Candle [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. 

Last week’s image was a close-up of the pompoms I use whenever we watch Dolphins games:>) This week, I give you:

Photo: Laura P. Salas

This image makes me think of several things:

  1. the natural hot baths we hoped to find (but didn’t) in Icelan
  2. a scary jack-o-lantern with flames shooting out of its eyes and mouth
  3. a galaxy

And here’s my first draft. I don’t spend long on these poems, but this one is literally a first first draft. These are the words that poured out on screen, with no changes.



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







63 Responses

  1. Good morning poets. I do love a pretty candle. Laura, I love the juxtaposition of a galaxy and tiny raspberry seed. That’s beautiful.

    My mood is impacted by a loss of a friend from high school. The ripples of grief between those of us that knew her have hit me this week. Winter doesn’t help.

    landscape stark
    feeling our way
    in hope we pray
    flickering candles
    seeking stars.

    1. xxx sorry about you los of your friend your poem is a beautiful tribute to them

  2. ooops! The first line got cut off in the poem above. Sorry about that.

    Winter dark
    landscape stark
    feeling our way
    in hope we pray
    flickering candles
    seeking stars.

    1. Nature is mourning with you. I hope your memories of good times with her bring sunshine.

    2. Out of grief and loss comes beauty in the form of poetry here, Linda. I’m so sorry for your loss. We were at a funeral last night, and I am drained but also heartened by the show of love for both Dave, who died, and for his family left behind. I think I might send your poem to his wife, if it’s all right with you. I would guess it reflects her own feelings right now…

    3. So sorry for you loss, Linda–I hope you share your poem with your friend’s family. It’s lovely. And Laura, sorry too to hear of your friend’s death. Yes, grief can bring out warmth and love. Sending some to both of you.

    1. So true Amelia. Support systems are necessities. When one is down, hopefully there those who can/will lift.

  3. I love the first 2 lines and the raspberry seeds image

    poem dye Jessica Bigi

    Family Traditions

    Lilly pads of light
    igniting uniting
    enriching memories
    of our lives
    circling heart-beets

    1. Thanks, Jessica. Oh, this is beautiful. Even though you never say water, it gives me the clear image of little votive candles on lilypads floating on a lake at night, all touching each other and setting the night aflame with love and support.

  4. Good morning, Laura. I love the comparison in your poem- stars as raspberry seeds in eternity. Lovely!


    Keep my eyes open.
    Use my mouth less-
    Justify using it
    when I can bless.

    1. Oh, Cindy, this one’s a keeper. Sadly, the people writing it or recognizing its value aren’t the ones who need it most. Ahem. But, still, a good reminder for me:>)

    2. Thanks Cindy, I need to become a better listener. The old adage “open mouth, insert foot” still holds true today.

    3. Well said, and in a catchy rhyme no less. Too often I wish there was a “delete key” for words.

  5. I see a face. And Linda’s grief reminds me how we miss the faces of the ones we loved.

    I seek your face
    in the clouds,
    the steam of coffee,
    a glowing candle.

    1. Yes! At a funeral I was at last night, there were hundreds of photos of Dave and his family. There’s such a deep need to see the ones we love. It’s one reason skyping with Maddie is so much better than just phone calls!

    2. I remember seeking that face that would no longer be here. With time, I seek it less, but there are still times at a grocery store when I see someone from behind and my heart leaps in recognition, until they turn around.

  6. Linda, may your grief be soon lessened with warm memories and peace. In the bottom circle of today’s photo I see a lone astronaut in space boots, carrying a light and his/her head illuminated by another star/moon/sun.


    Forever hopeful
    that man will find
    for all mankind.

    1. Love the picture your mind saw. And how your poem and many others deal with seeking something. Science and love and both connected by that search, I think.

    2. Went back to the photo to meet your astronaut. Very nice connection, and more seeking. What is there about a candle that can bring about so much yearning, seeking and introspection, do you suppose??

