Building Growing Out of a Tree [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. 

Randy and I often walk to a small park nearby and play Scrabble. The other night, I looked up to see the tip of the Minnesota State Capitol building just visible over the top of a tree. It reminded me of the image of the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda that is on our kitchen calendar right now. 

capitol building behind tree
Photo: Laura P. Salas

This image makes me think of several things:

  1. that pagoda
  2. a kite stuck in a tree–or a building stuck in a giant’s tree
  3. a landscaper who gets everything wrong!

And here’s my first draft. The chronology doesn’t quite work, and I initially had 16 words. But I kind of like getting rid of “birdie flies” and replacing it with “surprise!” This would need more work, but that’s one example of how different poetic forms or even just word limits can force our brains to come up with new (sometimes better) options!


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







31 Responses

    1. This is great, Donna! I love the juxtaposition of science and nature!

    2. Fabulous concept, Donna! I just watched a baking show last night where bakers had to create a farm that exist only in their imaginations. Now I’m picturing a crop of pre-fab homes!

  1. I love how you so beautifully and concisely captured a mother’s wise and loving nudge, Laura! To me, that’s the essence of the best kind of parenting.

    Here’s my take on the image:

    Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité

    Leafy branches
    rippled screen
    Royal tower?
    French lily flower?
    Seat of power
    lost at sea?

    1. Thanks, Suzanne:>) I don’t know if I get all the French allusions, but I like your list poem of questions. I love seeing the possibilities in one thing!

    2. Suzanne, thanks for prompting me to go to the dictionary. Your words are a perfect description of the picture.

  2. Ha, that pagoda! I can just imagine that as a refrain in a fancy garden amongst the grounds keeping staff.

    I went in a spell casting direction:

    Aurora’s Temple Spell

    half past
    seventh moon
    Iris bloom
    faerie rune
    shadow tune
    proven true

  3. Laura, your verse sums up the prolific (or so it seems) production of fledglings we have witnessed for some months now. Love the colors in the photo.

    Monet’s First

    Plein air

    Shucks, treetop too concrete.

  4. Surprise is a great word!

    Pink sky
    Purple blooming tree
    Steeple in the distance
    Peeking out at me.


    1. I love the simplicity of this–and I feel like you could use it as an action poem!

  5. Taking A Risk

    Brave knight makes way
    to the castle.
    A princess awaits,
    worth the hassle.

    He hopes.

    1. Love the pause before “He hopes.” I used this wry voice a lot in my Fairy Tale Garage Sale collection, and it really appeals to me:>)

  6. I like your bird poem, Laura, esp. the “surprise” ending.

    Take a Break
    by Dianne Moritz

    Tie a hammock in the trees.
    Daydream, imagine, gently sway.
    Let all worries drift away.…

    1. Thanks, Dianne, and thank you for your lovely little vacation of a poem!

  7. What a great place to play scrabble! Your game inspired my poem (which has some pretty low-scoring words in it!)

    Tree Scrabble

    Words sprouting from an oak:




    1. Ooh, but a triple-word score for a creative concept, Buffy! Wouldn’t this make a lovely concrete poem?

  8. once I was the tallest—
    first to feel sun’s smile
    last to see it go

    1. Oh, I love the tone of this, Liz. I wrote a poem called “Prince of the Prairie” about big bluestem for my 50 State Poems book, and it says, “Bison thundered through, And men on horseback, And I rubbed shoulders With them, proud and tall.” Your poem gave me the same feeling I was trying to capture in my poem:>)

  9. Beautiful stoury of your love and pic

    A Game Of Scrabble

    Poem By Jessica Bigi

    spell me
    The words of
    your heart
    Make shore
    They spell
    Trees parks
    Summer Days
    You Me Us

    1. Oh, this is lovely. Such a heartfelt voice to it. (I think it could have ended on “Love” and been just perfect.)

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