Reaching Hands [15 words or less poems]

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

Hands on ceiling
Photo: Laura P. Salas

Howdy, 15 Words or Less-ers! I took this picture a couple of years ago at a high school. I was walking down the hall, and these hands were overhead! They make me think of:

  1. what teachers are trying to give us (both physically–books, and metaphorically–the world, etc.)
  2. The Walking Dead
  3. mud baths (that dried paint looks all cakey, like mud)

Here’s my first draft.

Elephant Bath Time

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!


36 Responses

    1. I love that “outstretched.” Works in so many ways. I really like the feeling of possibility, of choice, that this brings, Amelia:>)

  1. Everybody’s busy
    with something.
    I like spending time
    on nothing-
    relieving strain
    on my brain.

    1. Cindyb, I’m in love with this, because I need to hear this. Everybody does. That “nothing” time is when so much happens in our brains. Thank you!

  2. We’ll Be Leaders Some Day

    Witting freedom
    coaching the winning ball
    hands that turn
    a million pages
    Gide us

    Poem By Jessica Bigi

    Laura I love the tidal of your poem

    1. Thanks, Jessica–I love the last three lines. I love the image of hands that turn a million pages. This makes me think of every teacher and storytime reader who is shaping the future.

  3. Laura, a unique, timely display of worldly emotion.


    Clamoring hands
    grasp music and poetry
    common ground
    yet world peace
    remains elusive.

    1. I love the use of “clamoring,” Martha. We want so much to find that common ground… I really like your title, too:>) All we can do is offer and offer and offer, right?

  4. Lovely elephant bath cinquain, Laura. Here’s Mine:

    Just Drop It!

    Hands full
    of work
    give a hand,
    lend a hand,
    hold a hand.

    1. Another one on the busy-ness theme. The universe is speaking to me. Love those parallel last three lines.

  5. Hope

    Happy hands grab for the brass ring
    Still believing they can do anything.

    1. Hahahaha! I love this, Jen. This should be the theme song for community television whenever it’s playing dance recitals! Love the awww sounds in last two lines…

      1. Oh, thank goodness you laughed! I’m afraid people who don’t know me at all might think it’s cruel. On the contrary: Learning something new is always cause for applause!

        1. I am ALL about laughing at our human-ness, and failure and learning and striving is all part of that! And I know you don’t write mean poems, though I wouldn’t have taken it that way even from a stranger :>)

  6. Thanks for the inspiration, Laura (who knew that you could write a cinquain in 15 words or less?)

    woolly hands reach
    for sleds, skates, and snowballs,
    savoring snowflakes that blanket
    and hush

    1. Thanks, Buffy:>) Oh, this is lovely. Those last two lines–sigh. And I can totally see the inspiration for it. Nice!

    1. I love the rhythm of insistent and reminiscent of time marching on endlessly.

        1. Aw, thanks, Sue! And we’re glad you’re back–always welcome whenever you can join in. No pressure, no worries!

  7. Fun picture. I like that it got you thinking about elephant baths! I guess I liked your form too. : )


    She plunged
    her hands into
    the waiting rubber gloves
    swept her brow, took a breath, and grabbed
    the sponge.

    1. Oooooooo…surgery? (I hope, as that’s more dramatic than dishes. Hopefully the breath would be a bored sigh if it were dishes, but I could be totally wrong.) I love “plunged”–so decisive!

  8. World turned upside down
    All in confusion
    A common thread
    Now in unison

    Or not

    Anne McKenna

    1. Hi Anne, Great to see you here! Love the extra space before your last line–nice beat. confusion and unison also play so well off each other:>)

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,516 other subscribers

Are You Looking For?

Poetry Friday posts

Classroom Connections posts

All my poetryactions

Go to my Poetry page for:

