Winners announced here.

Scroll down and read the comments section to enjoy all of the submissions.

What has no subject one can tell,
Yet tries to make it ring a bell?
What makes you scratch your head and think,
“How does this blather even link?”

RULES: Write a rhyming riddle of any length and paste it in the comments section below with your name and area of residence, such as “John Smith, Colorado, USA.” Do not include the answer. Let people guess and then respond with the answer at your discretion. Two submissions per contestant. No submission fee. See our Riddles Section for inspiration. Nothing dirty, please.

DEADLINE: July 31 midnight EST. Winners announced August 13.

PRIZE: $100

JUDGE: Advisory Board members 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:

177 Responses

  1. Zachary Dilks

    Zachary Dilks

    In truth, it’s plain to see
    You are, but rarely are we

    • Caroline Bardwell

      This is a tough one, Zachary. My instinct is that the answer has to do with letters of the alphabet. Not sure which person is being referred to, the You (letter U) or the We (YO), but I’ll guess the latter.

    • Carmanie Bhatti

      Really appreciate your sense of humor. I would say you are referring to the “light” which is plain and it is rare to match any other thing with that.

      • Zachary Dilks

        Sorry, it’s not light. Try again though. I might give a hint though. The brevity makes it vague.

    • Zachary Dilks

      Here’s a hint to get people guessing again, ignore the first line, it’s only meant to trip you up and to complete the rhyme.

      • Zachary Dilks

        Also close, Rohini. You and TDZ are in the right neighborhood.

      • Zachary Dilks

        You’re dancing around it Rohini. You’re hitting synonyms.

    • Charlie Bauer

      The attitude: “I’m always right which means you rarely are?”

    • Caroline Bardwell

      ONE (not sure if you’d see the comment on the other person’s guess)

      • Caroline Bardwell

        FINALLY!!!!!!!!!! I needed the song hint. Alone, Solitary, Lonely…. “One is the Loneliest Number” 🙂

    • T.D.Z.

      Congratulations to Caroline! There is something very clever here. I was stuck on the idea of singular and plural, but the poem says “rarely are we”. “We” is never singular, but “rarely” the pronoun may refer to “one” person, as in the case of a monarch. Well done! Fun guessing!

      • Caroline Bardwell

        Thanks TDZ. Very challenging and I wouldn’t have gotten it without other people’s guesses leading me there.

      • Rohini Sunderam

        Congratulations Caroline! Good one Zachary. It sure had us all guessing.

      • Zachary Dilks

        Thanks all! I’m glad you all enjoyed it and it stumped you. TDZ, you summed it up perfectly.

  2. Jennifer Hinders

    We eat it hot, we eat it cold,
    And sometimes we eat it with mold.

    It’s hard, it’s soft and in between,
    If we’re asked to do this-it isn’t mean.

    The Brits say it for a bit of wind,
    Others talk about it when we grin.

    Bars, balls or giant wheels,
    Or someone who doesn’t act real

    Now that’s a lot of clues, you see
    So what is the answer to this riddle, please?

  3. Caroline Bardwell

    It seems to me there’s something strong
    that weighs on you and me alike;
    a force that presses down along
    each surface that our feet will strike.

    This strange phenomenon appears
    as apples fall from autumn trees;
    it took Sir Isaac Newton years
    to realize it’s not the breeze.

    It’s like we’re drawn magnetically
    toward the center of the earth,
    so things can move kinetically
    beginning from the point of birth.

    • Monty

      That’s a classy piece, Caroline.
      Even without the prevailing riddle, it stands up as a strong, disciplined poem.
      But given that there IS also a riddle; well, it almost defies gravity.

      • Caroline Bardwell

        Yes Monty. It is rated E for Easy, but I’m pretty fond of the poem. I can’t say that I prepared this one for the contest though. I wrote it earlier this year and I have to say it is a crowd-pleaser for the open mic set. I sent it out for publication, but had no takers so thought it would be a fun contribution.

        The name for this sonnet in iambic tetrameter is “A Strange Phenomenon” and the final couplet goes like this:

        “To sum it up with brevity,
        the word they use is Gravity!”

