[15 Words or Less Poems] Glass Ceiling


Photo: Laura Purdie Salas

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

Here’s the atrium ceiling from the cruise ship we were on in late December. I love glass ceilings! Here are a few things this one makes me think of.

1)?The carapace of a beetle
2) A fancy necklace
3) An x‑ray of a house

And here’s my poem first draft:

She Wore

Eiffel Tower
as pendant–
Paris, a fancy wrap
she might forget in a taxi

–Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved

What do you think of when you look at this picture? Take any quick idea and jot down a 15 Words or Less poem. It doesn’t have to rhyme or describe this picture. It’s just about whatever you think of when you look at it.

140 Responses

  1. My crystal heart thumps
    Shaking iron bones
    On my wood mouth someone beats
    “Anybody home?”

    I love your idea of using Paris as a wrap! Great job!

    1. This is one of my favorites of yours, Amelia. I especially love the first two lines–the way the textures and weights contrast, and the way I hear the sounds.

  2. My crystal heart thumps
    Shaking iron bones
    On my wood mouth someone beats
    “Anybody home?”

    I love your idea of using Paris as a wrap! Great job!

    1. This is one of my favorites of yours, Amelia. I especially love the first two lines–the way the textures and weights contrast, and the way I hear the sounds.

  3. Glazing Over

    77 cents to the dollar
    bruised hands from
    banging, banging, banging
    for a hundred years.

    © Diane Mayr

    I so prefer your jewels and wrap!

    1. Oh, Diane. I love your poems and feel smarter after reading them. In a good way. Love the title play on glass ceiling, and the image of all those bruised hands. I feel a little dumb because I usually have to read your poems 2 or 3 times to be sure of what you’re referring to (and sometimes I go Google something). But you always make them accessible enough and engaging enough that I *want* to read them again and get them. Many poems that are not obvious just beg for me to skip them because there’s nothing I can latch on to. Yours are never like that.

  4. Glazing Over

    77 cents to the dollar
    bruised hands from
    banging, banging, banging
    for a hundred years.

    © Diane Mayr

    I so prefer your jewels and wrap!

    1. Oh, Diane. I love your poems and feel smarter after reading them. In a good way. Love the title play on glass ceiling, and the image of all those bruised hands. I feel a little dumb because I usually have to read your poems 2 or 3 times to be sure of what you’re referring to (and sometimes I go Google something). But you always make them accessible enough and engaging enough that I *want* to read them again and get them. Many poems that are not obvious just beg for me to skip them because there’s nothing I can latch on to. Yours are never like that.

  5. Lovely poem, Laura!

    *************

    Wall

    Hitting a wall
    that?s made of glass.
    Telling myself
    this too shall pass.

    ?Kate Coombs (Book Aunt)

    1. Thanks, Kate. I’m interpreting this two ways–one serious and one humorous. The humorous one is winning out as I’m picturing myself (and others) doing the whole walking-into-sliding-glass-door thing.

  6. Lovely poem, Laura!

    *************

    Wall

    Hitting a wall
    that?s made of glass.
    Telling myself
    this too shall pass.

    ?Kate Coombs (Book Aunt)

    1. Thanks, Kate. I’m interpreting this two ways–one serious and one humorous. The humorous one is winning out as I’m picturing myself (and others) doing the whole walking-into-sliding-glass-door thing.

  7. I like your little vignette, Laura — it says so much! For mine, I think I was somehow inspired by the hope in Kate’s poem:

    FRAMEWORK

    Confinement
    resignment
    locked within your tracks
    realization
    liberation –
    sneak out through the cracks.

    - ? Matt Forrest Esenwine

    1. Thanks, Matt. This is cool–I especially love line 3. And then the liberation. Too bad various groups *have* to sneak, but that’s usually how societal change starts, I guess!

  8. I like your little vignette, Laura — it says so much! For mine, I think I was somehow inspired by the hope in Kate’s poem:

    FRAMEWORK

    Confinement
    resignment
    locked within your tracks
    realization
    liberation –
    sneak out through the cracks.

    - ? Matt Forrest Esenwine

    1. Thanks, Matt. This is cool–I especially love line 3. And then the liberation. Too bad various groups *have* to sneak, but that’s usually how societal change starts, I guess!

    1. I was writing about walls recently for something–always interesting that they can imprison or protect. Just depends on the circumstance. I especially like your very first line, Jeanne…

    1. I was writing about walls recently for something–always interesting that they can imprison or protect. Just depends on the circumstance. I especially like your very first line, Jeanne…

  9. Your poem shows what I often think of Paris, fancy, haute couture women who dangle things as trinkets, Laura. Here’s mine:

    Imprisoned
    until
    she saw the wall
    as a ruse for abuse–
    traveled around, then up!

