Whale Postcard [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. 

Orca art by Patty McKenna
Art by Patty McKenna
Photo by Laura P. Salas

My sister Patty has always been the artist in our family. She is crafty and artistic, though she hasn’t had much time for any creative outlets other than teaching in recent years. Lately, though, she’s been coloring. What I love is that she colors postcards and sends them out. So occasionally, among the junk mail and bills, I get a little piece of beauty and love in the mailbox! This image makes me think of several things:

  1. whale tattoos
  2. what a whale trapped on a piece of paper would think
  3. what if the sea were made of ink?

And here’s my first draft. 

whale tattoo 15wol poem


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






67 Responses

  1. Laura, love the rollicking rhythm in your poem!


    big and blue
    What’s inside?
    WOW! Who knew?!

    Glad I got to know you!

      1. Yes, love the figure out the inside is often very different from the outside.….makes me think of beautiful new lives, babies, so sweet and then what happens? Thinking of kids in situations where their lives are so troubled and tough and these beautiful babies, beautiful on the inside, change on the outside and then maybe some really do change on their insides (for a while) but I am like Anne Frank.…people are really good at heart. I keep thinking about that. Fun poem, important idea.

    1. Ha! That last line is fabulous, Cindy! So clever–and a whole change of scene and all the action implied by just that WOW!

  2. LOL! Funny.….the harpoon tattoo and the octopus ink. I love a good challenge and this is one for me! I am so happy to be meeting my goal of completing 15 words or less for a month. It helps keep my mind off the “real” world which I find so disturbing lately. Hugs to all. Can’t wait to see your words.



    as rain
    light waves—


    1. Linda, I like your style (length) very much; the words shout depth, sounds and beauty.

  3. What a beautiful gift from your sister! I agree with Linda. This is a nice distraction.

    The whale reflects
    the sea.
    purple waves,
    color-filled playground,
    life in harmony.

    1. So true Margaret. Even the little fish being ingested for food add to the harmony.

  4. Channeling Raffi here…

    Cetacean Dream Down by the Bay

    No polka-dotted tail,
    this fine whale
    flourishes floral brocade
    and curlicued waves
    …until she wakes.

  5. Laura, what a beauty and what a gift. Your poem is perfect, but also a jumping off point for the rest of your “community.” When I saw the “line” from nose to tail, I immediately thought of the Russian nesting dolls, painted, varnished and ready to be gifted.

    Nesting Whales

    Lift my top
    what do you see
    a smaller mammal
    just like me!

    et cetera

    1. Like Russian dolls — how fun. I believe you played on (et) cetera for Cetacea: scientific classification for whales, a wonderful leap for this picture.

      1. Lauren, thank you for your kind comment but I’m afraid I can’t take credit for the word Cetacea, but I appreciate that bit of knowledge. My et cetera (etc.) was just to impart the fact that every time you lift a whale out, another one appears. My grandma would be proud; she instilled in us the need to learn one new thing every day of our life. You helped me fulfill that for this day!

  6. Your sister has an eye for color, Laura. I just love today’s picture and the rhythm of your last two lines. Fun to say out loud. For my poem, I had to be the whale.

    Decked Out

    Wearing my best
    for the Krill-Fest.
    Do you think
    I’m overdressed?

      1. Thank you. I thought I had imagined it, but when I Googled for spelling, apparently Red Lobster has offered a krill fest at some point. I had already written my poem so I just went with it.

  7. Gorgeous image AND I love how you got octopus ink in there!

    Seafood Platter

    I was ambitious -
    Though so delicious,
    I’m too full of swishes
    And tickles of fishes!

    1. Perfect Donna. In hind sight I was wishing I had addressed the swishing fishies!

  8. Poem By Jessica Bigi I love that your sister does this and this a beautiful card

    Can’t You Just Imagine

    Perhaps A wail
    is A lullaby
    why under the see
    armfuls of waves
    rocking us sleep

  9. Good morning everyone! Such great stuff today. I especially like “indelible, melanin/octopus ink,” the nesting whales, and “tickles of fishes.”


    I’m a blue curl of waves,
    an endless swirl of fish,
    the ocean, engraved.

    —Kate Coombs

    1. Delightful. Love it and agree with Michelle and Laura. Yes, that last line.…ocean, engraved, brilliant.

  10. Whale of a Difference

    A Fabergé egg, dainty
    But my belly’s so big
    I belong in the sea

    1. That belly needs the “lift” from the ocean. And there is still plenty of room for Jonah.

  11. An octopus-ink tattoo made me smile–very clever!

    A Whale of a Journey

    Sailing the sea
    searching for krill,
    a fishy flight
    a swishy delight
    a wave-riding thrill!

  12. Can’t wait to read all the other poems. I was challenged by this but stuck with it since very early. I wanted to let my mind wander afield. I love the picture and what you did, Laura. I really would love to learn how you do the filter thing with photos. It is so “neat” and pretty!!!

    Soup for Two

    You brought the stone,
    added love.
    Stirred, spiced.
    Twice as nice !

    1. I have to say I saw a whale-shaped salad bowl at first and then it lead me to stone soup. I didn’t realize it was a coloring piece and so creative on a postcard !! I tried to a sea-themed poem but alas got nothing I liked enough to share. Love all the cleverness in your poems. I am so glad I am keeping my oar in here at 15 WOL poetry!!!

    2. Oh, this is lovely, Janet! Absolutely no need to limit yourself to a sea-themed poem. It’s wonderful to have you visiting regularly:)

      1. Thanks for both, Laura. I love your harpoon tattooing with octopus ink, love the word play sound, too.….and I know it can go anywhere but I figured the others might truly wonder how on earth I ended up with soup!!!! Glad to be getting back to a place I really really like!!!

  13. This has to be one of my all-time favorite photos. Swimming in a fantasy world. The rhythm in indelible melanin octopus ink is wonderful. The image prompted a batch of clever lovely poems.

    Life in a Fishbowl

    Swim in a bowl
    of cloisonné colors
    concocting a world
    of joy and delight.

    1. Thanks, Yvonne–yes, it’s a terrific batch today, isn’t it? I love all the /c/ sounds and the word “cloisonne”–which sounds just magical and also makes me think of cloister, then oyster, then the ocean!

  14. That sister of yours is one snazzy “colorer!” Not sure how well this comment will keep my formatting, but I’ll give it a try.

    Little fishies
    follow the leader
    down the slide
    to the bowl
    of my belly.

      1. Michelle, I love that slip down the slide to the belly!!! Such a nice rhythm and fun poem kids would love to say!!

    1. I see how this so fits with your artistic journey, Catherine. So nice to meet up with you here again!! Have you ever been to the Great Barrier Reef? This poem made me think of it and all the gorgeous sea life.

  15. Jonah sloshes inside,
    Never guessing in the dark
    The riot of color around

    1. Oh, Annette, I like this! Makes me think about the beauty all around us that we’re constantly oblivious to. Lovely!

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