It’s Poetry Friday (where every month is National Poetry Month!)

Happy Poetry Friday! I hope you’ve been enjoying this month of poetic goodness. Liz Steinglass and I have been exchanging poems this month–Liz takes the gold for keeping our daily commitment. I come in a distant second…

Many of the poems I’ve written this month have been inspired by the ten zillion photographs I’ve taken of spring budding out around my house. We live at the swampy end of a small lake, and this time of year it’s a noisy place! Frogs call at all hours, swans trumpet, geese honk, and sandhill cranes bugle as they fly overhead. The toads are particularly persistent with their trills. One day I sat on our dock, surrounded by trilling, determined to find a toad in the muck. I finally spotted the closest triller and photographed him as he sang. If my friend Toad were to write a poem, this is what I imagine he might say:

Toad’s Swampy SerenadeIMG_9643

There’s a mucky, noisy choir
in the mire where I romp
making music every morning
that echoes through the swamp.

I paddle through a tangle
then I clamber up some slime
to join the crooning chorus.
My singing is sublime.

I’m puffing up my dewlap—
it swells like a balloon.
I’ll surely find a sweetheart
with my thrilling, trilling tune.
–Buffy Silverman, all rights reserved


This is one of those poems where I’ve changed one line back and forth and back and forth and back and forth…Do I include the word dewlap, whose sound I love, but the reader might not understand? Or should I change the line to: I’m puffing up my throat until…





I suppose if I were to try to have this published for kids I would go with throat, but you, dear Poetry Friday readers, are gifted a dewlap!

Mister Linky is kindly helping with today’s links:

49 thoughts on “It’s Poetry Friday (where every month is National Poetry Month!)

  1. I love this poem, and I love the word dewlap. What a great excuse to use awesome vocabulary, and teach a little science at the same time. I would keep it in for the kids then make them go look it up, I did and I learned quite a bit!

  2. What a fabulous poem, Buffy, and the photos are magnificent as well! Spring certainly is inspiring! This poem is so dense with wonderful words and I was thrilled to learn the word dewlap. Do you mind if I use your poem with my class? I know they’d love to read it aloud and harvest some exciting new words! Thanks so much for sharing. Happy spring!

      1. Hi Buffy–My class loved your poem. I wanted to send you an audio of them reading it. I sent it as an attachment to the e-mail address I found on line but it was rejected as exceeding the databytes limit. If you have another e-mail address I could send it to, please let me know!

        Molly Hogan
        Nix the Comfort Zone

  3. I love that “thrilling, trilling tune.” And another hooray for “dewlap!”
    Thank you so much for hosting us all with the sounds of spring. ‘Seems the creatures know it is poetry month too… xo, a.

  4. Your poem has such great words–mucky, mire, clamber, slime, crooning, and definitely dewlap! I say keep it, even for kids. There’s plenty of context.

    I just added my link to the Linky, and made the mistake of thinking “Name” meant my name. I’d love to have something about the name of the post there. Is there a way to change it? Or maybe delete it and I can try again? If anyone knows, let me know.

  5. Where has “dewlap” been all of my life??? What a great word! Sublime poem, all around, Buffy! I’m pretty partial to frog-and-toad poems, myself. 🙂

  6. Wow! What photos. I can only imagine the music they make. Love the words of your poem: crooning, mire, muck. Thank you for hosting.

  7. I would definitely stick with dewlap. I think kids deserve rich vocabulary! Thanks for sharing that one. I’m in this week with a link to some facts about poets laureate. Off to link with Mr. Linky. 🙂

  8. #TeamDewlap for me as well, for all the reasons above, and because the poem is sublime. Sub-slime? Dee-vine? Playful and fine! Thanks for hosting and sharing your swampy world.

  9. Hi Buffy, I agree with the others, keep dewlap! Your poem provides enough context clues to help readers figure it out. The poem is wonderful as is!