      • Monty

        Yeah, gravity, Jen; as in the riddle contained in Caroline’s poem. Instead of just blurting out the answer; I thought it’d be more imaginative to instead slip it into a sentence.

      • Caroline Bardwell

        Exactly. Easy enough to confidently guess!

        Final couplet in the rhyme:

        “To sum it up with brevity,
        the word they use is Gravity!”

    • Monty

      I must say, Caroline: I’m glad I first saw yer poem ‘without’ the final couplet . . which I feel to be superfluous. There are enough (practically giveaway) clues throughout the piece; the answer doesn’t need to be there. Don’t be enticed into the popularity (or some may say, monotony) of the sonnet.

      Like ya say: it IS an easy riddle to grasp, which I feel is rather fitting . . ‘cos one is thus able to concentrate their enjoyment on the poem, and not necessarily the riddle. The poem deserves that . .

  4. BeverlyStock

    What do you loose when youstand up? And find when you sit and nap?
    Your lap!

    • J.E. Prittle


      You included the answer in the question! 🙂


  5. Caroline Bardwell

    Entry #2 – This one I just crafted so I can claim I wrote it specifically for the challenge – less structured than #1 and the answer is not part of the poem. Also very easy and fun.

    I can be dark as night or somewhat fair;
    sometimes I’m barely even there.
    I can be curled or even pinned,
    easily tossed about by wind.
    I take on shapes of many sorts,
    in many lengths from long to short.
    To keep down the stress
    when you’re dressed to impress,
    I can be worn straight
    or pressed into plaits,
    repeatedly teased
    if the wearer’s so pleased
    or sculpted and sprayed
    to keep strays at bay.
    Some will flinch with every break,
    as if the entire world’s at stake,
    but knowing this much to be true –
    I can confidently promise you –
    that no one set is ever the same.
    So can you guess? What is my name?

  6. Leonard Dabydeen

    He was an entrepreneur who chartered a ship
    To transport prospective immigrants across the Pacific.
    On arrival at his destination, he was very optimistic,
    But at the Landing Dock he was not given a permit.
    What is the name of this entrepreneur?

    This ship made a voyage from Hong Kong
    Across the Pacific Ocean over a week long;
    It reached its destination, but could not land,
    As the chartered owner did not have permission.
    What is the name of the ship?

    Leonard Dabydeen, Ontario, Canada

    • Amy Foreman


      Could this be Gurdit Singh of the Komagata Maru, who was denied entrance into Canada in 1914? I had to check the history books on this one!

  7. Amy Foreman

    Amy Foreman, Cascabel, Arizona

    Capricious, shifting to-and-fro,
    I’m sometimes fast and sometimes slow;
    I’ve been around since long ago,
    Yet I’m the one you cannot know.

    A little of me lulls to sleep,
    And when I stop, the sailors weep.
    Too strong, and things lie in a heap:
    The mess I make is never cheap.

    I’ll make you open windows wide,
    Then slam them shut and stay inside.
    On my account, will you decide
    To button up, or bare your hide.

    You’ll never see me with your eye,
    And yet you’ll know when I pass by,
    For rustling leaves will testify
    When through the arbor, soft, I fly.

  8. Dylan R.T. Gibbons, Toronto, ON

    Riddle #1

    At first glance, I fill your heart with delight;
    For me, all the world’s men with surely fight!
    I make or break every nation
    And back every celebration.

    But, on my second note, I like secrets
    And what’s precious.
    My friends and I help to protect
    Everything from bike to diamond necklace.

    The company I keep is between two and four.
    Never less, never more.
    At first, I was scared of their teeth and claws,
    But now I do follow their woodland laws.

    – Dylan R.T. Gibbons, Toronto, Canada

  9. Dylan R.T. Gibbons, Toronto, ON

    Riddle #1

    At first glance, I fill your heart with delight;
    For me, all the world’s men will surely fight!
    I make or break every nation
    And back every celebration.

    But, on my second note, I like secrets
    And what’s precious.
    My friends and I help to protect
    Everything from bike to diamond necklace.

