RULES: A riddle for your thoughts? Write a rhyming riddle, any length and paste it in the comments section below with your name and area of residence. Do not include the answer. Let people guess and then respond at your discretion. One submission per contestant. Submissions should be originally written just for this contest. No submission fee. See our Riddles Section for inspiration.

DEADLINE: July 31 midnight EST. Winner announced August 10.

PRIZE: Official Winner’s Certificate.

JUDGE: Society staff and the Advisory Board will judge (those who choose not to participate in judging may participate in the contest)

NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets.

The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or commentary.

CODEC Stories:

142 Responses

  1. Alex Andy Phuong

    I might be a simple peasant,
    But I am a princess whose name sounds very pleasant.
    Who am I?

    Name: Alex Andy Phuong
    Area of residence: Alhambra, California

      • Alex Andy Phuong

        Hi Juanita,

        That was a good guess, but I was actually thinking of “Belle” from “Beauty and the Beast.” (I can still understand why you thought the answer was “Cinderella.”)

        Thank you!

        Alex Phuong

  2. David Watt

    As storm clouds gathered nearer, deeper, darker overhead,
    I took up my position by the window, on the bed.
    First came bolts of lightning – thunder followed close behind.
    The rain fell up, not downwards, but somehow I didn’t mind.

    Rain came up in buckets where the gutter water flows.
    Puddles became torrents, became rivers as they rose.
    Water bombs exploded with a terrifying blast;
    While suspended snails on silver trails proudly shuffled past.

    Branches grew delightfully beneath the trunks of trees.
    Leaves settled higher, higher, stolen downward by the breeze.
    I caught a glimpse of distant trucks traversing stormy roads,
    Driving past on cabin tops, transporting upturned loads.

    Washing flew aloft like kites – a most unusual sight.
    The neighbor’s gate had turned around, latched on bottom right.
    Passers-by in raincoats held umbrellas by my feet,
    As they darted into doorways from the overhanging street.

    Barking dogs defeated gravity, like flies upon a wall.
    Flowers wet and sodden stood up straighter, didn’t fall.
    Droplets on the window trickled up the window pane,
    While birds flew topsy-turvy, seeking shelter from the rain.

    What am I watching and from which vantage point?

    • David Watt

      I should have mentioned my area of residence is Canberra, Australia.
      David Watt

      • David Watt

        Hello Juanita, a flood from the bottom is pretty much a thunderstorm (or flooding rains resulting from) viewed from the bottom (an upside down vantage point). Well done!

  3. Gabriel Griffin

    ‘What’s got no flesh nor bone,
    No hands or feet to call its own,
    No fist to punch you, though I‘ve a hunch you
    Won’t get by without a blow?’

  4. Juanita H. from Michigan

    The only U.S. president
    Who still is as hard as granite,
    And yet is cuddily and soft,
    Still with us but died with a cough.

  5. Zachary Dilks

    A riddle I propose
    Of a king who owned a castle with a strong and sturdy pony in the stable
    And sat beside his thrown
    His lovely queen that shined and dazzled like the treasures from a child’s bedtime fable
    The queen, before their marriage came from money from the start
    And she had a horse and castle just the same
    So they both wrote up a contract, though they married from the heart
    That should they part they do so with what they have to their names
    And though they lived and prospered time went on and they grew cold
    And so they figured that the two should split
    Divided up the castles and the horses and the gold
    But the queen got custody of all eight of their kids

    What is it?

    Austin, TX

  6. Mark McPHEE

    From a whale of a tale I came to be;
    Now a mariner’s myth you hold in your hand.
    With froth and foam upon a Black Sea;
    I am short and tall and grand.

    What am I?

      • Mark McPHEE

        Not sure the protocol for giving the answer but it’s not a seahorse.

    • Kay Yendole (nee McPhee co-incidentally)

      Albatross….from the The Tale of the Ancient Mariner

      • Mark McPHEE

        Thank you for taking the time to guess. A hint: the references are old but the answer is modern.

      • Mark McPHEE

        Daniel – I’ve been traveling and am just now catching up. I see that you solved this a few days ago. Way to go!

