Toys Rise Up! [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. 

Chalk Art Toys
Photo: Laura P. Salas


We went to the Maple Grove Chalk Art Festival again this summer, and we were amazed as usual. The art pieces getting the most attention were the 3‑D ones. Well, faux 3‑D. This turtle and other toys are chalk paintings flat on the ground, same as the ones you see in the background. The difference is that they are painted using a very specific perspective, so that if you stand in JUST the right spot, it looks like they’re rising up off the pavement. Incredible. Here’s my husband Randy kneeling right in the center of the painting by Anat Ronen.

This image makes me think of several things:

  1. Toy Story (of course!)
  2. mood lighting
  3. a toy takeover of the world

And here’s my first draft.

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







30 Responses

  1. Laura, that poem is perfect! I love how it gets bigger and bigger like an imagination does. Well done! This picture drew out my playful side.…I’m teasing with words. Fun prompt!

    Chalk flat
    like mat
    like a cat
    cat alike
    flat chalk

    1. It can be fun to play with simple words as kind of little blocks of sound and meaning and arrange them like a tangram puzzle!

  2. Laura, I love your poem and its playful interaction with the world. The picture blows my mind! Here’s my response:

    One simple step
    a shift in perspective
    can transform
    your world
    from mundane
    to magical

    ©M. Hogan, 2018

    I think this could benefit from a title, but I’m pressed for time this morning, and it’s not coming to me! Happy to be playing along today 🙂

    1. Molly Beth, I especially like your first two and last two lines. The alliteration and the rhythms… And the art is indeed mind-blowing. It’s more evident in photos but even just standing there live, it’s hard to believe that the chalk paintings are flat.

  3. Laura, love the role imagination has in the life of a child. Your poem brings that out.


    Toys, arise!
    Keep my child amused.
    Don’t let the Ipad
    get him enthused.

    1. It’s so funny, Cindy, because part of me says yes, exactly. Of course, Another Part of Me is walking along outside on a beautiful morning replying to blog comments on my phone. and when I was a kid, my parents been my loans that my face was always in a book instead of outside playing or playing with real physical toys. So I can kind of see this issue from lots of different perspectives. Love your rhyme!

  4. Play things escape asphalt,
    Searching for perspective,
    Moving beyond their depth,
    Exploring new dimensions.

  5. Laura I just love the 3‑D chalkboard art. I’ve only seen them in pictures, and can only imagine how cool it must be to see it up close. I love how you poem reminds us that toys don’t necessarily have to be bought. Jumping in leaves was one of the things I loved to do as a kid in the fall. Your husband is such a strong image in that photo, and prompted my poem.

    Human or toy?
    Man or boy?
    Chalkboard decoy.
    Imaginative joy!

    1. I love this pondering over whether he is real or imagination. Thank goodness, he is very real:)

  6. This is just the kind of visual mind-bending experience that prompts the wonders of the world!
    My thoughts turned ran along the playful games line:

    Your Turn

    Dip, zip, dart and flip,
    Kite and starling morning flight
    Wind as game spinner

    1. Yes! I love how flight is seen as a game here. Birds always look like they’re having so much fun (well except for when they are involved in hunting or being hunted). You capture a really playful feeling here.

  7. I love the playfulness in your poems last line Laura, wonderful mind-boggling image too!


    Toylicious turtle,
    fruit-loopy choo choo,
    longing Mr. Lego…
    Illusions of
    come to

  8. I’ve seen photos of a similar show in Ann Arbor–looks amazing. My mind went back to my kids chalk days, which needed a little more imagination to see their brilliance!

    Sidewalk Artists

    Lopsided circles,
    zigzagging lines,
    Kaleidoscope gardens,
    Squiggles that twine
    Chalk in our hands…
    Homegrown designs.

  9. poem By Jessica Bigi

    this bic mad me lol 🙂

    as we grow we older
    so I decides to grow smaller
    each year and stay young

  10. poem by Jessica Bigi
    this pic made me lol 🙂

    As we grow
    We get older
    So I deiced to
    grow smaller
    and stay young

    1. Haha, if only we could just decide it that easily. I like that line of growing smaller. Makes me think of looking at things closely and through a child’s point of view, even if we aren’t literally growing younger.

  11. A bit late. Again you hit it out of the park with your poem. Thinking of all in the storm’s path. Drove to GA from NC this morning hoping to catch a flight to Chicago for our grandson’s wedding.

    Boy Becomes Man

    Ever the boy
    happy he’ll be
    sharing a toy
    with wee one
    on his knee.

    1. Oh, I love that opening line. Kids do keep us young don’t they? Hope you made a flight, Martha! Stay safe!

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."