    The company I keep is between two and four.
    Never less, never more.
    At first, I was scared of their teeth and claws,
    But now I do follow their woodland laws.

    – Dylan R.T. Gibbons, Toronto, Canada
    *Repost as autocorrect changed a “will” to a “with”*

      • Caroline Bardwell

        I guess you’re looking for a group – precious metals?

      • Dylan R.T. Gibbons,

        Hi Caroline,
        Each stanza has a separate riddle which contributes to the whole. As a hint, the answer to the first stanza is ‘gold’.

  10. Connor Rosemond

    Connor Rosemond, North Carolina, USA.

    What pounds and plods as if with toes,
    And utilizes stress?
    What’s out of favor, out of style,
    Yet we use, neverthless?

    Riddle #1. Difficulty: Easy!

    • Connor Rosemond

      Please excuse my typo in the final line; “neverthless” should be corrected to “nevertheless”.

      • Caroline Bardwell

        Good job J.E. Prittle! I think you nailed it. I had no idea but am slapping my forehead because it seems so obvious now – metrical feet – it makes absolute sense.

  11. Connor Rosemond

    Connor Rosemond, North Carolina, USA.

    This witty thinker wrought his mind
    Semantically and frantically!
    If language is a game confined,
    This verse flaunts his philosophy.

    Riddle #2. Difficulty: Hard!

    • Troy A. Xavier

      Witt-y thinker… Language game… clever! The answer is German philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, yes?

      • Connor Rosemond

        Spot on, Troy! He’s one of the more fascinating philosophers to me.


    Not gal… not guy… this I belie. On wind I fly (though no physique).
    You can’t see me. I’m absentee. Though I agree, my answers weak.
    I may reprise and minimize then neutralize the things you speak.

    Joe Quintanilla
    Mangilao, Guam, USA

  13. Joseph B. Quintanilla

    What others rarely see
    it’s this you show to me
    be you a nobody
    or be of you a king.

    Confessional… close door…
    to me you then outpour…
    release what you deplore
    with kiss upon my ring.

    Don’t need your resume.
    Not lengthy is your stay.
    It’s best you not delay.
    Conclude with a wellspring.

    Joe Quintanilla
    Mangilao, Guam, USA

    • Troy A. Xavier

      The final two lines of the first stanza lead me to believe it is related to death, or perhaps vice. Is it “sin”?

      • Joe Quintanilla

        It very well may be that I’m just not great at making riddles. Anyway…

        Hint: “Kiss” is not literal, while “ring” is literal butt maybe not the ring you’re thinking of.

      • Joe Quintanilla

        Oh… sorry… no, “honesty” is honestly not what I was going for.

      • Joe Quintanilla

        Ha! I was beginning to wonder if maybe my riddle skills needed as much work as my poetic skills. A toilet it is! (Does that break the rules of keeping it clean?)

  14. George Ross

    What has two score minus two lines,
    No intended scheme of rhymes,
    Naught but six seedlings for each ending,
    And a complex algorithm to guide one’s wending?

  15. wendy lee klenetsky

    The ____ is a little thing,
    it has no tail, it has no wing.
    It has no arms, it has no feet,
    it has no height; it’s quite petite.
    The ____is seen here and there;
    it can be seen most everywhere.
    It can be seen on leaves and trees,
    it can be seen on wind and breeze.
    The ____isn’t square or round,
    it makes no noise; no single sound.
    It makes its home wherever it’s at;
    on a cat, or on a mat.
    It makes its home upon a shelf
    with other things, or by itself.
    The ____isn’t what you think;
    it’s not a drink or the kitchen sink.
    It’s not the shadow on the silvery moon,
    it’s not the bottom of a red balloon.
    The ____’s not a girl or boy,
    it’s not a ball or any toy.
    It isn’t hers, it isn’t his,
    it’s not what you might think it is.
    The ____isn’t rocky or rough,
    it’s small enough and tall enough.
    It really is the proper size
    it’s really right before your eyes.
    But what IS IT; this____ here?
    Is it part of the atmosphere?
    I won’t tell you the answer now..
    but I’m sure you’ll guess it, anyhow……

  16. C.M. Rivers

    Whether one of the wise or a deliberate fool,
    unless you are half of the rarest jewel

    you gradually come to understand
    things certainly won’t go as planned.

