Lava Cave [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. 

For most of spring, I’m guessing, my pics will come from the wonderful trip Randy and I took to Paris and Iceland. I’ll be sharing more about the trip at some point, but if you’d like to see more photos, just click on Paris and Iceland.

Lava tube cave in Iceland
Photo: Laura P. Salas

One of the many cool things in Iceland was caving in a lava tube! Because Reykjavik had just had a huge dumping of snow right before we arrived, there were icicles in the cave near the entrance and exit, where water was seeping through fissures in the solidified lava. This image makes me think of several things:

  1. Jonah and the whale
  2. runny nose
  3. kaleidoscope

And here’s my first draft. After I made this post, I wished I had used  Time’s spinning slow motions” instead of “Time’s constant slow motion.” Oh well. Write and learn:>)

lava cave 15wol


It’s your turn! Have fun and stick to 15 WORDS OR LESS! (Title doesn’t count toward word count.) And I’m back home, so I’ll be back to commenting on poems. Thank you for keeping the ink flowing while I was on my trip!







50 Responses

  1. Good Morning!

    Laura your poem journey took you to wonder and beauty…Kaleidoscope globe. That takes me right back to five years old and being mesmerized!

    I went dark.…to me the cave entrance looked like an eye…then I zipped over to wikipedia for a quick peek at Icelandic (Norse) mythology which took me to this fabulous quote:
    Numerous gods are mentioned in the source texts such as the hammer-wielding, humanity-protecting thunder-god Thor, who relentlessly fights his foes; the one-eyed, raven-flanked god Odin, who craftily pursues knowledge throughout the worlds and bestowed among humanity the runic alphabet;

    Then, rubbing my hands together I imagined an evil purpose.….

    Keeping Watch

    e y e
    scans icefields
    for sight of Thor
    Ravens fall in
    thirsty for death.

    I’ve paired the words and image here:

    1. Linda, for some reason Alfred Hitchcock’s film, The Birds, comes to mind. Unblinking eyes and ravens thirst for death takes me there, just as you wished. Good job!

    2. Oh, this is evocative. I love “ravens fall in.” Like soldiers lining up for carnage. And eye and icefields–nice echo!

    3. Great poem, Linda! I also saw an eye when I glanced at this wonderful photo this morning but never found a spare moment to write today. Love “Ravens fall in/Thirsty for death.”


    The whale opened wide-
    I saw inside!

    Back on the ship

  3. Welcome home Laura and what a fabulous trip. Just the phrase “caving in a lava tube” is very evocative and brings many images to mind. I first saw the pic on my phone, it “flipped” and an upside-down thought came to mind.

    First Light

    Dawn breaks,
    moisture-laden tree trunks
    light path
    canopies of
    autumnal colors.

    1. I love the image of vertical light shafts from your tree trunks. Very creative.

      1. Thank you Lauren and I owe it to the fact that my phone turned the picture upside down!

    2. I love the randomness of that flipped image inspiring your poem, Martha! And I especially like the last two lines of your poem.

  4. The yellow circles looked like eyes to me. Linda’s post made me want to write about them. I seem to be stuck on hay(na)kus.

    from the walls
    eyes staring

    1. Lauren, I saw the eyes too and the coloration took me immediately to peacocks. I like your stark take on it.

    2. This works so well with the form, because somehow the “back” having its own private line suddenly reveals the relationship. There is a person, a main character, looking at those walls, and now there’s a relationship.

  5. Laura, not sure why the “awaiting moderation” keeps hanging onto my comment. I think I’ve followed the prompts correctly.

    1. I don’t know why, either, Martha. You’re the only person who’s been moderated this morning. So frustrating! Sorry:>(

  6. I saw an eye too, and went in this direction …


    My eye wanders
    and wonders
    what amazing life came before
    and what will come after?

    By Ann Magee

    Thanks, Laura, for the inspiration this morning!

    1. Ann, I love the wander, wonder, before and after. Definitely puts one in a reflective frame of mind.

    2. I love the far-off perspective that I feel from this poem, Ann. Thanks for playing!

  7. I like wanders/wonders, amazing paired with life, and how your question places us in the middle of before and after, not simply today.

  8. I was feeling your rhythm, Laura, when I started this poem, but somehow it turned extremely campy dark.


    Swords from the ceiling
    Blood on the floor
    Someone’s concealing
    a crime. See the gore.

    1. Hehe–nothing wrong with campy or dark! It does look full of bodily…stuff, doesn’t it?

  9. Wonderful photo, Laura–I’m looking forward to seeing more of your adventures. That must have been cool (cold?) to see icicles in a cave. I turned them into stalagmites.

    Light seeps
    through the cave’s eye,
    bouncing on stalagmites
    spilling on rocky walls
    then disappears.

    1. It was very cool:>) And there were lava straws, sort of like tiny stalactites, elsewhere, though they were conical like real stalactites. Very interesting to see a completely different kind of cave. Love the way the light disappears. Interestingly, because the lava rock there is so porous (unlike the basaltic rock I’ve seen before here in the U.S.), sound doesn’t travel well at all, and I’m guessing light, either. Just gets absorbed.

    1. Catherine, I love that last line and the way it echoes Just in case. Nice!

  10. Laura thank you for sharing this pic with us I love your poem and everyone poems

    Poem By Jessica Bigi

    March’s Monster

    Icy wails
    sleeping snoring
    Mouths open wide
    Tiptoeing inside
    Chambers of
    Icicle teeth
    Hoping winter
    Doesn’t wake

    1. Oh, this is so clever, Jessica! I love March as a sleeping, wintry beast!

  11. Your trip sounds fabulous, Laura. And I enjoyed your poem and picture of the ice cave. When I looked at the picture, I saw all these circle structures that looked like audio speakers to me. What were they?
    Perhaps I’m too literal, but those speakers kept getting in the way. I’ll just excuse my poor behavior as I let the poem be what it wanted to be and not only that I broke the rule of 15 words or less. But, since the prize in this competition is a brain that is awake and a poem, I’m the winner and I’m not going to apologize and if you don’t like my poem, you can stop reading.

    TELL ME,
    Tell me,
    what do you see?
    Circle speakers
    in a shark sea?
    Icicles hanging
    from the roof?
    It’s all individual.
    I have the proof.

    Thanks for your indulgence and for the opportunity.

    1. Joy, isn’t it funny, the guilt we feel about not being able to control our minds? I often think that’s what poetry is, at least some of it, is our brains breaking free of the shackles we put them in. The shackles of boring, everyday talk. I’m glad you let your poem be what it wanted to be today!

  12. Ooh, can’t wait to see more pics from this trip! Glad you’re home safely! I figured you Minnesotans wouldn’t mind the snow.

  13. A day late…and a dollar short
    But here…and returning to comment on these offerings

    Day breaks cold, rain
    morphing into ice. The cave opens
    like Polyphemus’s unseeing eye.

    1. All that matters is that you’re here! Love the dreary and ominous scene you set with this! Especially love the mythological allusion–had to look it up. The singular eye and the fact that it’s unseeing–great!

  14. Down in the valley
    Of eternal hope
    Wonderment awaits
    For all to see
    and feel

    Anne McKenna

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