  • National Poetry Month projects through the years
  • Small Reads Roundups (poems grouped by topic)
  • Introductions to several favorite poetry forms
#waterpoemproject15 Words or Less Poems20for2030 Painless Classroom Poems50 State Poemsacrosticsactivity pagesactivity sheetALAA Leaf Can Be...Amy Ludwig VanDerwaterA Need to FeedanthologiesanthologyA Rock Can projectsaudiopoemsawardsbad newsBarbara Juster EsbensenBilly Collinsbiopoemsblog tourbookalikesbook festivalsBookSpeak!book spine poemsbook trailersbop poembyr a thoddaidcafepresscalendar poemsCamp Read-a-LotCan Be... bookscan be... poemsCapstoneCarol Varsalonacascade poemsCatherine FlynnccbcCCRA.W.3CCRA.W.4CCRA.W.5centoschapter bookschoral compositionschristina rossetticinquainsCLAclassified ad poemsclassroom connectionclassroom connectionsClover Kittyconferences and conventionscrown sonnetscybilsdansaDare to DreamDavid Elliottdeeper wisdom poemdefinitosdiamantesdiversitydizaindodoitsuDot DayDouglas Floriandownloadablesdrum corpse.e. cummingsekphrastic poemsepistolary poemsequation poemsessentialethereeseventsexquisite corpseFairy Tale Garage Salefamilyfibonaccifiction picture booksfinding familyfirefightersforeign editionsfound poemsfree author zoomsfree versefrom studentsgeesegeorgia heardghazalGift Taggiveawaygolden shovelgoldilocksgratitudehaikuheart of aheart of a teacherHeidi MordhorstHelen FrostHighlightshow-to poemshow to make a rainbowI Am FromI Am poemsidiomsif you want to knit some mittensIf You Were the MoonILAimagepoemsinterviewin the middle of the nightIRAIrelandIrene LathamJ. Patrick LewisJanet WongJoyce SidmanKendraKerlanKidlit Comboslailaura's board booksLaura's booksLaura's poemsLaura's readingsLaura ShovanLee Bennett HopkinsLilian MoorelimericksLinda Booth SweeneyLine Leads the WayLion of the Skylist poemslittle free librarylive writingLullaby and Kisses Sweetlyricsmadness poetrymargaret simonMarilyn Singermary lee hahnmask poemsMeet My FamilyMelissa StewartMentors for Rentmentor textsmetaphorMichelle Myers LacknerMillbrookMinnesota Book Awardsmoneymoonmy reading lifemy writing processN+7naaninarrative poemsNational Poetry Month 2012 (haiku a day)National Poetry Month 2014 (riddle-ku)National Poetry Month 2015National Poetry Month 2016National Poetry Month 2017 (#wonderbreak)national poetry month 2018 (haiku a day)National Poetry Month 2020National Poetry Month 2021 (#EquationPoem)national poetry month 2022 (sticky-note poems)National Poetry Month 2023 (Digging for Poems)National Poetry Month 2024 (magnipoems)ncteNerdy Book Clubnifty newsnifty stuffNikki Grimesnonfictionnonfiction booksNonfiction Writers Dig Deepnovelsnovels in verseodesOne Minute Till BedtimeoppositifyOskar's VoyagepadletpantoumsparodiesPatreonpeacepersonalpet poemsphotopoetryphrase acrosticspicture booksplagiarismpoempicspoemspoems for two voicespoemsketchpoetic pursuitsPoetry 7poetryactionspoetry activitiesPoetry Blastpoetry booksPoetry FridayPoetry Friday AnthologiesPoetry Princessespoetry promptspoetry sistersPoetry Tips for Teachersprogressive poempublishing processpuddle songPutridquotationsraccontinosRandy Salasread-aloudreadaloudreading poetry in the classroomRebecca Kai Dotlichrecipe poemsrefugeesresearchreview copiesreviewsrevisionrhyming booksrhyming nonfictionrhyming picture booksRhyming Picture Books the Write Wayrhyming poemsRiddle-kuriddle poemsRock Can Be...Rock the Blogrondeau redoublesRudyard Kiplingsalas snippetsSCBWIschool visitsScotlandseasonssecrets of the loonSELsestinasshrinking daysskinnyskypeslice of lifesmall readssnack snooze skedaddlesnowman-coldsonnetsStampede!storm poemstorytimestorywalkstudent poemsstudent workSylvia VardellTanita Davistankatautogramteachableteacher resourcesteen/adult poemsterza rimasthankfulthank yous and referencesthe business sidethings to do iftracy nelson maurertrioletstunie munson-bensonvideosVikram MadanvillanellevillanellesWater Can Be...wealthy elementaryWe BelongWhat's InsideWhy-kuwinterwonderwonderbreakword of the yearwordplaywordsmithswork for hirewritingwriting bookswriting processwriting promptswriting the life poeticyoung authors conferencesYouTubeZapZap Clap Boomzenozentangle
Show More Show Less

Discover more from Laura Purdie Salas

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Join Laura's monthly newsletter for eductators

Get three of Laura's favorite poetry activities when you subscribe to "Small Reads."