    It’s not a husband or a wife
    who’ll stay with you all of your life.

    Not any other person, realistically or actually.
    Neither dog, statistically, nor cat, factually,

    or lover, friend, bird, or turtle.
    Sorry – this might hurt a little.

    It is by no means a multiple-choice question,
    and may give you a headache, or indigestion.

    Whether diagnosed with perfect health or cancer,
    it’s true-or-false and you know the answer.

  17. Monching Llena

    What has love but does not adore?
    It has box but does not restore,
    It has no shape but fits in a ring,
    It’s a no dance but used to swing.

    Monching Llena

  18. Remy Dambron

    Due to my bipolar presence, I am both stormy and passive,
    With solar winds and lunar lures, my surf-face rarely placid.
    Fueling terrestrial climate, my wind and water are indispensable,
    Even if at times, their devastation’s indefensible.
    I’m a beautiful beast of nature, who only remains the same by changing,
    With my tempests, tides, and streams that I’m continually rearranging.
    My forces aren’t hormonal, they’re by-products of a shared environment,
    As a result the exchanges induced are passionate and violent.

  19. Zachary Dilks

    Zachary Dilks
    Austin, Texas

    That’s just like me to set down roots
    Wherever I go
    Is wherever I grow
    They’ll whisper me wishes and give the boot
    To carry their secrets wherever I blow

  20. Sr. fatimanayaki.A.C

    When I look around the vast Creation
    It alerts the ‘Poet’ in me with Inspiration
    I am before the Creator in Profound Adoration
    Composing a song of a new Creation

  21. Bruce E. Wren

    Poetic Riddle

    You can hear me in the canyons,
    But not upon the sea,
    The most likely of companions
    If you but cry to me.

    Bruce Wren, Chicago

  22. Ram

    Your right is my left, your left is my right,
    No one can see me when there is no light.

    When you cry, I cry, when you smile, I smile,
    Whatever you do, I do it in style!

    Your moves and actions, I capture with ease,
    Your words I can’t match, I can’t speak back please!

    I am not your lost twin, I am not your soulmate,
    How then your actions, I do emulate?

    You check with me to make sure you are fine,
    Who am I ? tell me, while there is sunshine!

  23. Ram

    He was a mover, he was a shaker,
    He was a poet extraordinaire,

    His words have journeyed across the ages,
    And keep the readers turning the pages!

    Make a move, throw a weapon add an e
    If you don’t find his name, just call me!

    Name the movement of your head when saying “no”,
    What’s the weapon, while hunting, people throw?

    There! You have the name of the famous bard!
    Surely now, that wasn’t really hard?

    Ram, Mumbai, India

  24. Monty

    I’ve never been exactly sure
    How long I’ve been on this old earth;
    It sometimes seems it’s not much less
    Than Man himself has held tenure.
    I’ve took on many forms since birth
    To keep abreast with Man’s progress:

    And took on many colours since
    My nascent hue of bluey-black.
    I started life in feathers, which
    Necessitated many stints
    In pots and wells (both with a lack
    Of water). I then made the switch

    To fountains (which also contained
    No water). Since those days, my role
    Has changed to stay by Man employed;
    In recent times he’s even trained
    Me to work with jets. And a whole
    New role began when redeployed

    By Man (lest he makes a blunder)
    To render me invisible!
    I still retain my centuries-old
    Propensity to get under
    Man’s skin . . and it is risible
    The cash he’ll pay for this, I’m told.

    I’d like to think I’m here to stay,
    But Man’s existence seems to be
    Under threat. Well, if that’s the case,
    I wonder if there’ll come a day
    When Monkeys learn to work with me . .
    I could outlive the Human-Race!