    • Mark McPHEE

      The answer to this riddle is a Starbucks Cup of Coffee.
      (Moby Dick – Mermaid on Cup – Milk Foam on Black Coffee – Cup Sizes)
      Thank you everyone for the great combination of lovely
      language and thoughtful challenge. This has been great fun!

  7. Yolanda from Michigan

    I could be narrow and tall,
    Or wide and small,
    But never too far from the wall.
    You look at me
    To search and see
    What wonders could be binding all.

  8. Shawn Chang

    In the poem below, each and every line,
    Holds a missing word “CANDY” does replace;
    Clues — allusions — are all commonly heard,
    Take the letter first of each missing word
    To together piece and find the answer — just a Christmas phrase.

    Don’t be such a CANDY Scrooge, sing a song extraordinaire,
    And write to dear young CANDY, “Yes, he certainly is there.”
    Carols roam and CANDY hence as if hunted by a bear,
    And through five golden CANDY drifts the music fine and fair.

    Mister CANDY, meanest one, what a green-faced heel to sight!
    You ought to try to brighten just like CANDY’s nose of light…
    CANDY eye and willing ear pleased a Christmas very white,
    To dine upon green CANDY and the ham bite after bite.

    Twilight fades and so we must in the silent CANDY go
    To pray that Vixen, CANDY will with Dancer, Prancer show;
    In this one-horse CANDY sleigh bells are jingling row on row,
    And up we trim our CANDY and our aunts from head to toe.

    Loving thanks exchanged tonight, like the Magi’s CANDY fine
    And next morning all will find, CANDY heroes, yours and mine.

    • Shawn Chang

      Oops I forgot.
      Name: Shawn Chang
      Area of Residence: Richmond, BC, Canada

    • Father Richard Libby

      Here’s a stumper! I’ve been wrestling with it but, thus far, to no avail. I’ll give it another shot in a few days. (I’m busy on weekends!)

  9. Cathy Bryant

    Medical Riddle

    My first is in bandage but not in wrap
    My second’s in drip but not in tap
    My third’s in suture and also in stitch,
    and my fourth is in doctor and also in rich.
    My fifth’s in operation but not in pre-med
    My sixth’s in a mattress but not a clean bed.
    My seventh’s in forceps and also in knife
    My eighth is in mortal, so not in life
    My ninth is in nursing but not in kind
    My tenth is in treatment but not in mind
    As a patient you’ll hear it again and again
    – for my whole is what doctors say when they mean ‘pain’.

    – Cathy Bryant, from Disley, Cheshire, UK

  10. James A. Tweedie

    I have a body and a head,
    When steamed I sometimes get quite red.
    Yet whether weak, robust or strong,
    You’ll see me hoisted with a song,
    By urban dilettantes and sots
    In carboys, growlers, stoups and pots.
    But pale or dark, or thin or stout,
    The house is sad if I run out.
    It now is time to end this game.
    You’re now on tap to guess my name.

    James A. Tweedie, Long Beach, Washington

  11. Angela Porter, Gloucestershire, England

    They lurk and swirl, en masse with force.
    A hungry group, mouths open wide.
    The shadows of a human sought,
    Their blotches black, red-orange swiped.

  12. Mauricio Gonzalez Jr

    I come in second always and create something sweet. You can catch me in the sky even on a sheet. What am I?

    Area of Res: CA, USA

    • Joan Carol Fullmore

      This riddle is driving me crazy!!! It is the best so far in my opinion! I guessed Belle for the very first one but he gave the answer before I could submit so I have to try this one!! I have had 3 ideas so far and none make total sense:

      I am going with BANANA for my first guess

    • Damian Robin

      Are you a shifty ‘s’ being deviously expressed? That’s what I have guessed. All the best.

      • Joan Carol Fullmore

        Please explain what you and Damian see? Looks like Mauricio has dropped out of sight!

      • Father Richard Libby

        The letter “s” is in each of the words he mentioned: second, sweet, sky, and sheet. Of course, I’m just guessing.

