[15 words or less poems] The Mystery of the Sphinx

 

Photo: Laura Purdie Salas

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

Here’s a shot from outside The Luxor in Las Vegas, from my NCTE trip. This sphinx makes me think of:

1) Riddles, of course!
2) Having a root canal (something about that structure under his chin reminds me of my aching jaw from years ago!)
3) Elizabeth Taylor. I do not know why.

And here’s my poem first draft:

Things To Do If You’re a … (a riddle poem)
open wide
scarf down leftovers
squeeze between counter and oven
twirl spin steam
shine

–by Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved

Can you guess? It’s fun to mix two forms, like a Things To Do If list poem and a riddle poem!

Now, what does this image make you think of Take any idea and jot down a 15 Words or Less poem. No polish. No shine. No pressure. Just have fun!

Save

138 Responses

  1. Is it vacuum cleaner? Great riddle, Laura.

    They told me if I kept
    perfectly still
    the snake
    would slither
    away.

  2. Is it vacuum cleaner? Great riddle, Laura.

    They told me if I kept
    perfectly still
    the snake
    would slither
    away.

  3. A Pain in the Neck

    Staring straight ahead -
    Longing to turn my head.
    Centuries pass instead!

    This one is for your husband, Randy. Get well soon!

    1. ha! reminds me of the old adage “if you’re not careful you’re face will freeze like that!”

  4. A Pain in the Neck

    Staring straight ahead -
    Longing to turn my head.
    Centuries pass instead!

    This one is for your husband, Randy. Get well soon!

    1. ha! reminds me of the old adage “if you’re not careful you’re face will freeze like that!”

  5. Is it a dog? Mine loves leftovers… 🙂 Love the riddle

    Still as stone
    holding bone
    sarcophagi prone
    to darkness

    Easy riddle but I hope you enjoy!

    1. Haha–so does mine (or even pre-leftovers, if he can reach them on the counter). But no, it’s not a dog…

      Oooh, I like the creepiness here, and the rhymes feel really natural!

  6. Is it a dog? Mine loves leftovers… 🙂 Love the riddle

    Still as stone
    holding bone
    sarcophagi prone
    to darkness

    Easy riddle but I hope you enjoy!

    1. Haha–so does mine (or even pre-leftovers, if he can reach them on the counter). But no, it’s not a dog…

      Oooh, I like the creepiness here, and the rhymes feel really natural!

  7. Oedipus thought
    besting me
    made him
    smarter

    where are
    his monuments
    to wisdom
    today?

      1. Love the taunting voice of the sphinx in your poem. And I am going to go with your guess — dishwasher.

    1. I had actually forgotten that it was Oedipus who solved the riddle of the Sphinx. Love the sounds of Oedipus and besting so near each other. And–yes–dishwasher is correct! My two-minute poem was not all the sharp, so good for you for figuring it out!

      1. well i had an early morning moment of doubt where i first thought it might have been a blender, but the ‘leftovers’ didn’t make sense. then it hit me.

        and i know a deal’s a deal, but i can’t believe the sphinx threw herself into the sea over that mama’s boy!

        1. OK, I now need you or someone to write a poem about Oedipus as the original mama’s boy. Has that already been done? If not, it should have been!

  8. Oedipus thought
    besting me
    made him
    smarter

    where are
    his monuments
    to wisdom
    today?

      1. Love the taunting voice of the sphinx in your poem. And I am going to go with your guess — dishwasher.

    1. I had actually forgotten that it was Oedipus who solved the riddle of the Sphinx. Love the sounds of Oedipus and besting so near each other. And–yes–dishwasher is correct! My two-minute poem was not all the sharp, so good for you for figuring it out!

      1. well i had an early morning moment of doubt where i first thought it might have been a blender, but the ‘leftovers’ didn’t make sense. then it hit me.

        and i know a deal’s a deal, but i can’t believe the sphinx threw herself into the sea over that mama’s boy!

        1. OK, I now need you or someone to write a poem about Oedipus as the original mama’s boy. Has that already been done? If not, it should have been!

