Watching the Eclipse

Did we really drive 1000 miles to southern Illinois and back to view the eclipse? Indeed we did. It was two minutes of awe-inspiring amazement (and hours of bumper-to-bumper highway driving and backroads after we ditched the crowds.) The sky during totality was other-worldly and glorious, like nothing I’d ever seen.

We were well-equipped for sky gazing, with eclipse glasses and solar filter film covering our binoculars and telescope. The elder offspring took many photos through the telescope, and we were able to see sunspots and solar flares. Here are several of those spectacular photos (all eclipse photos © Jake Conner) and a poem inspired by the day.















Bite by bite
the moon swallows the sun,
leaving a crooked smile.

The grin grows thinner,
a curtain of darkness descends,
melting humid air.

Clouds of starlings sweep the sky,
spectral sunset falls
in every direction.

All at once the heavens blaze,
dancing fire rings the moon,
phantom sun glows a ghostly light.

As if in a dream, the moment passes.

The solar crescent flips and waxes.
The moon surrenders the spotlight,
disgorging the growing sun.
–©Buffy Silverman, August 21, 2017

Happy Poetry Friday!  Visit Jone at Check It Out for the roundup of all of today’s posts.

29 thoughts on “Watching the Eclipse

  1. I think it’s wonderful that you traveled to see the eclipse and were so rewarded–and then shared the riches with us with your fabulous poem and amazing photos! “dancing fire rings the moon” Love it!

  2. Love the photos and your word choices, Buffy (crooked smile, spectral sunset, dancing fire, phantom sun, disgorging)! Sounds like a terrific experience.

  3. Way cool all the way around — the 1000 mile drive, the whole family, the geeky gear, the poem, and the PHOTOS!! OH MY…the photos!!

    1. They are pretty amazing, aren’t they? Jake took close to 300 photos–I saved about 40 and dumbed these down for my blog so you don’t quite get the full glory here. But still nice.

  4. Oh – I’m so happy you posted this, Buffy! I’d checked in over here before but it was before you’d posted. I should have been more patient. THANK YOU for sharing – the pictures are glorious. (That seems to be my word for the week!) Love your poem. Most of all, I love that your whole family piled in a car and made the crazy trip because you are all smitten with wonder. (Okay, you’re all really super-smart geeks, too, and understand all the science behind this – and, smitten with wonder.) ;0) XO

  5. Well, you know we made the trip, but did not drive, have planned this for a long time, so happy we went, as you are. Your poem with Jake’s photos are marvelous, Buffy. I have a faded pic, only to catch the totality for my own memory. I saw those “dancing fire rings”, so amazing. And love Violet’s poem shared. We did speak of those in the past who didn’t understand and how it must have been so frightening. Thanks, Buffy. I’m glad you drove to capture this!

  6. Glorious! And, I’m totally sending this to our sixth grade science teacher. What an experience and what beauty in how you captured it in photo and word. Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. Oh my, this poem is fabulous, Buffy, as are the photos. Love the last line!

    The poem reminds me of another one I read. I have a poet friend in Ontario, who wrote a collection of poems based on the diaries of his parents who were missionaries in China. One of those poems is “Lunar Eclipse (June 1928)” It has these lines:

    “On Sunday evening as darkness crept in
    the people rushed out
    with gongs
    & pots
    & anything to make noise
    to scare the heavenly dog
    that slowly
    very slowly
    ever so slowly
    had placed its jaws about the moon…”
    (by D.S. Martin – from the So the Moon Would Not Be Swallowed.

    One can only imagine how people with no scientific knowledge must have been spooked by such events.

    1. Oh, I love this one, Violet! Thanks for sharing it. I read an article about all of the different beliefs/folklore associated with eclipses, and it is easy to see how early people were spooked. But apparently astronomers predicted eclipse cycles at least as early as 2500 BCE!

  8. You captured it! I didn’t see it but experienced the darkening sky. Thaks to your poem and photos I feel much more like I was there. Lovely. And lovely.

  9. What a beautiful poem and what amazing pictures. I am not at all surprised you made the drive and arrived well prepared to document the experience. I am very glad you did!

  10. FANTASTIC poem Buffy, and images too! I would ditto Jane’s comments above for the viewing in Chicago. Although we did get to see the moon eating up the sun when the clouds weren’t covering them both up, and that was pretty spectacular–and the community of rousing crowds made it also worth while. Pretty cool binoculars your sporting, and that telescope isn’t anything to sneeze at.
    “dancing fire rings the moon, beautiful, thanks for all!

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