When Clouds Grow Claws [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. 

This is a sculpture from a museum in Washington DC. I believe (but am not certain) it was in the incredible National Museum of African American History and Culture. 

Photo: Laura P. Salas

This image makes me think of several things:

  1. a dinosaur swirling into smoke/dust
  2. a cloud becoming the real thing it looks like
  3. quilting

And here’s my first draft.

cloudy wolf

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






23 Responses

  1. I think wolf clouds are the beginning of a new project for you.…what an incredible image with so many possibilities! If you develop it, I want to review an ARC!

    Here’s my take

    Winter’s Rapunzel
    lonely as spring
    each snowflake
    more lovely
    Still no rescue
    do they bring

    1. Ooh, what an interesting fairy tale allusion! I’m so intrigued by “lonely as spring.” It makes me think about the emotions of the seasons, and it plays against type! Thanks for your kind words, Linda–I’ll see that you get an ARC. Haha!

  2. Laura, love the image of your wolf. I think wolves are magnificent looking creatures, in spite of their natural danger to man and beast. The sculpture is stunning.


    Heat liquifies
    golden thread spins
    enfolds a favorite star;
    humanity begins.

    1. Wow! What a creation tale. Makes me think anew of the sculpture and how it might refer to life beginning in Africa. I have no idea if it DOES refer to that, but your poem makes me see that interpretation of it so clearly! I love your beautiful words.

  3. When Clouds Grow Claws

    There is a messiness
    in nature
    in a swirl of cloud
    becoming storm,
    threatening time.

    1. Yes–that messiness is what I love about storms! I especially love your lines 3–4!

  4. Laura, love your paired rhymes.

    No Scare Nightmare

    The boogeyman,
    he had a plan.
    Wind intervened
    and swept the fiend


  5. Thank you Laura. No specific geography in mind; the poem did “evolve” from the spun gold attaching to the diamonds (lights in ceiling) to form a piece of jewelry and falling in love, etc. I had a title “Fire and Ice.” Just kept working until I was satisfied. I sooooo love Thursday mornings.

  6. This looked like my hair when it escapes from the back of my helmet on a motorcycle ride, which also made me think of us as kids waving out the back window of the station wagon to people in the car behind us.…

    Frisky ponytail
    Waves at cars behind
    Brush will deal with
    At a later time!

  7. Fond memories of doing that out the back of a ’39 Chevrolet. Then when our baby brother learned the way to get the 18-wheelers to blow their horn, we switched to those antics. Love the word Miscreant.

  8. Cindy, I like your dismissal of the boogeyman! I think he still thrives, maybe with different names.

  9. Poem By Jessica

    Carnivals In Fall

    S o m t h i n g

    G os tl y


    M I D E N I G H T


    N E I o n blue

    shopping bags

    G u sty w I nds

    Blow By

    B o o !

    1. Great mini-story in verse–so true how those little things can be so ordinary, but scary, before you know what they are!

  10. Laura I was so intrigued by this piece I just had to research it a bit. The sculptor Richard Hunt created the piece, it’s titled “Swing Low”. You’re poem has a feeling of Native American folk lore to it!

    “Swing Low”

    Free, free, free,
    Spirit whispers,
    Chariots thunder,
    Wings unfurl,
    Angels trumpet,
    Free, free, free…

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