      • Joan Fullmore

        Thank You! I love these riddles, just can’t figure any out

  13. Kay Yendole

    Riddles competition

    What am I?

    what am I if full of woe?
    You sold me down the river so
    I nearly died out for your greed
    Of fur coats that you think you need
    But I’m back and now you can’t
    Get rid of me oh no you shan’t
    For I have joined the rank of those
    You fear and greatly oppose
    Just like the rat, the vermin plague unrefined
    Haunts you, can you guess my name so mustalined?

  14. Benjamin L. Perez

    What’s between, what’s beyond,
    What’s little, what’s long,

    What’s nigh, what’s never,
    What’s hence, what’s hither,

    What’s tended, what’s taken,
    What’s here, what’s hidden,

    What’s behind, what’s before,
    What’s ahead, what’s afar,

    What’s steady, what’s still,
    What’s up, what’s until,

    What’s late, what’s latter,
    What’s always, what’s after,

    What’s in, what’s idle,
    What’s first, what’s final,

    What’s leading, what’s lost,
    What’s passing, what’s past,

    What’s nearing, what’s near,
    What’s more, what’s mere,

    What’s last, what’s left,
    What’s since, what’s set,

    What’s bound, what’s broken,
    What’s out, what’s open,

    What’s stopping, what’s stretching,
    What’s retreating, what’s returning,

    What’s coming, what’s come,
    What’s going, what’s gone?

    Benjamin L. Pérez
    Fuchu, Japan

  15. Daniel Galef

    I’ll tell you of a fearsome beast
    That’s quite bizarre, to say the least:
    A Satyr’s trunk is at its core,
    And legs of a mighty Minotaur.
    A Mermaid’s arms to these are wed,
    Then topped with the Sphinx’s noble head.
    Such a monstrous mix this beast would be,
    Which I should never hope to see!
    (To make this piecewise picture clearer,
    Just look into the nearest mirror.)

  16. Ram

    I can run,
    But cannot walk;
    I have hands
    Like cheese and chalk.
    What am I?

  17. Ram

    I have no mind
    I can think
    I never sleep
    Not a wink
    I do not eat
    Not do I drink
    There is nothing
    I can’t link
    Ask me questions
    I don’t blink
    What am I?
    Please do think.

      • Ram

        Hi Daniel,
        Almost but not quite!
        Computer did go to ‘sleep’ when it is not active.
        It cannot make the links
        It also cannot answer so the question… By itself.
        The answer I have I’m mind is something else…

      • IceManD

        Ahh I see the answer is posted. Sorry about that. Feel free to delete these 2 comments. I do not see a way to do that.

      • Ram

        Joan,u stumped me! I must admit that your interpretation fits the riddle to a. T.
        But honestly, the solution I had in mind is different

      • Joan Carol Fullmore

        Thanks Ram! I thought computer at first but I know mine goes on the blink sometimes :-). When I saw you were from Mumbai I immediately went to the Vedantic interpretation :-). I am anxious to know the answer when someone guesses – I am going to keep pondering!

      • Ram

        Ok. Don’t want to keep you guessing. If you had guessed computer you were pretty close. The answer is: search engine.!
        A combination of hardware and software the search engine does all that I had mentioned… But when you came up with the vedantic solution, it was just perfect!

      • Joan Carol Fullmore

        Thanks Ram!! You should share your riddle with the great Vedantic Swamis of the Sri Ramakrishna Order- Math and Mission – they would LOVE it!!!

  18. Ram

    Two or one?

    My name means two things that you get to see
    You consume one, the other consumes you,
    As far apart as the sky from the sea,
    A part of your daily life are these two

    One causes addiction, another cures,
    Their forms and functions are different too,
    One gives you protection from illness sure,
    Other-knowledge and entertainment too.

    From the attacks of illness one screens you
    One a screen that takes you to another world
    One is given by doctors to help you,
    One is bought in vanity truth be told.

    You cant live without one is what you think
    And the other keeps your health in the pink

      • Ram

        Hi Joan,
        Not to worry!
        It is tablet..
        One is a pill that the doctor prescribes when you are I’ll.
        The other is a tablet pc like your iPad… Both are called…. Tablet:)

    • Joan Fullmore

      This is fantastically clever! You are a natural at this riddle game.

