Korean War Veterans Memorial [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. 

Korean War Veterans Memorial
Photo: Laura P. Salas

The Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC is so haunting. This image makes me think of several things:

  1. homesick
  2. firefighters
  3. militia groups

And here’s my first draft. 

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







20 Responses

  1. I see “heart drained” and it takes me to a new place too…maybe I need to go write that poem.

    If my nightmare
    became your
    war memorial
    who would know
    would see?
    would wake me?

    1. I love those questions, Linda. Perhaps separating them out into their own stanza might make them even more powerful? Just a thought.

  2. What an image, Laura, and a great poem! I love “heart drained empty right down her pen.” Here’s my super quick, didn’t-even-write-it-down draft!

    the trees remain
    after the men are gone
    silent sentinels

    1. Oh, Molly, silent sentinels is awesome. It makes me think of both the soldiers and the trees, even though you are specifically talking about the trees in this poem.

  3. Good morning Laura. The fourth line in your verse is heart-wrenching and says it all: “war is hell.” Never a quote more applicable.

    The Artist’s Pen

    Helmets, guns for protection
    cloaks for warmth
    she sketches an illusion
    for what lies within.

    1. Oh this is interesting, Martha. I thought from the title that you were going to go to the pen as weapon metaphor. But instead you’ve gone right to the heart. Lovely.

  4. I, too, love your fourth line, Laura- it drains me.

    Childhood Gone

    The games we played
    memories stayed
    Now in it for real
    different deal

    I’m scared.

    1. Cindy, I remember the games my little brother and his friends played. Scary indeed, never more so than now. Maybe little sisters participate now.

    2. Cindy, this one choked me up. I am dictating my responses on my phone, and Gboard is having a hard time understanding me. That was one thing that always strikes me at the war memorials, is how young so many of the soldiers are and how quickly they must grow up. But you know they must still feel every emotion with the intensity of youth. Your last line slayed me.

  5. Linda, this is so powerful. I felt a few heartbeats skip as I was reading it.

  6. In Seconds

    Startled eyes
    Death-call cries
    Weight of lives
    Final dives
    Call to lies

  7. This is not where I intended to go when I searched for a simile, but sometime the poem has a mind of its own?

    The Candidate

    as a soldier
    hacking through the jungle
    he raised his voice
    silenced her truth

    1. Boy, I am longing for a world where the loudest voice is not the one that gets automatically believed.

  8. Wow Laura this is really heartfelt: the picture and especially your words, “Her heart drained empty straight down her pen.” Haunting!

    When we were Young

    Remember the times
    We played army
    In the woods?
    We were just little boys then…

  9. poem by Jessica Bigi

    On an Day Of A million Tears and Stars

    Through rice filed

    Rice felled stomachs

    freedom- heart-tears

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