the end that now you’re aware of it you can walk on new ground. Happy Holidays, Lillian!


  9. Glenn A. Buttkus December 17, 2020 / 5:06 pm

    Hey, Lil, you and I are on the same track yet again. I, too, wrote a “Golden Shovel”. and I, too, had to rewrite some to cover over a missing word. It’s a cool form. Writing to one word endings tended to make my piece a bit abstract, as it did yours. I really enjoyed where this took you, and us.


  10. Yvonne Osborne December 17, 2020 / 7:00 pm

    Love what you did here, very clever and really, at the end of the day, how rich do we need to be?
    (cool pic of snow)


  11. Tricia Sankey December 17, 2020 / 7:05 pm

    That snow was a great inspiration for you, Lillian! I wish we could get some here in Missouri, but maybe not 12 inches!! You made me ponder the word “rich” in your poem and how we seem to think this is a rich country, but the problem is, many Americans are suffering right now, and white privilege is an inexcusable reality. It’s more love and understanding that will truly bless us. We must all do better in the coming year. A great poem to ponder at year’s end. 💕


  12. memadtwo December 18, 2020 / 6:33 am

    A fitting meditation for this season and this year. (K)


  13. Ken / rivrvlogr December 18, 2020 / 10:11 am

    Well said, Lillian. This year definitely has been a lesson in privilege.


  14. Misky December 18, 2020 / 10:27 am

    Really well written Golden Shovel, Lillian. You turned that phrase on its head.


  15. Helen Dehner December 18, 2020 / 12:37 pm

    The candid richness of your poetry overwhelms …..


  16. robtkistner December 19, 2020 / 4:13 am

    Excellent response to Peter’s wonderful prompt. Hope you have a great holiday season, and look forward to reading more of your work in 2021.


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