Ice on Fire [15 Words or Less Poems]

Hi teachers and writers! I’m offering something new in January for people who want to write (published, pre-published, no desire to be published–you are all welcome!) but who aren’t getting the writing done that they want to. It’s a low-cost Closed Facebook Group that will be full of encouragement and checking in to set and reach a writing goal in January. Start 2016 with a writing bang–join the Writer’s Resolution!

Now, it’s time to wake up your poetry brains with 15 Words or Less (guidelines are here)!

Here’s a close-up picture I took the other day.

Photo: Laura P. Salas

It makes me think of:

  1. Meringue
  2. A flash-frozen fire
  3. Medusa’s hair

And, here’s my first draft. I was picturing some sci-fi story set in an environment where the temperature changes and weather were so extreme and so fast that a fire could actually freeze.

Sudden Frost, a 15 Words or Less poem


It’s your turn! Have fun and stick to 15 WORDS OR LESS! (Title doesn’t count toward word count:>) If you leave a poem in the comments, and if it’s 15 words or less, I’ll try to respond!

56 Responses

  1. Oz

    If only
    had a heart
    they would dance
    golden streets
    ruby red-slippers

    poem By Jessica Bigi

    Laura I love you last 2 lines

    1. We were on the same wavelength today, Amelia! I love lick and skin, the way the short i sound repeats.

    1. This is lovely, Donna. For me, in 15 words exactly, you’ve made me think about the harder part of December and the way memories of wonderful moments throughout the year can still warm up a hard month. I love winter, but we have brown outside right now in Minnesota and a hard, clattering rain falling. In DECEMBER. What the heck?

  2. Laura, is there a way to change the commenter’s image size or placement so that the comments — which at least on Thursdays are poems — keep their format? It’s distracting to read poems that have the first line or three pushed to the right. I usually space down four lines to avoid that, but forgot to today. Maybe it isn’t, but just a thought…

    1. No, there’s not. Well, you can do things like bold, italics,
      etc., but I don’t think anything with tabs/margins, which is annoying. Sorry:>(

      I don’t know what the b‑quote does. Let’s see.

  3. What on earth is this? But whatever, I stared at it and kept seeing those hands pushing and pushing.
    And because I am feeling overwhelmed by all I have to do lately, I came up with this:


    Hands push,
    struggle to be free
    of confining web
    of conformity.

    1. I’m thinking it is a ice scalper like that you saw hands trying to free themselves

    2. Hehe–it’s a close-up of a very pretty glass Christmas ornament–a horse–with lights on the tree sparkling behind it. I’ll post a regular picture of it with tomorrow’s post, if I can get to it! I like those last two lines and the con- words echoing each other, Pat. There are plenty of days, especially at this time of year, when my poetry diary poem is more a quasi-poem about my inability to think straight or write poetry than it is an actual poem. ‘Tis the season!

  4. I have noticed that, Donna. (Will now space down a bit.)

    in alchemist’s fire,
    a coil
    of glass beakers
    to make gold.

    —Kate Coombs

    1. This one mesmerizes me. Why a salamander? So odd and yet, somehow, that’s the word that brings me back again. Love the coil of glass beakers, too!

      1. My “salamander” was the barn heater… probably not the salamander Kate was talking about, but the red-hot barn warmer would be one kind of salamander that fits! Look up “salamander heater” -

      2. A little weird, I know! Salamanders are associated with fire in classical and medieval lore. Some thought that salamanders lived in fire and/or could put out fires with their cold bodies. Historians think this belief came about because salamanders often live in rotting logs, which might get taken and put on a human fire, at which point the astonished salamander would emerge. The salamander is sometimes used to represent the element of fire, and it shows up in a lot of contemporary fantasy, most notably (for our bunch, I suspect!) in Harry Potter: “Salamanders appear as magical beasts in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. They are bright-orange lizards that live in fireplaces and die after an hour without heat, except when they get chili pepper rubbed over their bodies regularly.”

        1. I didn’t know this salamander lore, and I’ve also never heard of a salamander heater! I love how the two go together and how both could inform your poem!

          I have a visceral distrust of portable heaters (no, I don’t know why) and also grew up in Florida, so maybe that’s why I’ve never heard of one?

          Thanks–love learning new stuff from y’all:>)

  5. (This photo made me thing of an actual human heart, with the major blood vessels.)

    a transparent heart
    pumps life
    adds truth
    and love
    with every

    1. Cynthia, I was just able to participate and, like you, I thought of the human heart. I promise I just read this, and submitted before doing so. For some reason I haven’t been prompted to “confirm” so it may be a moot point anyway. Your poem is lovely.


    “Here’s the heart,”
    His voice droned on.
    I was

    My son fainted in health class- some like blood and body parts. Others don’t!

    1. Oooh. For career shadow day, I was with a veterinarian, and he did eye surgery on a dog. I was leaning too close in and got the anesthesia fumes and the icky view–got queasy and had to sit down for a while! Love the z sounds in this.

  7. I like the idea of a fire frozen. Makes things feel so cold!

    Double Duty

    The heart,
    a mystery till open,
    a muscle miracle:
    keeps body going,
    love flowing.
    Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

    1. I love this–took me right back to when my kids were little and Ground Round restaurant often had someone walking around doing balloon animals for the kids! Love the word “spin” here–just right!

    1. Hehe, Kristi–love that you saw bubblegum. So many fire and heart and hand poems, but only ONE bubblegum poem. Yes! Those first two lines are kind of clunky to say, which perfectly echoes the act of chewing gum. Nice!

  8. Hi Laura. I’m late checking in today. What an awesome picture. Immediately thought of the human heart.

    The Gift That Keeps Giving

    Two chambers
    two valves
    synchronized to harmonize
    pulsating veins
    gifting life and love.

    1. Interesting title, Charles–I love the personification of twilight but also think of other ways I could interpret that. Lovely!

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