Big Fish [15 words or less poems]

Wake up your poetry brains with 15 Words or Less (guidelines here)!

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Maddie and the Armored Fish
Photo: Laura P. Salas


Last week, I went with Maddie one day up to Duluth, a harbor town on Lake Superior, to take care of some stuff for her visa. She leaves for 2–3 years in only a couple of weeks:>(? Anyway, we made a day trip out of it, and one thing we did was the Great Lakes Aquarium. We had a great time, and one of the cool things I loved was this cast of a fossil of the skull of a giant armored fish (Dunkleosteous). I made Maddie pose behind it, and she humored me. It makes me think of:

1) Jonah and the whale (of course)
2) an archaeology trip–I’d love to take one
3) a cool prison in some fantasy novel, where the fossil or skeleton of a giant dragon or other scary beast is actually a prison cell

And here’s my?first draft.



It’s your turn! Have fun and stick to 15 WORDS OR LESS!??(Title doesn’t count toward word count:>) If you leave a poem in the comments, and if it’s 15 words or less, I’ll try to respond!

Here’s another picture of it, from the side:

armored fish
Photo: Laura P. Salas [You can see how big this fish was by looking at the scale image in the sign at the bottom left!]


63 Responses

  1. Dunkleosteous

    Die no — dragon

    Universal- mystery











    Poem By Jessica Bigi

    1. Jessica, I love this! Nightmares, King-fish, and Opera-queen are my favorite. (Check your spelling, though–the Affinity line should be an E, and you’re missing a T line. Awesome acrostic, though!)

    2. 1. Dunkleosteous
      Die no – dragon
      Universal- mystery
      Temper — Teeth

        1. if you try one will you shear it would be neat to se what you would come up with

      1. thank you all I I like your poems as wail it is so amazing all the different poems from the same pic

      2. An acrostic — how impressive. Love the descriptions as I go down the list of letter beginnings.

  2. Imprisoned by my own self-doubt
    thrashing to escape.
    Rescue must come from within.

    So glad you and Maddie had such a fun day. Praying for her and her mission work!

  3. Giant teeth
    leave little doubt:
    once you’re in
    you don’t get out!

    Ha! Ha!- as I read your poem, I thought “wonderful- all that in 15 words!” I thought about counting- but then read your confession. 🙂

    1. For some reason, I always loved imagining the Jonah story, maybe reluctantly knowing it wasn’t possible. Your poem makes that real! No release through those teeth!

    2. Love it. This could hang on a sign around the neck of a cartoon armored fish! It was so bizarre how the parameter of 15 words just completely flew out of my brain. I wanted to do a cinquain, and those usually fit into 15 words, no problem. But then during the process, I decided to do a diamante, and I don’t think word count entered my mind for a single second after that. Sheesh!

  4. Loved your “skeletal cell”!
    And glad that you are fitting in some good times with Maddie!

    Delayed Gratification

    I’m just a fish
    Who made a wish
    For some delish
    Nutritious dish

    1. Nice rhymes–you rocked it. This has a fun little self-deprecating voice to it. I can picture a cartoon of this fish saying these words:>)

  5. Just for you, Laura!
    1. For cheating on the word count today! I’ve finagled my own word count!
    2. Hmmm… Was this a bit of sub-conscious working through “letting go” of your daughter??
    3. For being a ” Poem- Eater!

    How Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em?

    Laura-Laura, poem-eater
    Had‑a daughter
    Couldn’t keep’er
    Put’er in fishy-cell
    But that didn’t work too well!

    Donna Smith

    1. Oh, this is too funny, Donna. I’m going to have to show this to Maddie! And you’re right, maybe the jail cell imagery is a reflection of my wish that I could keep her in this country, at least…

    2. This one cracks me up, except for how we wish we could keep our kids — just a little longer.

  6. Patience is Virtue

    Bide my time
    ignore bait on line
    due diligence I exert.
    Here comes dessert.

    You’re excused Laura, you corrected yourself. Thanks to Maddie for supplying “food” for thought.

    1. LOVE this! Though this narrator’s idea of dessert is very different from mine (which is more like bomboloni, as shown in post earlier this week).

      1. Funny Laura. All of that bomboloni would not even begin to fill a cavity in this guy’s mouth.

  7. I like the idea of that ‘skeletal cell’, Laura. What a lovely day you must have had! I did imagine Jonah, but added in a little Disney, too.

    Jiminy Cricket!
    It’s big enough for me.
    But I refuse
    to keep Jonah company.
    Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved

    1. A little Disney is always fun! Jiminey makes a nice addition for Noah.

  8. Laura,
    Love “skeletal cell”!

    Dunkleosteous and the Dentist

    Open wide.
    Look inside.
    Must excavate
    rotten plate.
    Don’t be glum,
    I’ll numb your gum.

    Penny Parker Klostermann 2015

    Interesting fish! Among other things, I read that instead of teeth the Dunkleosteous possessed two pairs of sharp bony plates which formed a beak-like structure. Must have been a challenge for a Dunkleosteos dentist. 😀

    1. One could definitely crawl inside to perform most anything. Fun image Penny.

    2. Wow, you’ve got a whole little scene here. I love the idea of this beast being nervous about dental work:>)

  9. … Unless it Eats Me First

    Cast my line.
    Feelin fine.
    Caught a fish-
    What a dish!
    Mine to dine

  10. Wow, 2–3 years–that must take some work to wrap your mind around (at least we live in the age of Skype.) Glad you are getting to spend time with Maddie before she goes.
    We are enjoying a family trip–a week at a cottage on Beaver Island in Lake Michigan, which inspired this poem.

    On Beaver Island

    Toes sink in sand
    waves lap ankles
    fingers lift quarry
    eyes ferret.…

    1. What a cool image! And lovely poem. Reminds me of space studies and science in general, how, when looking at the very tiny or very long past, we often have to assume based on the evidence, since we can’t actually see the presence.

    Submerged in steel cage
    Gazing down great white’s gullet
    Underwater prisoner.

    © Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.

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