Under the Bridge [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. 

Well, friends, I’m back home briefly! Next week, I’ll be at NCTE, and the week after is Thanksgiving. Boy, 2019 has been full of excitement and travel.

My research adventure a couple of weeks ago was aMAZing, thanks to the terrific professionals of Interlake Steamship Company! Here’s a picture I took from the pilothouse of the Paul R. Tregurtha (longest boat on the Great Lakes) as we headed out into Lake Superior. You can see more photos (unfiltered) in my photo album here. Meanwhile, here’s one shot:

Photo: Laura P. Salas

To give you a little scale, the pilot house sits atop a four-story building on the stern of the boat, which is more than 1,000 feet long! So imagine a suburban office building sitting on the back of a ship and then still having 900 feet of deck ahead of it. Wow. 

This image makes me think of several things:

  1. sometime it’s not whether or not to cross a bridge, but whether to go an entirely new direction, that leads to adventure
  2. a watercolor filter makes everything more beautiful
  3. Lewis and Clark–and other explorers

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.)







18 Responses

  1. Your pictures show an exciting adventure! I’m looking forward to the book results you’ll bring us. Found your Snack, Snooze Skedaddle book on my library’s new books for children shelf! This big child checked it out. 🙂

    Setting a New Course

    Leaving comfort,
    filled with dread,
    but determined-
    barging ahead!

    1. Thanks for checking out SNACK, Cindy–I hope you like it! I love that last line, and the way you capture that ambiguity of setting out into the unknown.

  2. Love the photos, Laura, especially the ones taken at night. The filtered one takes me back to a continuous dream (nightmare) I had for years. Driving down a narrow road, all of a sudden it ends and I’m surrounded by water. A good friend told me to learn to swim and it would go away, I did, and it worked (age 33).

    The End

    Can’t back up,
    can’t turn around.
    Can’t swim,
    must I drown?

    No, my alarm sounds! ;-}

    1. SO interesting about your dream and the swimming lessons! Well done, you! I love the way the “Can’t” three lines in a row drums the feeling of being trapped into the reader’s head.

      1. Thanks, Laura. One thing for sure, should I happen to have that dream again, at my age I wouldn’t remember having it.

  3. Wow those pictures are amazing! What a ship, and an adventure! Can’t wait to see what all that research produces.


    Heave the anchor.
    Raise the bridge.
    Navigate the harbor.
    Push the limits.

    1. Thanks, Jean! I adore your five verbs–two physical, two kind of academic, and one of the heart…lovely!

  4. What a wonderful vantage point you must have had on your trip! Eager to see more.

    Under the Bridge

    A barge with waves
    that slosh and roll?
    Or tangle of roots,
    cobwebs, a troll!

  5. poem by Jessica Bigi

    Time ‑waves

    mussel pick hammer
    passages of generations
    steaming wheels
    pull of barge
    up down rivers of lives
    rivers of dreams
    past- further

    1. I really like the steaming wheels and pull of barge, Jessica. This reminds me of whoever said you never step into the same river twice, because…Let’s see. Here it is: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” — Heraclitus I get that same sense of relentless time passing in some dreamy state from your poem.

    1. I love the word “slipways.” Haven’t heard it before, but I can gather the meaning from your poem. And those ruffled waves–I used ruffles with waves in a haiku I wrote on my trip :>)

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