Arc De Triomphe Stairway [15 Words or Less]

Hello, and welcome! This is 15 Words or Less Poems, a low-pressure way to wake up your poetry brain (guidelines here), and I’m very glad you’re here. 

Before we get to today’s picture, congratulations to Lauren McBride, longtime 15 Words or Less contributor, on her poem at I subscribe to Your Daily Poem, and I always cheer to see a poet friend there! Maybe you’d have a moment to stop by and leave a comment for her?

Photo: Laura P. Salas

OK, on to our writing! I had to look back through pictures from our trip to figure out where this staircase was. Turns out it’s inside the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. This image makes me think of several things:

  1. chambered nautilus
  2. mother-of-pearl
  3. chambers of the heart

And here’s my first draft. It came from several places. My daughter Maddie (in her early 20s) was there at the Arc with us, and she is home for a visit before moving to Cyprus to serve refugees and other people in need. I am filled with love and pride. And as I write this, I have just learned of the death of a friend’s child, who was also only in his 20s. She is devastated, and the whole world feels ripped apart. It reminds me of this…

love 15wol


It’s your turn! Have fun with the image and don’t feel your poem needs to be in any way affected by mine! Be sure to 15 WORDS OR LESS! (Title doesn’t count toward word count.)








40 Responses

  1. Love, truth, trust, and hope
    a room for each blessing
    chambers of goodness
    and heart

    1. I love the way you’ve used room and chambers, Amelia. Line 2 makes me happy!

  2. Hooray! Lauren McBride, Hooray! It’s lovely to see your words come to life.

    Laura, your poem is simple.…but the so powerful. Let’s make a poster of this one! LOVE is truly the only word that matters.

    I saw math.…which is weird.…I’m not good in math! As usual, I made a graphic to display this poem on my blog.


    two steps
    now its three
    each goal met a triumph.

    Life sequence

    1. A Fib poem! What a great idea! “Each goal met a triumph!” Yes.

    2. Thanks, Linda:>) I guess mine isn’t really a poem, but…there ya go! I like your celebration of small steps here.

  3. so sorry to her of your friends loss of her son this pic is very interesting I love your poem

    poem by Jessica Bigi

    Waze as
    eyes of time
    each winding step
    intertwining lives
    treasured love

    1. so sorry to her of your friends loss of her son this pic is very interesting I love your poem

      poem by Jessica Bigi

      Wise as
      eyes of time
      each winding step
      intertwining lives
      treasured love

      1. Those intertwining lives can lead to a broken heart. That’s the risk we take.

      2. Thanks, Jessica. I love comparing those winding steps to our lives twining together. Lovely.

  4. I think losing a child is the worst thing that could ever happen. Prayers for your friend, Laura. And congrats to Lauren! I need more time than I have right now to formulate a poem.

  5. I’m so sorry about your friend’s loss, Laura. How devastating. This was a super quick draft version as I’m pressed for time but wanted to participate. I’ll be back to comment on others’ poems later.

    Turn the Screw

    spiraling inward


    or explosion?

    1. This verse reminds me of my thought of a snail “recoiling” itself. I hope it didn’t vanish nor explode! ????

  6. Thank you everyone, and Laura especially, for the shout out, and weekly inspiration through 15 WOL. You all have inspired me over the years to write the best poems I can.

    I am so sorry for your friend’s loss, Laura. Which made me wonder how we would greet the future if we knew what was coming; and how to face the future after such a tragedy.

    I have no time today so my poem is another six word hay(na)ku.

    each step forward
    our future

    1. Congrats Lauren. YDP is a favorite site for me and you are deserving of a shout out.

  7. So sorry to hear of the unthinkable loss for your friend. Condolences to all. Paris is the city of love; quite appropriate. I could see the mother of pearl and I pictured a snail trying to “recoil” itself. But .…

    Stairway from Heaven

    “Out of my way,
    I’m coming down,”
    Visitors wait on Slinky,
    some smile, most frown.

    1. Oh, a slinky on the stairs. How fun. And thanks for your kind comment above.

  8. Oh Laura, I am so sorry for your friend. Losing any family member is hard, but losing a child is devastating. I’m guessing it will make your time with Maddie even more precious.

    Plodding Through the Pond

    Balanced on one foot
    snail carries her prize–
    her spiral staircase
    leading everywhere
    and nowhere.

    1. I just can’t even imagine, Buffy. And, yes, this painful reminder of the uncertainty of life does make every moment more cherished. Your poem is wonderful! Snail seems so…active…in it, which is an unexpected joy:>)

  9. Thank you for keeping this space of creativity and support, Laura. It shines like the LOVE in your poem…even in dark times.

    Mother of pearl
    chambered nautilus
    all the secret places
    I tuck your love away

    1. Thanks, Kortney–I appreciate those words. Your poem is beautiful–“secret” and “tuck” give it such a cozy feeling!

    2. I love how your last two lines take me somewhere unexpected from the marine image I had at first. Thank you for your lovely comment on my poem at YDP.

  10. Two Views

    Going up? Sliding down?
    Cheery smile? Grumpy frown?
    You are standing
    on life’s landing.


    1. What a wonderful nudge and reminder of our power over our reactions to things. Love this!

    2. Cindy, life’s landing certainly offers choices. Some wise, others not so, but hopefully things eventually work out. I like the emphasis on our choice.

  11. This came from your picture and all three bits in your post… the happy and the sad.

    And She Grew

    Step by step
    In helical line,
    From roots
    to shoots,
    A journey divine.

    Donna JT Smith

    1. Oh, that roots to shoots–beautiful. And the word helical! This is just lovely, Donna…

  12. By Phillip- age 7

    Big Tornado-

    Looks like a staircase
    Let’s see where it goes
    NO! It’s a tornado

    1. LOVE this in-the-moment thriller poem. I’ve written lots of storm poems. The drama is irresistible.

  13. By Franklin-age 11

    Long, Long Staircase-

    Bottom of the Staircase looking up
    When will i reach the very high top?

    1. Great point of view. Puts the reader right there with you! (I feel tired already:)

    Swirling down the stairs
    feet slapping concrete slabs
    human typhoon.

    © Charles Waters 2017 all rights reserved.

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