  9. Amelia, I like your rhyme! Mine has bones in it too (or the lack thereof).

    Sphinx

    Pink light,
    not right.
    Dice roll,
    not of bone.
    Snarl at night
    far from home.

    ?Kate Coombs

  10. Amelia, I like your rhyme! Mine has bones in it too (or the lack thereof).

    Sphinx

    Pink light,
    not right.
    Dice roll,
    not of bone.
    Snarl at night
    far from home.

    ?Kate Coombs

  11. Place your chin.
    Stare at the light.
    Sit still. Don’t blink.
    Wait for it… Puff!

    I thought garbage disposal, but it doesn’t shine- so I’m throwing my vote to dishwasher.
    Did you guess what my poem is about?

    1. Thank you for adding a new riddle poem. Our fourth grade class has these guesses: puffer fish, eye exam, getting a picture taken, staring contest, 3D picture or popcorn.

    2. Ooh, it’s that glaucoma test, thing. I hate that and always blink anyway! Very clever!

      Yeah, dishwasher is correct. My clues aren’t really revealing enough.

  12. Place your chin.
    Stare at the light.
    Sit still. Don’t blink.
    Wait for it… Puff!

    I thought garbage disposal, but it doesn’t shine- so I’m throwing my vote to dishwasher.
    Did you guess what my poem is about?

    1. Thank you for adding a new riddle poem. Our fourth grade class has these guesses: puffer fish, eye exam, getting a picture taken, staring contest, 3D picture or popcorn.

    2. Ooh, it’s that glaucoma test, thing. I hate that and always blink anyway! Very clever!

      Yeah, dishwasher is correct. My clues aren’t really revealing enough.

  13. My Head is big
    That does not mean
    There is anything
    In between

    Especially brains

    - Anne McKenna

  14. My Head is big
    That does not mean
    There is anything
    In between

    Especially brains

    - Anne McKenna

      1. Karma karma karma karma karma chameleon.…
        You come and go, you come and go ‑o-o‑o!!!

  15. Can’t solve the riddle, but I’ll try writing one anyway. I want my next book to be only poetry for children.
    So Catherine thank you for the monkey photo and here I go…
    Jeanne Poland

  16. Can’t solve the riddle, but I’ll try writing one anyway. I want my next book to be only poetry for children.
    So Catherine thank you for the monkey photo and here I go…
    Jeanne Poland

  17. We like how you’re trying to make us guess the riddle. This makes poetry more interesting. We like how you switched it up and made it a riddle. Your words are puzzling! Could it be a dishwasher? A microwave? A dryer or washer? A duster? We are off to try our own poems. Thank you for your inspiration!

    1. I hope you had fun with your poems. The answer is dishwasher. My poem is not so great. I wanted it to be hard to guess, but not TOO hard. But I don’t think it’s quite clear enough. It was fun to write, though. This rough draft was just a two-minute piece–I might have to go play with it some more to make it stronger!

  18. We like how you’re trying to make us guess the riddle. This makes poetry more interesting. We like how you switched it up and made it a riddle. Your words are puzzling! Could it be a dishwasher? A microwave? A dryer or washer? A duster? We are off to try our own poems. Thank you for your inspiration!

    1. I hope you had fun with your poems. The answer is dishwasher. My poem is not so great. I wanted it to be hard to guess, but not TOO hard. But I don’t think it’s quite clear enough. It was fun to write, though. This rough draft was just a two-minute piece–I might have to go play with it some more to make it stronger!

  19. Desert Parking Lot

    Palm trees sprout
    in asphalt islands,
    sand settles
    among shopping carts,
    sphinx contemplates
    from rooftop.

    I was going to guess a microwave for Laura’s riddle (although that shine did not fit) but I think delzey nailed it with the dishwasher.

  20. Desert Parking Lot

    Palm trees sprout
    in asphalt islands,
    sand settles
    among shopping carts,
    sphinx contemplates
    from rooftop.

    I was going to guess a microwave for Laura’s riddle (although that shine did not fit) but I think delzey nailed it with the dishwasher.

  21. Is it a dishwasher? I’m writing this before I read other comments! Thanks for the idea, too, Laura. Here’s my contribution today!