      1. Thank you Donna. For me it’s the flame itself that promotes introspection. The same feelings surface while sitting in front of a fireplace or even at a cookout over open flames.

  7. To Linda’s high school friend, Laura’s friend, Dave, and her beloved Captain Jack, who inspired many 15 WOL poems:


    With only memories aglow,
    the fire of their lives
    still melts our hearts.

  8. The mood feels rather somber, and I am sorry for everyone who is experiencing loss here today. Hopefully my poem will make you laugh because when I looked at those candles I saw the finger holes of a bowling ball. I know I’m a bit sleep deprived today. Anyway it got me thinking about how serious bowlers have weird superstitions.

    Bowlers Superstition

    Fill each hole,
    spark the flame.
    Bowl a strike;
    win the game!

    1. After I read this, I went back to “see” the bowling ball and there it was! Ha! Yes, to the bowlers’ quirks! Seems every sport has them.

  9. It looked like a ghost face to me…and the dark around it then became the sky, and there are what could be stars there…then the face became an owl… then…

    Waning Hunger

    Owl’s night
    Eyes wax bright
    In shadowed flight;
    Stars alight
    A bite
    Of mouse!

    by Donna JT Smith

    Read everyone else’s postings after I’d thought mine through. It seems there have been lots of losses to work through, and it is nice that we have this thing called poetry to help.

    1. I love your short lines and clipped rhyme that give speed to the owl. The poor mouse.

  10. I also saw a face in these lights. We often play a game of spotting faces on a road trip (which google tells me is called pareidolia, a word I wish I could remember!)

    Hidden Faces

    Frowning trucklights,
    Smiling rocks.
    Winking windows,
    Flames in shock.
    From clouds to bridges,
    faces gawk.

    1. What a creative, fun game! Could have used that distraction on some of our family trips. I shall have to start this with my granddaughter now as we go back and forth to preschool.

  11. I like your relationship Laura between the “galaxy of stars,” and the “seas of infinity” they share an unending time.

    I saw a face too. Thanks Buffy for this new word pareidolia–I see many faces in trees.

    don’t eat me

  12. I really liked the greens and purples in the image, although the poem went in a different direction. I think I was thinking “candle in the dark” and then jumped to echos.

    Memories whisper
    Like echos in the dark
    Remember when…
    Remember when…
    Remember when…

    As always, thanks for posting these weekly poetry prompts!

  13. Eternal Flame

    Eternal flames
    Captured in a sea
    of boundless
    stories never told
    and endless sorrow

    Anne McKenna

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,500 other subscribers

Are You Looking For?

Poetry Friday posts

Classroom Connections posts

All my poetryactions

Go to my Poetry page for:

  • National Poetry Month projects through the years
  • Small Reads Roundups (poems grouped by topic)
  • Introductions to several favorite poetry forms
#waterpoemproject15 Words or Less Poems20for2030 Painless Classroom Poems50 State Poemsacrosticsactivity pagesactivity sheetALAA Leaf Can Be...Amy Ludwig VanDerwaterA Need to FeedanthologiesanthologyA Rock Can projectsaudiopoemsawardsbad newsBarbara Juster EsbensenBilly Collinsbiopoemsblog tourbookalikesbook festivalsBookSpeak!book spine poemsbook trailersbop poembyr a thoddaidcafepresscalendar poemsCamp Read-a-LotCan Be... bookscan be... poemsCapstoneCarol Varsalonacascade poemsCatherine FlynnCCRA.W.3CCRA.W.4CCRA.W.5centoschapter bookschoral compositionschristina rossetticinquainsCLAclassified ad poemsclassroom connectionclassroom connectionsClover Kittyconferences and conventionscrown sonnetscybilsdansaDare to DreamDavid Elliottdeeper wisdom poemdefinitosdiamantesdiversitydizaindodoitsuDot DayDouglas Floriandownloadablesdrum corpse.e. cummingsekphrastic poemsepistolary poemsequation poemsessentialethereeseventsexquisite corpseFairy Tale Garage Salefamilyfibonaccifiction picture booksfinding familyfirefightersforeign editionsfound poemsfree author zoomsfree versefrom studentsgeesegeorgia heardghazalGift Taggiveawaygolden shovelgoldilocksgratitudehaikuheart of aheart of a teacherHeidi MordhorstHelen FrostHighlightshow-to poemshow to make a rainbowI Am FromI Am poemsidiomsif you want to knit some mittensIf You Were the MoonILAimagepoemsinterviewin the middle of the nightIRAIrelandIrene LathamJ. Patrick LewisJanet WongJoyce SidmanKendraKerlanKidlit Comboslailaura's board booksLaura's booksLaura's poemsLaura's readingsLaura ShovanLee Bennett HopkinsLilian MoorelimericksLinda Booth SweeneyLine Leads the WayLion of the Skylist poemslittle free librarylive writingLullaby and Kisses Sweetlyricsmadness poetrymargaret simonMarilyn Singermary lee hahnmask poemsMeet My FamilyMelissa StewartMentors for Rentmentor textsmetaphorMichelle Myers LacknerMillbrookMinnesota Book Awardsmoonmy reading lifemy writing processN+7naaninarrative poemsNational Poetry Month 2012 (haiku a day)National Poetry Month 2014 (riddle-ku)National Poetry Month 2015National Poetry Month 2016National Poetry Month 2017 (#wonderbreak)national poetry month 2018 (haiku a day)National Poetry Month 2020National Poetry Month 2021 (#EquationPoem)national poetry month 2022 (sticky-note poems)National Poetry Month 2023 (Digging for Poems)National Poetry Month 2024 (magnipoems)ncteNerdy Book Clubnifty newsnifty stuffNikki Grimesnonfictionnonfiction booksNonfiction Writers Dig Deepnovelsnovels in verseodesOne Minute Till BedtimeoppositifyOskar's VoyagepadletpantoumsparodiesPatreonpeacepersonalpet poemsphotopoetryphrase acrosticspicture booksplagiarismpoempicspoemspoems for two voicespoemsketchpoetic pursuitsPoetry 7poetryactionspoetry activitiesPoetry Blastpoetry booksPoetry FridayPoetry Friday AnthologiesPoetry Princessespoetry promptspoetry sistersPoetry Tips for Teachersprogressive poempublishing processpuddle songPutridquotationsraccontinosRandy Salasread-aloudreadaloudreading poetry in the classroomRebecca Kai Dotlichrecipe poemsrefugeesresearchreview copiesreviewsrevisionrhyming booksrhyming nonfictionrhyming picture booksRhyming Picture Books the Write Wayrhyming poemsRiddle-kuriddle poemsRock Can Be...Rock the Blogrondeau redoublesRudyard Kiplingsalas snippetsSCBWIschool visitsScotlandseasonssecrets of the loonSELsestinasshrinking daysskinnyskypeslice of lifesmall readssnack snooze skedaddlesnowman-coldsonnetsStampede!storm poemstorytimestorywalkstudent poemsstudent workSylvia VardellTanita Davistankatautogramteachableteacher resourcesteen/adult poemsterza rimasthankfulthank yous and referencesthe business sidethings to do iftracy nelson maurertrioletstunie munson-bensonvideosVikram MadanvillanellevillanellesWater Can Be...wealthy elementaryWe BelongWhat's InsideWhy-kuwinterwonderwonderbreakword of the yearwordplaywordsmithswork for hirewritingwriting bookswriting processwriting promptswriting the life poeticyoung authors conferencesYouTubeZap Clap Boomzenozentangle
Show More Show Less

Join Laura's monthly newsletter for eductators

Get three of Laura's favorite poetry activities when you subscribe to "Small Reads."