  10. Your poem shows what I often think of Paris, fancy, haute couture women who dangle things as trinkets, Laura. Here’s mine:

    Imprisoned
    until
    she saw the wall
    as a ruse for abuse–
    traveled around, then up!

  11. In the Grocery Store

    House Sparrows sweep
    past produce
    peck at pies,
    retreat to hideouts
    treed
    where treasure lies.

    I should probably read the 15-word or less rules to see if titles are part of the word count. If so, sorry to sneak in those extra words. I wasn’t sure if folks who don’t have sparrows flitting about the high ceilings of grocery stores would get this without the title.

    Love the image of Paris as a fancy wrap that might be forgotten so easily, Laura.

    1. Thanks, Buffy. This is wonderful–and title words do NOT count as part of the 15, so you’re completely legal:>) I love when birds are in the grocery store–a rare occasion here. And it’s pry not the most sanitary, but it’s so fun. My favorite thing about your poem is that the line breaks and meter feel quite erratic, like a bird flitting about. Great effect!

    2. I love this. I love the flitting line lengths and all the p’s, ee’s, and ie’s. You inspired me to write a sparrow in the grocery store poem too.

      1. Thanks all for the nice comments (I can’t claim that the erratic line breaks/meter were a conscious decision, but glad it works)–and happy to inspire you, Liz!

  12. In the Grocery Store

    House Sparrows sweep
    past produce
    peck at pies,
    retreat to hideouts
    treed
    where treasure lies.

    I should probably read the 15-word or less rules to see if titles are part of the word count. If so, sorry to sneak in those extra words. I wasn’t sure if folks who don’t have sparrows flitting about the high ceilings of grocery stores would get this without the title.

    Love the image of Paris as a fancy wrap that might be forgotten so easily, Laura.

    1. Thanks, Buffy. This is wonderful–and title words do NOT count as part of the 15, so you’re completely legal:>) I love when birds are in the grocery store–a rare occasion here. And it’s pry not the most sanitary, but it’s so fun. My favorite thing about your poem is that the line breaks and meter feel quite erratic, like a bird flitting about. Great effect!

    2. I love this. I love the flitting line lengths and all the p’s, ee’s, and ie’s. You inspired me to write a sparrow in the grocery store poem too.

      1. Thanks all for the nice comments (I can’t claim that the erratic line breaks/meter were a conscious decision, but glad it works)–and happy to inspire you, Liz!

  13. What a neat poem, Laura!

    I’m having a horrible day. Among other things, I am currently waiting (in ‑6 degree weather with no heat) for a tow truck because my car decided to stop working out of the blue while I was driving. Anyway, the poetry here is always a bright spot in my Thursdays, but especially so today!

    The picture made me think of snowflakes. Not sure why, but maybe it’s because I’m so cold, LOL.

    Delicate, intricate crystals
    Melt away with the slightest breath–
    Yet a sky-full
    Transforms my world.

    1. Oh no, Janelle! So sorry that your day is rotten. I hope you got towed pretty quickly. I love your ode to the beauty of even ethereal, disappearing things. Lots of wonderful sounds here! Hope your day is going better now!

    2. Thanks, everyone! (For the sweet comments and the warm thoughts, too.)

      I was stuck in my car for an hour and a half, waiting. Then, when I finally got to the service place, it turned out their furnace was broken and I had to sit in their FREEZING waiting room for three hours. I survived, though, and have been slowly thawing out ever since… 🙂

  14. What a neat poem, Laura!

    I’m having a horrible day. Among other things, I am currently waiting (in ‑6 degree weather with no heat) for a tow truck because my car decided to stop working out of the blue while I was driving. Anyway, the poetry here is always a bright spot in my Thursdays, but especially so today!

    The picture made me think of snowflakes. Not sure why, but maybe it’s because I’m so cold, LOL.

    Delicate, intricate crystals
    Melt away with the slightest breath–
    Yet a sky-full
    Transforms my world.

    1. Oh no, Janelle! So sorry that your day is rotten. I hope you got towed pretty quickly. I love your ode to the beauty of even ethereal, disappearing things. Lots of wonderful sounds here! Hope your day is going better now!

    2. Thanks, everyone! (For the sweet comments and the warm thoughts, too.)

      I was stuck in my car for an hour and a half, waiting. Then, when I finally got to the service place, it turned out their furnace was broken and I had to sit in their FREEZING waiting room for three hours. I survived, though, and have been slowly thawing out ever since… 🙂

  15. When she stood tall,
    The ceiling cracked,
    Raining crystal splinters
    Down their backs.

    1. I get such a great image of this unfolding woman or creature, rising majestically. Love the sound of raining crystal splinters, too.

  16. When she stood tall,
    The ceiling cracked,
    Raining crystal splinters
    Down their backs.

    1. I get such a great image of this unfolding woman or creature, rising majestically. Love the sound of raining crystal splinters, too.

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