  10. Thanks for sharing Toad with us! Your photo is great, and I can just imagine the cacophony outside your house. Your poem is just right the way it stands — yay for dewlaps! Thanks for hosting. 🙂

  11. Dewlap is such a great word. It’s been great working together again this month! I think maybe we tied for silver. Nah, scratch that. Let’s say we both tied for gold! We wrote a lot, we critiqued a lot, and we revised a lot! Thanks for hosting. I’m sharing some poetry postcards I made this month for a Spark postcard exchange. I also got a great postcard from one of Jone’s students.

  12. I imagine you in big white rubber swamp boots zeroing in on this glorious toad. And dewlap is a great word. You should keep it. As a teacher, I feel poems also teach great vocabulary.

  13. Love the poem – and can certainly relate, as the peepers coming out now – and would definitely leave ‘dewlap’ in. An occasional unusual word is fine for young readers, as long as they understand the context of the rest of the story or poem, they can often figure it out. I’m off to the local SCBWI conference now….but Happy Poetry Friday!

  14. What spectacular photos! And a delightful poem! I sag it as I read it through even the first time. I was a little toad-throated, but I guess that’s to be expected! You must keep “dewlap” with “puffing up” and “swells like a balloon”. Not only teaches, but rolls off the tongue just right!

  15. Good morning Buffy!

    This is simply a wonderful poem–dense with interesting words and a celebratory tone. Certainly with the photos and even without, “dewlap” is comprehensible in the context to any reader with a passing experience of toads. I wouldn’t change it either. Thanks for hosting!

  16. Buffy–don’t you dare change dewlap–I’d be poorer for it! I am one of the ones who’ve just learned what a dewlap is from the context in your poem! Wonderful, wonderful poem.

    I’m in with a toe-tapping crow poem which matches your toad’s enthusiastic rhythms.

  17. Buffy, I am all for leaving the word dewlap in because it not only has a nice ring to it but it challenges students to think what it means in that context. Your poem is delightful and will surely entice students to inquire more about frogs and toads. Your poem reminds me of the picture book for 3rd grade in NYS: Bullfrog at Magnolia Circle. I will come back tomorrow to add my post.

  18. Such a marvelous poem, Buffy, and those pictures are awesome. I envy you your swampy lake so close! I would go with dewlap too, but I understand the dilemma. Yet, when I read poems, and prose, like this to my granddaughters, they simply ask what that (like ‘dewlap’) means. It’s okay, they learn a new word. I love the rhythm of your poem very much! Thanks for hosting!

  19. I absolutely love the sounds of summer in Australia – the crickets chirruping and the ping-pong matches and long tennis volleys of frogs (and toads) singing in the showers… and dams. Very naughty of me to enjoy the sound of the toads so much, as they are an introduced pest which is rapidly spreading across Australia and doing a lot of damage!

    No toads on my blog – although you did remind me of a poem I wrote and had published a number of years ago; ‘Bufo Marinus – What am I?’ … Instead I have some Qs. No-one’s been brave enough to answer them. Yet. 🙂

    1. PS Definitely dewlap! I agree with Laura. And too, I think it’s important that we don’t write words out of our language just because they’re not so common.

  20. I love dewlap (and this entire poem). I also think your context here gives kids a good clue toward the definition, and that even without the pic, they would figure it out. So I vote to leave it in, even if you submit this to a kids’ market. It’s delightful:>) Thanks for hosting!

  21. Love that swampy serenade! I also like the word “dewlap.”

    You’ve got noisy toads and at Alphabet Soup I have a moose :). My link goes live at 6 a.m. Friday morning.

    Thanks for hosting, Buffy!

  22. I like dewlap. It makes a wonderful sound when spoken aloud, and, it will invite readers to get out the dictionary or to ask a librarian for more information on frogs. 😉

  23. Buffy,
    I love the choir/mire rhyme and the assonance rhyme of tangle/clamber. If you’re going to change the word dewlap, you might want to search for something that you can use the same rhyming pattern. Lovely poem.

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