    Contest

    Sphinx and I
    dare to try
    keeping somber
    longer.
    I never win,
    break, grin
    always.

  22. Is it a dishwasher? I’m writing this before I read other comments! Thanks for the idea, too, Laura. Here’s my contribution today!

    Contest

    Sphinx and I
    dare to try
    keeping somber
    longer.
    I never win,
    break, grin
    always.

  23. Laura,
    Loved your poem…but I’m not good at riddles! Of course, I read the comments and think that delzey is correct. It makes sense after I read the answer…Ha! There are some really good guesses. The poems are really enjoyable today. Such a variety. I went with an acrostic.

    Heart of the Sphinx
    by Penny Klostermann

    Synthesized
    Pyramid embodiment
    Head of human
    Inter-melded
    Noble lion
    Xiphisternum lion-man heart

    1. Fabulous! Love Synthesized–perfect start for this poem. And yes, it’s a dishwasher. My riddle wasn’t so great, but, oh well–that’s what I get for a 2‑minute poetry exercise:>)

  24. Laura,
    Loved your poem…but I’m not good at riddles! Of course, I read the comments and think that delzey is correct. It makes sense after I read the answer…Ha! There are some really good guesses. The poems are really enjoyable today. Such a variety. I went with an acrostic.

    Heart of the Sphinx
    by Penny Klostermann

    Synthesized
    Pyramid embodiment
    Head of human
    Inter-melded
    Noble lion
    Xiphisternum lion-man heart

    1. Fabulous! Love Synthesized–perfect start for this poem. And yes, it’s a dishwasher. My riddle wasn’t so great, but, oh well–that’s what I get for a 2‑minute poetry exercise:>)

  25. This made me think of praying.

    Hands folded
    permanently molded
    silent prayer
    observers unaware
    sphinx confessed
    he’s blessed.

    1. Ooh, I really like that second line. It’s not only literally true of the sphinx, but it makes me think of those in constant prayer.

  26. This made me think of praying.

    Hands folded
    permanently molded
    silent prayer
    observers unaware
    sphinx confessed
    he’s blessed.

    1. Ooh, I really like that second line. It’s not only literally true of the sphinx, but it makes me think of those in constant prayer.

  27. Here’s one more:

    Warm sun
    sand in his toes
    why he’s smiling
    nobody knows.

    1. Clearly, he’s smiling because of the warm sun and that sand in his toes. Just what everyone wants at spring break time, right? Thanks for playing!

  28. Here’s one more:

    Warm sun
    sand in his toes
    why he’s smiling
    nobody knows.

    1. Clearly, he’s smiling because of the warm sun and that sand in his toes. Just what everyone wants at spring break time, right? Thanks for playing!

  29. I love your poem this is what I think. Is it a dishwasher!! Please Answer back to me if you have time. Thank you

  30. I love your poem this is what I think. Is it a dishwasher!! Please Answer back to me if you have time. Thank you

  31. I made up this poem it’s not 15 words or less I just wanted to have fun!
    Easter
    Spring is here,
    Bunnies hopping,
    Jellybeans galore
    Broadway Market,
    What else can I say!!!

  32. I made up this poem it’s not 15 words or less I just wanted to have fun!
    Easter
    Spring is here,
    Bunnies hopping,
    Jellybeans galore
    Broadway Market,
    What else can I say!!!

    1. Snort! That title killed me. I could totally hear the voice of this poem and see a shaking head. “Sad. My money, Staying There…”

    1. Snort! That title killed me. I could totally hear the voice of this poem and see a shaking head. “Sad. My money, Staying There…”

  33. THINGS TO DO IF YOU’RE A … (RIDDLE POEM)

    Helping hydrate
    Or to clean
    I’m a twisty
    knob machine.
    What am I?
    C’mon think!
    _______ ____.

    © Charles Waters 2013 all rights reserved.

  34. THINGS TO DO IF YOU’RE A … (RIDDLE POEM)

    Helping hydrate
    Or to clean
    I’m a twisty
    knob machine.
    What am I?
    C’mon think!
    _______ ____.

    © Charles Waters 2013 all rights reserved.

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