Swan [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.

In the flat we stayed in in London (Canary Wharf area) for a few days, we could feed the ducks and birds right off our balcony or from the walkway below. We were on a bywater of the Thames (Blackwater Basin, I think), and there was a raft anchored with a huge swan nest on it and a beautiful pair of swans. They are just the most majestic birds.

Photo: Laura P. Salas

This image makes me think of several things:

  1. fairy tales
  2. ancient marble statues
  3. sailboats

And here’s my first draft. Isn’t it strange how one thing can change the way we see everything, even when it’s all by context and connotation? A bird does not change me or the apartment we were staying in or the bread. But it all felt different. Magical.


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







34 Responses

  1. I love this pic

    poem By Jessica Bigi

    Turing Cloths Into Swans

    Once at dinner
    My Brother-in-law
    Folded corners
    Of napkins
    Teaching his kids
    His firth job

    1. Jessica, I usually like your descriptive poems the best, but this little story poem is so wonderful. Captures this one small moment and tells us so much about your brother in law. Just lovely. Glad you were able to comment this week! I was hoping you wouldn’t have the same issue as last week. Yay!

      1. Jessica, I love your visual. I can see a starched, white napkin, folded into a swan, awaiting my arrival at a nice restaurant.

  2. Good morning one and all. I’m still basking in the days leading up to and the days since the royal wedding. Laura, your poem describes it perfectly. That, plus the month of June … !

    The Avian Princess

    Awaiting her Prince
    amidst pastel beauty
    to join head and beak:
    heart, love’s icon.

    1. I enjoyed your poem, Martha, even though I could not care less about the royal wedding:) I loved your reference to that iconic heart-shaped made by two swans and the way you work to that into the overall meaning of your poem. Lovely!

  3. A version of your role playing, Laura. (I liked your “pretending”!)


    Masked avenger,
    trailing blood.
    Mother yells,
    “Don’t track in mud!”

  4. I love how your poem reflects the royal beauty of the swan in three simple words.

    I was attracted to the colorful wake of the swan.

    Sun on a swan
    rainbows a reflection
    to sail away on…

    1. The colors caught my eye also. Love swan/on and the peaceful feeling of your poem.

  5. I love the perspective shift in your poem, Laura. To me, the swan looks like he’s checking his reflection.

    How Do I Look?

    Gorgeous on
    the river blue
    when other hues
    swirl into view!
    Still truly

    1. Cute Lauren. It’s as if he knows the male is prettier than its mate!

  6. Love the pic! I was chased by a swan once (probably defending unseen babies) so an up close swan makes my first thought not so magical!

    with distance,
    a graceful perfect dream

    proximity brings truth
    reveals a gleam of mean

    1. I have heard this about swans. Geese too. Love dream/mean and the two sides of your poem.

    2. ha! we used to walk by a pond with geese. We always called the one that warned us away, “hisser”. Now, my kids are big and we still call a goose “hisser”. They do protect!

    3. Isn’t this true of so much in life? And of course the inverse is true, too. Never black or white. Love the ‑eams :>)

  7. Love the transformation from ordinary to extraordinary. Those mute swans are a quiet bunch. But lucky me hears trumpeter swans in the morning.

    After the After Party

    Tucked in their muddy beds,
    listening to swan’s trumpet,
    frog songsters rest
    their weary voices.

    1. I love those muddy beds! I also like the ah and uh sounds throughout. Nice.

    2. Now I can’t get Neil Diamond’s “Song Sung Blue” out of my head. Cute rhyme Buffy.

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