Summer Poetry Swap….and story time for the eclipse!

This summer I again participated in the summer poetry swap, organized by  Tabatha Yeatts. Like most of you, my mailbox is usually home to bills and catalogs. But not in the summer–every couple of weeks my mailbox grins with poetry treats! And because I’m generous, I’m willing to share my goodies.

My summer adventure kicked-off with a collage and poem from Keri Collins Lewis. I loved Keri’s invitation to explore:











Next up, Carol Varsalona gifted me a nature journal and a poem inspired by her morning observation–a good model for said-journal!

Watching in Awe

In pensive stillness,
she stood.
From the window
I watched.
She came in peace,
baby does
not in sight.
she moved
behind trees,
careful to hide
her caramel silhouette.

into the silence,
as if with
she communed
with nature.
morning light
caught her eye.
She delicately
passed on by.
–Carol Varsalona


Heidi Mordhorst used Tabatha’s terrific poetry swap logo and my own nature/science obsession to inspire her colorful poem:


green rides into yellow
glowing molecules of chlorophyll
rolling through particles golden as pollen
motion of stem sugaring under sunshine
summer chemistry
–Heidi Mordhorst



Imagine my surprise when I opened Margaret Simon‘s envelope and saw that some of my monarch photos that I had posted on Facebook had inspired her poem! Margaret also gave me plaque/collage she made, with a raft of buffleheads (my favorite water fowl) and the good advice to “Be impeccable with your word.”

From a tiny egg
the size of a pinky fingernail,
iridescent like a snow globe,
a monarch grows.

From a swamp milkweed,
caterpillar sheds his newborn skin
earning stripes along the way,
a monarch grows.

From a neaby leaf,
chrysalis dangles like a green lantern
darkening more each day
a monarch grows.

From a see-through shelter,
butterfly unfolds as a scarf from a magicians’s hand,
spreads wide orange kite-wings,
a monarch flies.
–Margaret Simon

Thanks for the treats, summer swappers. It’s been a welcome respite from what’s going on in the world today. (As have been the green lanterns I’ve got dangling at home, waiting for that magician’s hand to work its wonders.)

And finally, to make a long post even longer, I’m sharing a timely story I wrote for the July/August issue of Click Magazine. Back in April the editor asked me to write a read-aloud story about the upcoming eclipse. Feel free to read it with your favorite 5 or 6 year old and try out the activities!

Happy eclipse watching, and Happy Poetry Friday. Be sure to visit Kay for all of this week’s posts.

26 thoughts on “Summer Poetry Swap….and story time for the eclipse!

  1. Great story, Buffy. Very timely. I like how you managed to put so much information in the dialogue the trick with the styrofoam, grape, orange and flashlight. The summer poetry swap items were great. Loved participating this year.

  2. We’ve been getting patrons coming to the library asking about eclipse glasses for days now – and we’re not giving them out! Oh boy, this eclipse has just got everyone in a tizzy – thanks for sharing some great eclipse activities that can be done even without the special glasses. 😉

  3. Thanks for sharing the swaps and your story! I just put grapes and oranges on my grocery list! We’ll do the activity…and then eat it!

  4. What a rich post, Buffy! I love your swap gifts (each person’s show-and-tell gives me ideas for what I could do another year!). And I love your story. Wish I had some littles to share it with!

  5. Wow! You hit the jackpot with all those poetry gifts! I love the way your story teaches children about the eclipse in an entertaining and fun way. I tried to get eclipse glasses, but everywhere I went, they were sold out. Amazon has some, but they are not on Prime. I’m afraid they won’t arrive on time. I also heard that Amazon recalled a bunch of them. I guess my granddaughter and I will make our own little eclipse viewer. : )

    1. I ordered glasses a week or so ago, but had to get them from a NY camera store, because Amazon was backordered. It’s nice that so many people want to watch! And yes, lots of instructions online on how to make a pinhole viewer. Apparently you can also stand with your back to the sun and cross your fingers and see the eclipse in your fingers’ shadows.

  6. Oh my gosh, Buffy, I caught myself smiling through every bit of this wonderful post. And that’s a precious thing with current events. What joy-filled gifts from our PF sisters! (Of COURSE Heidi would think of using the actual, way-cool logo….!)
    Love your piece – you always make science so accessible and fun. Weather and my Achilles willing, I might hit the backroads Monday to drive an hour or so looking for a parking lot or field or something to experience at least the edge of totality. (Boy did I have to scramble to find some glasses online!) SC is expecting a million folks to visit for it; hence, my desire to stay away from the interstates! ;0)

    1. You are scaring me with that million folks visiting business. We are driving 7 hours to Southern Illinois (picking up the Chicago kid on the way) assuming there’s not too much traffic. Probably we are crazy…I think I reserved the last hotel room in all of southern Illinois for about 4x the normal price. What a deal! But it is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and the husband and said offspring are astronomy geeks. I’m going along for the ride, as is the other offspring.

  7. Buffy — What goodies you received this summer. I can’t wait for next summer, so I can join in on this swapable fun! I LOVE the eclipse story and will share it with my incoming Kindergarten families!

  8. Buffy, what a rich harvest of writing! I love the poems you received in the swap, and your story is absolutely perfect! I can’t wait to share it.

  9. I love all those wonderful sounds in Heidi’s poem! Margaret’s chrysalis dangling like a green lantern is a beautifully-memorable visual, and it’s cool that Keri offered you adventure, and Carol brought peace! You got it all. Congrats on the eclipse story!

  10. Buffy, you certainly got a wonderful assortment of poems from this summer’s swap. I know what you mean when you say your mailbox grins with poetry treats! Thank you for mentioning my offering to you. I truly enjoyed observing nature and thought that would make a good background for a “science-oriented poet”. Congratulations on having your story published in Click Magazine. It is both engaging and content-driven. Parents and elementary teachers will enjoy it. How timely is right! Enjoy the eclipse.

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