Thank you to everyone who participated and made this a great year for rhyming riddles!

Evan Mantyk, Judge

First Place ($100): Monty Phillips, France

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!


Second Place: James B. Nicola, New York, New York

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.)


Third Place: Remy Dambron, San Diego, California

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.


Fourth Place: 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.


Fifth Place: Bruce E. Wren, Chicago, Illinois

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


Sixth Place: Connor Rosemond, North Carolina

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


Seventh Place: Rohini Sunderam, Canada

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


Eighth Place: Jennifer Hinders, Washington, DC area

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?


Ninth Place: 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


Tenth Place: Ram, Mumbai, India

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!




Answers: 1. Ink 2. Cell/mobile phone, person holding it 3. Oceans 4. Wind 5. Echo 6. Meter 7. Iris 8. Cheese 9. Dandelions 10. Mirror image

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:

8 Responses

  1. Ram

    Congratulations to all the winners! And thanks to the society for organizing the contest.It was great participating

  2. Connor Rosemond

    I’m pleasantly surprised to see I placed in the top ten; congratulations to my fellow poets!

  3. J. Simon Harris

    What a fun contest! I regret not entering something, but it’s great to read all the winning entries. Congratulations to the featured poets!

  4. Rohini Sunderam

    Wow! I am so glad Monty Phillips’ Ink came in first. I thought it was really clever. Thank you for organizing such a fun contest. I must say it was a great surprise to place in the top ten. Such an honour!

  5. Monty

    And for anyone’s information, the clues for the ‘ink’ poem were thus:
    FEATHERS . . quills (before pens)
    ink WELLS
    ink POTS
    FOUNTAIN pens
    ink JETS
    UNDER MAN’S SKIN (tattoos)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Captcha loading...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.