Umbrella, Inside [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 glad you’re here.

Umbrella 15wolRandy and I were killing time during a showing recently. We sat outside at a Freddy’s, and as I drank my Diet Coke and lost at Scrabble, I also took a few pics, like this one of the inside of the umbrella we sat under.

This image makes me think of:

  1. the nuclear power symbol (maybe spot-on for fast food?)
  2. a stained glass window
  3. my sister’s bicycle that got stolen when we were kids and how my dad chased a kid down the street when he spotted the kid on my sister’s bike (the banana seat was the giveaway!)

And here’s my first draft. I do not think all manmade things are ugly and cold, and that all natural things are beautiful (not big on deserts, for instance). But this is what came out, and I think it’s sorta, kinda, mostly true. Also, it’s not my first-first draft. I originally had “messy glory” as the last line, but I wanted a longer line so that the rhythm would feel as weighty as the first stanza’s. And I liked “disorderly” as it shared the “or” sound of “glory.” So, I changed it:>)

unbordered 15wol


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

50 Responses


    for the storm
    is becoming
    the norm.
    Rebellion, sass-
    this too shall pass.

    1. Your poem leaves me unsettled, but hopeful. Same with today’s changing times. Nicely done.

    2. Cindy, a very apt comparison. This too shall pass is a comforting phrase.

    3. Oh, my. Every parent of an 11-year-old daughter will surely feel this poem in his/her gut!

  2. I made a paper pinwheel
    spin a colorful show
    Blow, wind, blow

    1. Margaret, we seemed to be thinking along the same lines. Like me, at times you were probably the only wind machine.

    2. Do you remember running around to create a wind? That was always better than just blowing on the pinwheel myself, which was the last resort:>)

  3. I like the meaning in your poem, Laura, and the way disordered also works with your title. Here’s mine:

    beach umbrellas
    across summer sands

      1. Lauren, anonymous is Martha O’Q, not sure what happened.

    1. Thanks, Lauren! Ooh, there’s something so pretty about a garden of beach umbrellas (if only I didn’t feel the scratch of sand in my swimsuit every time I thought of that).

  4. Good morning Laura. My brain immediately jumped to making paper pinwheels as a child.

    Modern vs. Olden

    Color paper square
    slice corners
    to center circle
    fold points
    into pencil eraser.

    1. So much fun from things we had on hand. Love that last line, which begins to sound overly energetic as I get older.

    2. Yes! We made ours usually on thick, thick straws from the 7–11. Thank you for the memories:>)

  5. Laura, I like the thought behind your poem. Also, I wish you luck selling your house. That can really be a hassle. My thoughts on this picture went to windmills I have seen. (Only nine words? Hm-m‑m. If I would think harder, I probably could add more, but I don’t have time today.)


    Whirling, twirling,
    spinning round,
    pumping water
    from the ground.

    1. I love windmills/watermills! And I think it’s harder to do 9 words than 15. This feels complete:>)

  6. Such a summery image, Laura! Are you moving to another town or state, or staying in the same town? Best of luck!


    over hot dogs—
    red and white
    dice rolled
    against bright
    summer light.

    —Kate Coombs

    1. Hoping to stay in this town (suburb), but we’ve lost out on both places we’ve bed on. Moving a bit farther afield now, but same general area. Love the image of the bright tumbling dice!

    1. Glad you like it, Julie! Ooh, I would like a slice of pie now, please. Love the long i sounds!

  7. Your photo hit me hard this morning, Laura.…You might have heard on the news about the horrific bicycle tragedy in Kalamazoo this week. Two of the cyclists who were killed lived in my neighborhood, and one of the two was a longtime friend.

    After the Accident

    mangled spokes
    twisted frames–
    nine bicycles destroyed

    broken bodies
    shattered families–
    a community heartbroken, crushed.

    1. Oh, Buffy–I am so terribly sorry. Hugs, and thank you for sharing yourself in this poem. :>(

    2. Buffy, we did hear about the tragedy in your area. So sad. Sincere condolences to you and everyone involved. May you find peace in warm memories.

      1. Cynthia, we’ve all done that at one time or another. My time was last week. I love the last surprise.

  8. Laura, I loved the story of your Dad chasing a kid with the banana seat bicycle.


    Do you remember
    The days when
    Bicycles didn’t
    Need a chain
    And lock?

    1. I do Joy, along with so many other things one can no longer take for granted.

    2. Thanks, Joy! Love the juxtaposition of chain and lock and bicycle–of locked up vs. free.

  9. I love everyone poems
    poem By Jessica Bigi

    fizzing bubbles
    gulping soda
    bike tires
    crunching cans
    clip clopping
    through town
    Coola giggles

  10. OPEN HO– USE
    ‑Pamela Ross

    Hand in hand,
    we wait,
    like ghosts.
    Strangers sift through
    life without us.

    1. You are so good at haunting poetry! This is gorgeous–that sifting through shadows, especially.

      1. This one was all about you
        and your husband,
        the poignant image you made
        at the beginning of this page,
        playing games at a restaurant,
        conflicted emotions,
        passing time while
        people poked about your house
        in every corner,
        picturing if the pieces of their lives
        would fit in yours.

        I hope you’re happy you’re closing one door and opening another. xoxo

        1. I totally got that and felt it, Pamela–thank you! I am ecstatic about moving! Just not about the stress of it all, that’s all. But your poem did make me think of all the people who move who are NOT happy about it, and that very odd feeling of knowing people are “picturing if the pieces of their lives would fit in” ours, as you so beautifully put it:>)

  11. I *love* the line “disorderly glory,” love the sound of the two words…was thinking of the sun on that umbrella, the glory. What an image. I wrote my poem before reading your post or any of the terrific poems in the comments, and I, too, saw the radiation symbol.

    help us please

    a warning
    sign, a tossed
    beach ball, tall
    stretching up
    to heaven.

    1. I love the collage of images you have here, Elissa–especially that last one–gorgeous!

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