    Provence (France)

      • Monty

        There were clues aplenty:

        ‘feathers’ (quills, before pens)
        ink ‘wells’
        ink ‘pots’
        ‘fountain’ pens
        ink ‘jets’
        ‘invisible’ ink
        ‘under Man’s skin’ (tatoos)

      • Ram

        Thank you Monty, Yes the poem was peppered with enough clues.. but what I really liked was that they were carefully woven into the narrative!

  25. Lawal Jimoh

    The Riddle That Unites Us
    By Lawal Jimoh, LJ, L27

    Like rain to land, bow to arrows;
    reflection, gives the sight in rows,
    appreciates colours you and I.
    What waves the sky the spectral hi?

    –Lawal Jimoh Ishola, “The Riddle That Unites Us”

    Lawal Jimoh, Lagos, NG

  26. Lawal Jimoh

    Riddle Royal
    By Lawal Jimoh, LJ, L27

    Outside: Still Reigning door, I knock.
    Inside: My answer pulls some tasks.
    Outside: Your question Winds or asks,
    Inside: Whose watch is Gin O’Clock?

    –Lawal Jimoh Ishola, “Riddle Royal”

    Lawal Jimoh, Lagos, Nigeria

  27. T.D.Z.

    T.D.Z., New Jersey

    A creature, I, trained to keep,
    The time. I fly to make you weep,
    To cover you with mountain deep.

    A shell I bear, or two, or three,
    And since we’re counting, let me see…,
    Forever counting won’t count me!

  28. T.D.Z.

    New Jersey

    Who is the Lonely Heart?

    I caught a lonely heart one summer night,
    As he lit up for the lady in the wings,
    Beguiled,I admit, by his phosphorescent light,
    I succumbed to my weakness for hexapodal things.

    I trapped him, though tenderly, a prize in my glass,
    And demanded that his love-light flash for me,
    Alas, he demurred, his beloved in the grass,
    Alone could summon such technology.

    Sighing, I tipped the solemn fellow out,
    “Free at last!”, did he exclaim and fly away,
    Directly, post haste, to the beacon of his heart
    Without bidding me adieu with courtesy?

    Nay, he beamed kindly in my direction,
    Lest I feel keenly the sting of rejection.

  29. Rohini

    What are you?
    Blue or brown or green or grey
    Are you a flower?
    Yea and nay!
    You do not teach
    You do not preach
    Yet, if I’m right
    You control the light
    Found on every creature’s face
    Especially the human race
    But, as a flower this is true
    Most often, you’ll be wearing blue

  30. John Kolyav

    Name the Snake and the Country
    By John Kolyav, Kottayam, India

    Into three parts cut a snake
    And the end pieces you take
    Invert the head, stick to the tail
    And get a country’s name-don’t fail!

      • John Kolyav

        Yes! Perfect! Thank you very much dear Terence Marin. I was unable to check emails or website for a few days. Extremely sorry for the delay in responding.

  31. John Kolyav

    Who am I?
    John Kolyav, Kottayam, India

    I can change my color so oft
    And my body is very soft
    I have jet but not a rocket
    Ink I use though not a poet
    I have many buttons but no shirt
    And forcefully water I can squirt

  32. Bernnard Austin

    Bernnard Austin, Lagos , Nigeria

    I loudly swear and I curse
    Did I leave them in my purse?
    Are they behind the sofa, under the bed?
    Oh there they are – on my head!

  33. Charlie Bauer

    Man’s New Best Friend

    A man’s best friend has ceased to be a dog;
    When women wear it men’s minds start to fog.

  34. Darlene Franklin

    Start with plants from the marshes,
    But sold at stores in batches
    Used in Thanksgiving choices—
    Yams and jello cause comas—
    ‘Round fire on a branch blazes.
    Crackers, candy, who wants s’more?
    I’ll take four for lunches

      • Darlene Franklin

        Got it in one! I’ve been surprised at how many people were thrown off by the first line.

  35. Irene

    As the winters come to pass
    I ride, ride fast,
    often too fast to stop and think
    how the past has passsed in an eye’s blink.
    When the fruits ripen in May
    and the sun dries the clay
    and the trees shed their leaves
    I am like a boat that far away flees.
    I am a thief with a precious booty
    yet I am free to gaze at beauty.
    Only eternity can defy me,
    not you man, you can’t defy me.