      • Ram

        Thank you, Joan!
        I love riddles but this is the first time I am setting them to verse 🙂

  19. Nivedita Karthik

    My rivers and seas run dry
    and mountain peaks don’t reach up high
    My roads are never jammed with cars
    and I have neither sun nor sky nor stars.
    I come equipped with a key
    to help you unravel me.

    What is it you think I am?

    -Nivedita Karthik
    Chennai, India

  20. Father Richard Libby

    You see me nearly daily but you rarely pay me mind.
    I’m at your side, above your head, in front of you, behind;
    It’s rare that I’m beneath your feet, unless there’s been a spill.
    (Just drop a cloth beforehand and apply me with great skill.)

    You try to make me thinner, but in truth, I am not fat.
    I have no shape to speak of; once you use me, I am flat.
    When I am fresh, you’ll smell me, for my scent is in the air,
    But, later on, you’ll brush on by as if I wasn’t there.

    What am I?

    Fr. Richard Libby, Corpus Christi, TX

  21. Riddle

    I lie
    But my brothers do not
    I am sick and dying
    But they are well and nourished
    Soon they will lie as well
    To steal the food they need but won’t find
    And we will be chased by long-necked monsters with teeth
    And be trapped together in the dark
    Or burn to ash.
    As our family reunites with us
    What time is it?

  22. Joan Carol Fullmore

    Hate to be negative but my first impression was cancer cells talking to healthy cells.

  23. James A. Tweedie

    Okay, here is a really far-out guess. “Long-necked monsters with teeth” were dinosaurs and the riddle describes “the Cretaceous–Tertiary (K–T) extinction, a mass extinction of some three-quarters of the plant and animal species on Earth that occurred over a geologically short period of time.” (quote from Wikipedia). An event precipitated by the incinerating (“burned to ash”) impact of a massive meteor/asteroid off the coast of what is now the Yucatan Peninsula in Central America. The subsequent radiation and loss of sunlight (“trapped together in the dark”) destroyed vegetation/plankton resulting in the starvation of both herbivores and the carnivores which depended on them for food (“the food they need but cannot find”). To “lie” in this case, does not mean to be dishonest, but to literally lie down and die. What time is it? Approximately 66 million years ago.

  24. Riddle

    That really was a far-out guess! You got the “I lie” part correct though. The long-necked monsters . . . don’t think so literally.

    (HINT: The monsters can be found in a garden shed.)

    • Joe Naughton. Ireland.

      I lie – Tree has fallen and is diseased (Root rot) as will the other brothers soon. while they are nourished now they soon will fall (Lie). long-necked monsters with teeth would be a chainsaw?
      And be trapped together in the dark – Stored in a wood shed?
      Or burn to ash. – used as firewood following which the carbon is released thus re-uniting in the atmosphere.
      As our family reunites with us
      What time is it? – Time to stop global warming

  25. Riddle

    Wow! Closest guess so far! It does have something to do with trees. Many lines have accurate guesses, but they relate to something else.

  26. Riddle

    I lie – leaf on the ground
    But my brothers do not – the other leaves are still on the tree
    I am sick and dying – shriveling up
    But they are well and nourished.
    Soon they will lie as well – soon they will fall as well
    To steal the food they need but won’t find – looking for water and nurtrients
    And we will be chased by long-necked monsters with teeth – rake
    Or trapped together in the dark – black garbage bag on the curb
    Or burn to ash As our family reunites with us -as the rest of the leaves fall
    What time is it? – It is the season of Autumn

  27. IceManD

    Dirty cleans up with pirates ..
    you tell me why it’s (so) ..

    I just made this up and 6 people can’t figure it out yet so i looked for a place to submit it. I reached for the rhyming (pirates/why it’s) it’s not really a rhyming riddle but I liked your site and posts. Everything you need to solve it is in the riddle.

    IceManD Think differently!

    • jcf108

      Now you have 7! LOL My first vision was my grandson taking a bath with his miniature ship and pirates – the only way I could get him to stay in the tub for a while!! LOL

      • IceManD

        Haha omg too cute! Well, I will add you to the 16 engineers and artists that haven’t been able to get it (without hints) .. so 17 now.

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