Losing Perspective [15 Words or Less Poems]

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. 

hotel 15wol
Photo: Laura P. Salas

I hope everyone’s holidays have been going great! Mine have, but today is Maddie’s last day at home. Tomorrow, we send her back over to Scotland, and it will be hard to say goodbye, as always!

When I was in Atlanta for NCTE, I took this shot in the lobby of…hmmm, not my hotel, but one hotel over. I think it was the Atlanta Marriott? I was standing in the lobby looking up, but I like the way this shot could be interpreted different way, like I could be at the top of some structure looking down. This image makes me think of several things:

  1. Escher
  2. Optical illusions
  3. A highwire

And here’s my first draft. I thought about feeling disoriented a little as I try to both look backward and forward at this time of year–and also the fun of ignoring all that and just focusing on the right-now-moment. 

new years eve 15wol

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



30 Responses

  1. What a great picture and poem, Laura. I love that ending “Balanced on now — a fine line.” It reminds me that we’re always balancing the past and the future while trying to focus on the present. That’s a balancing act indeed! When I looked at the photo, I immediately saw the prow of a ship in the lower right quadrant and surrounding seas. Your thoughts of the New Year influenced my response as well. Wishing you and yours a wonderful 2017.

    Sailing into the New Year

    At the precipice
the bow pauses,

    poised above swirling seas,
then plunges
into unchartered territory

    1. The change of the new year feels like this precipice into unchartered territory. I hope the trip is adventurous and fun!

    2. Oh, the drama in this is wonderful, Molly. And all the /p/ sounds and “precipice”–delicious sounds/words!

  2. Today’s picture is awesome. I like how you used /“balanced” on now/ as if we could teeter off and all would be ruined.

    Busy, busy, busy
    leaves us dizzy, dizzy, dizzy.
    Now: Stop. The. Rush.
    Hear the hush.

  3. I too saw the boat. Looked like a boat inside a boat. Then my mind went to inside the belly of a whale.

    Under the Sea

    No sunshine,
    No rain
    Where baleen
    Stakes its claim;
    Sun or rain,
    All the same.

    1. A place where sun and rain are all the same. How would we live in this sameness? I find the weather effects my mood so much. Today I walked out to rain and mist and now it’s sunny. These changes keep me grounded.

    2. Love hearing how we get from the photo to our poem:>) I like baleen staking its claim!

  4. Great picture, and as always, your verse is clever and timely. I saw the bow of a ship. My youngest granddaughter made the decision to go career Navy. I wrote a poem for her when she was inducted. Career takes me in a different direction.

    A Sailor’s Conundrum

    Ship’s bow pauses
    sailor perched above
    heart to the left
    duty to the right.

    1. The balance of heart and duty is so real in your poem. Best wishes for your granddaughter. A brave decision.

  5. Happy New Year to you all! Hope your holidays were happy and that your resolutions aren’t impossible. 🙂

    Got the blues
    but kinda confused.
    Maybe the greens
    are hiding down between.

    —Kate Coombs

  6. Loved your poem, Laura. A fine line, indeed!


    My dream pod launches,
    pushes through
    swirls and twirls
    and sparkles, too.

  7. Love this image, Laura, and this exercise — and your poem. Thank you.


    A tricky dance
    Are you entranced?
    Go on. Get started
    Take a chance.

  8. Reading all of the previous poems, I am also contemplating the new year, this in between time, and the image of a ship.

    Time towers
    in shades of blue.
    I look for the bow
    to guide me home.

    Happy New Year!

    1. I like this and find the poem itself, or the imagery of it, Escheresque. Since if you are the ship, you are controlling the bow…guiding yourself. Love time towering!

  9. Love this photo. I am trying to approach the new year more optimistically–but somehow this one took a negative turn. Happy new year to all!

    Questions to Ask a Glass Ceiling

    Do you let in light?
    Protect at night?
    Inspire? Delight?
    Shatter dreams with
    impossible height?

  10. Hope everyone had a nice week I had to say goodbye to my beautiful cat Jazzy last week she was 14 a had a stroke I miss her so much despite the sadness my weekend was nice saw some family I hope every one has a Wonderful New Yeas Laura it was so nice you got the see your darter wish you hadmoorwith here Thank you for blessing our lives with friendship and poetry

    poem by
    Jessica Bigi

    Queen bumble’s
    humble home
    waxy comes
    buzzing worker
    bumble bees
    knitting pollen
    into honey
    stirring golden
    spoons in cups of
    winters tea

    1. Oh, this is stunning, Jessica. I love it! So sorry for your loss of Jazzy. It’s terribly hard to lose our much loved pets. I’m sure you gave her a wonderful life. Wishing you joy in 2017.

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