Bird [15 Words or Less Poems]

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 glad you’re here.

bird on ground
Photo: Laura P. Salas

I was picking up the yard before a showing last week, and I saw a flash of yellow on the ground. I thought it was a tennis ball from the neighbor kids or something, but when I went to get it, I found this bird instead. It was so tiny and perfect and bright, and I was so sad that it was lying dead next to our house. I assume it flew into a window? Anyway, I got my phone and took a picture–not because I like pictures of death (generally the exact opposite), but because I felt like somehow this little creature deserved a witness.

This image makes me think of:

  1. a 2nd-grade boy forced to wear a dress jacket for a portrait or fancy event
  2. a still life painting where things are arranged, just so
  3. how I wish I saw living birds as close up as this one

And here’s my first draft. 

still life 15wol


It’s your turn! Have fun and stick to 15 WORDS OR LESS! (Title doesn’t count toward word count)

37 Responses

  1. Drops of sunshine
    Fly through invincible skies
    Dying by landmarks
    Made by those without wings

    1. Beautiful, Amelia–I especially love the image of that first line and the mood of the second!


    My little feathered friend, sleep on.
    Your cheerful morning greeting’s gone.

    A memory for me.

  3. Laura, love your “yellow heart” I recently heard the singing of a bird I could not identify but saw a flash of yellow when it flew. Still don’t know what kind it was, but your image brought the memory back.

    A yellow flash
    a high pitch trill
    God is singing.

  4. Your picture and your poem touched a nerve in many of us it seems.

    Folding back the empty sleeves,
    drawing it across my knees.
    laying his jacket to rest.

    1. Oh, Liz–this is heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing. Those empty sleeves.

  5. Laura, how sweet. Thank you for the tribute to the little creature. I have a Cockatiel, Pepper, who was 20 yrs. old last weekend. He is the original gray color, with yellow head and large orange “cheeks.” I’m not sure how old that is in human years, but he has worn out two cages, now living in a third one.


    May your gray
    shroud shield,
    as the song and sun
    from your soul lives.

    1. Oops, I meant to change the first line to read differently.


      May nature’s
      shroud shield
      and comfort
      as the song and sun
      from your soul lives.

      1. This reads like a beautiful Irish toast, Martha–I love it. And happy birthday to Pepper–20 years old–wow!

  6. [Note: This wouldn’t post at home so I’ll try from work. If you see a duplicate, sorry!] I found a dead bird a week ago, probably a nuthatch. It was red and yellow and black. So here are your bird and my bird together, beautiful in death. (Margaret, I used “flash” before I saw yours and decided to keep it in.)

    Flash of red and yellow,
    bright voice shining through morning,
    now fallen with leaves.

    —Kate Coombs

    1. Oh, I love both this celebration of life and solemn observation of death. That last line just fits…

  7. I love your yellow heart singing of sunshine, Laura–a lovely tribute to this beauty.

    At Sunrise

    Yellow-throated song
    wakens a spring morning.
    Pale leaves frolic,
    cheering the new day.

    1. Thanks, Buffy–and what a happy change of pace:>) Love leaves frolicking!

  8. I look forward to your photo every week, Laura.

    Still now.
    No more swooping,
    No more golden notes
    my golden throat.

    1. Thanks, Cynthia. Those brief first two lines really swipe at my gut. :>(

  9. poem By Jessica Bigi

    Yellow Book Mark

    whistle of songs
    feathered quotations
    question mark
    comma rest
    page marked
    in remembrance

    1. What a beautiful merging of ideas, Jessica. I especially love the feathered quotations!

      1. Thank you congracions on both of your daurts news that you shared the wedding and the return 🙂

  10. Yellow gold
    feathers flutter

    It is the tiny nails, on the tiny curled feet that always gets to me.

    1. I agree–something about them like tiny baby toenails. I love the restraint in your poem, Joy.

  11. Laura, I’ve been having a tough time writing something because my mind keeps going back to a haiku I wrote a few years ago that was published in YARN. So even though the following is not new, I hope you don’t mind me sharing it:

    sparrow sweetly sings
    melancholy melody
    her mate, on the ground

    - Matt Forrest Esenwine

    1. I absolutely am glad you shared this! The rhythm itself is so musical, then cut to stillness at the last phrase. Beautiful.

    naps in leafy
    bed, its yellow throated
    breathing pulsates like heartbeats of
    the sun.

    © Charles Waters 2016 all rights reserved.

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