    Irene Lupini, Italy

  36. Irene

    Peacock feathers’ beauty is eclipsed
    roses’ fragrant smell is not as sweet
    the nightingale’s songs are, if compared, discrete.
    Isn’t she who our soul has often kissed?
    A sharp sight and a keen mind
    will, aye, unveil the mystery enshrined.

    Irene Lupini, Italy

  37. Rajagopal Kaimal

    More vigorously flies what
    as the winds increase a lot.
    But then goes not any further
    despite the displayed vigor?

    Some folks lose it quite often;
    before you can count to ten.
    And it cannot ever be found
    Despite all the din and sound.

  38. James B. Nicola

    Generations: An Interactive Riddle
    (Who are “you” and “I”?)

    Your Great-Gran’ was a prisoner and spent
    Both day and night bound by a (double) chain.
    Flies on the wall would swear he never went
    Anywhere. But he didn’t need a plane
    To fly me to the farthest continent,
    Nor liberty to lead me down the lane.

    Your Gran’ (a wizard too) would, in the car,
    Lose all his magic powers, so I’d walk
    Around with him indoors. His repertoire
    Of words was not his own. That didn’t shock
    A single soul, though: Whose words ever are?
    And flies on walls would swear he loved to talk.

    Unchained but bound together, you and I
    Now take each other anywhere we care
    To go (and any way: We even fly
    On aeroplanes as one). With ample air
    There’s ample magic, too, for those who buy.
    Lately, though, it seems that everywhere
    We go together (even in the sky),
    Neither one of us is really there.


    If searching souls should find this riddle and
    not print it out, nor read it on a screen
    that’s wider than a palm (as I have planned
    for most), here’s one more hint to what I mean:
    As eyes peruse the problem now in hand,
    “I’s” also hold the answer, in between.
    (If even still souls do not understand:
    Solutions might be felt as well as seen.)

      • James B.

        Sounds right when you try this out with all the clues in the riddle–especially if you happen to be reading the text of the riddle in such a device! Thanks for checking in, Rhini Sunderam.


  39. Alan Salé

    Wow, it’s about Him!

    He is a friend and foe
    that we all somehow know…

    He pre-dates our air, water and land
    yet at our feet He will lay His Sand…

    He has hands and yet never claps,
    He is awake and never naps…

    the answer He will tell as He never lies
    for He is the true father that never dies,

    people have tried to have Him freeze, waste and burn,
    He was the subject of the song “turn, turn, turn”…

    if you can ID this fair man please make haste and drop a dime,
    also know that this great equalizer’s name must rhyme with rhyme.

    All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 1986-2018. Alan Salé

  40. Alan Salé

    Wow, it’s about Him!

    He’s a friend and a foe
    that we all somehow know…
    He pre-dates our air, water and land
    yet at our feet He will lay His Sand…
    He has hands and yet never claps,
    He’s awake and never naps…
    the answer He will tell as He never lies
    for He is the true father that never dies,
    people have tried to have Him freeze, waste and burn,
    He was the subject of the song “turn, turn, turn”…
    if you can ID this fair man please make haste and drop a dime,
    also know that this great equalizer’s name must rhyme with rhyme.

    All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 1986-2018. Alan Salé

  41. Alan Salé

    Who has Awaken the Children?

    It was one silent night
    without even a peep,
    the kids had said ‘goodnight,’
    asked lord their souls to keep,
    for to God they would always kneel down and confide
    finding after their prayers their loud echoes had died
    then being tucked in
    and then sleeping tight
    and then all evening
    avoiding the bite.

    Then suddenly came
    the rain,
    striking in awe,
    the yawning
    Drowning droplets,
    in pain,
    and now irrigated.

    He took them by surprise
    when he opened the door;
    while over them he stood
    as he started to pour.

    And after all of his tears
    had fallen and dried…
    the cries vanquished the fears
    of the torment inside.

    Now with lightened souls
    and redefined roles
    from a calm so deep…

    all the children
    laid buried, in sleep.

    All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 1986-2018. Alan Salé


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