Bird on a Branch [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. 

Here’s an itty-bitty birdie I spied while walking around the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Photo: Laura P. Salas

This image makes me think of several things:

  1. the Christmas ornaments of birds that clipped on that my Mom loved
  2. a kids’ climbing structure
  3. a birdcage

And here’s my first draft. It came out seeming a bit more melancholy than I intended, but first drafts don’t pay much attention to my intentions!

bird ornament


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







52 Responses

  1. Good morning poets

    Chirp fake carols…that’s what sparked my imagination.

    Not captured


  2. I love those clip on Christmas trees birds, too! They make my tree come alive.

    A me-size branch
    Camouflaged in place
    A quiet interlude
    I observe in space

    1. Yes! Who doesn’t want a tiny little safe space like this. A blanket fort, a hidey-hole in the branches–we all want them!

  3. Laura, it may be melancholy, but I love it! Here’s my flying-out-the-door first draft:


    Wooden perch
    or twisted cage?
    or imprisoned?
    Will you take flight
    or languish?

    1. Molly, the title is perfect. We are all free in many ways and imprisoned in many ways. What we do with the space that we have, that we inhabit–that’s what matters. Thank you for this!

    2. Love this. As I read your verse I was listening to my 22 yr. old cockatiel squawking for someone to come uncover his cage and open his blinds. I wonder how he feels. He has worn out 2 cages already and his third one is beginning to show wear. Since he is spoiled rotten, I don’t think he would take flight.

  4. Love this picture, Laura!

    Bare branches bounce
    then still;
    he lands;
    listens for the whisper winds of sweet spring

    1. What a celebration of alliteration, Rebekeh–lovely! And each word feels well chosen.

  5. Melancholy Is good Laura. My mom raised canaries and to this day we still have bird ornaments on the Christmas tree, feathered and glass. The bird in the photo seems a bit put out!

    Promises, Promises

    He asked for commitment
    I said yes;
    are you kidding,
    you call this a nest?

    1. This gave me a good laugh. He better get busy! I’m going to buy a couple of new bird ornaments for my tree next year–glass? I’m going to look for that!

  6. I thought this bird looked safely tucked away, so I gave it a question:

    When life leaves you
    too tired to fly,
    where do you hide?

    1. That safe hiding place–a theme for today! We all need a roosting spot for when we’re weary…

    2. Oh Lauren. Poor birdie. My daughter’s cat just dropped her first “gift” of Spring at the front door. Thankfully it was not a bird.

  7. Solitary Confinement?

    No twitter.
    No chatter.
    I am alone.
    Nothing but boredom
    since Mom took my phone.

  8. Gorgeous pic Laura offering so many possibilities…

    Framed by nature’s
    organic lines
    I sit poised
    posing for my picture.

    1. Hehe–of course an artist would notice all the lines and think portrait! Lovely, and I love the alliteration.

    1. Love this little scene–I want that bird/narrator to burst out in song, regardless of the cues! 😀

  9. this reminds me of how dull and gray winter is…here’s my haiku…

    cold, winter days
    filled with browns and grays
    until…a cardinal

    Dianne Moritz

    1. Oh…beautiful! I shared a poem about a cardinal in winter on the blog at some point from a lovely old book, but now I can’t find it. So I’m savoring yours!

  10. I think Mr. Sparrow was posing for you, Laura. That’s not usually my experience!

    Bird Photography

    Feathers flit
    through tangled branches

    a flash of wings
    a splash of tail


    1. Me, neither! But there were CLOUDS of sparrows flitting around in front of the Museum of Natural History, so I just stood quietly by the shrubs for a minute until they settled. It still wasn’t real happy I was there! Love your poem–that couplet with “a flash” is just perfect–and then the “gone.” When I moved by the shrub, even slowly, birds exploded out of the shrub like they’d been shot out of a cannon!

  11. Laura your poem made me laugh. I too love the clip on birds! They are “nesting” in my basement as well .


    Bird on a branch,
    Ready for spring,
    Vocal cords warble,
    Chirp, cheep, peep, I sing.

  12. What do you see,
    little chickadee?
    A sprouting branch,
    a chance to dance
    with me?

  13. Swatters of fathers knitting
    songs of spring
    woven nest of sparrow
    are welcome-mats
    winter is all most over

    1. Love that image of the nest as a welcome mat for spring! And thank you for my picture that you created! I went and signed books at Red Balloon yesterday and got it! A little bittersweet as my dad down in Florida just bought some red tulips. Tulips were my mom’s favorites, and are mine. So looking at this drawing of my mom and thinking about tulips today… :>)

    1. This may be an odd response to this wonderful photo, but it made me think I was inside a fancy room decorated with this image in wallpaper! Glad you got to that museum, too. And I love the fun idea in yours, Laura.

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