From the riddle posed by King Solomon to the Philistines to the philosophy of riddles put forth by Aristotle to the riddles posed by Gollum to Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit, riddles have a long and rich history and have often been put forth in rhyme (read more here). Join in the tradition with this contest…

 

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” or “Ian Clark, England.” Do not include the answer. Let people guess and then respond with the answer if no one guesses correctly. Up to three submissions allowed per contestant. The riddles should be newly written for the contest.

SUBMISSION FEE: None

DEADLINE: August 11, 2019, 12 midnight EST. Winners announced August 18, 2019.

PRIZE: $100

JUDGE: Advisory Board Member or selected Member poets will judge. (Those who choose not to participate in judging may participate in the contest)

PAST WINNERS

2018
2017

 

 


Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.”

81 Responses

  1. James A. Tweedie

    On your marks . . . get set . . .

    A spike is there, but it’s not gold,
    Some forests have them, so I’m told.
    They cannot cough, but can “ahem,”
    And singers have an eye for them.
    And when someone pokes fun at you
    It’s what they do that makes you blue.
    A helpful hint? I told you so!
    And that is all you need to know.

    Reply
    • Rupert Palmer

      The answer wouldn’t by any chance happen to share 3 consecutive letters with your surname, would it?

      Reply
      • James A. Tweedie

        Rupert, Yes, indeed, it does! I must have made it too obvious! Your clue will no doubt make it easier for everyone else without having given away the store! Well done. I’m still pondering yours. I seem to be better at writing them than figuring them out.

      • Rupert Palmer

        Very clever, Mr Tweedie! Fear not, I was quite stumped the first tim I read it. It was only on my return that it came to me. Another bright spark worked mine out now. I shall write another.

  2. Rupert Palmer

    To those opposed to order new
    I bade a merciful adieu
    The low and high I equalised
    No rank or station recognised
    “Revenge” cried them that summoned me
    Them too I slew for Liberty
    Like them I often rose and fell
    And helped to pave the road to Hell

    What am I?

    Rupert Palmer, South Africa

    Reply
  3. Mickey Kulp

    The Queen

    The Sherpa named her Chomolungma; the white men didn’t care.
    They slandered her with “Everest” and climbed her on a dare.
    She was the tallest, queen of all, no other could compare.

    Later on the children asked, “Before the queen was found,”
    what was the tallest mountain peak upon the world so round?”
    And so my riddle ends right here; I’m sure it will confound.

    Mickey Kulp, Georgia

    Reply
    • JamesA. Tweedie

      A technical book answer would include K-2 or Kanchenjunga as likely suspects but perhaps there is a twist to your riddle that leads elsewhere?

      Reply
    • Mike Bryant

      Since the earth has a bulge around the equator, the tallest place on earth is Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador. Standing there you are closer to the stars. I assume this answers the reference to the “round” earth. So, Everest is actually about a mile and a half further from “space” than Mount Chimborazo. Everest has been in second place for a long time.

      Reply
  4. Tonya Ann McQuade

    They each need fire to be born;
    By some, a fire’s scar is worn.
    The fire’s ash helps them to thrive –
    Without it, they’d not be alive.
    They grow quite tall as well as round;
    In the Sierras they are found.
    Their shallow roots spread far and wide
    And link with others by their side.
    The mightiest has a general’s name –
    As well as natural acclaim.
    Beside them, one feels truly small –
    It must strike awe to see one fall.

    Reply
  5. James A. Tweedie

    A piece of folded wire is food
    That people everywhere should eat.
    And if you wanted me you could
    Procure me from myself—how sweet!
    Disfigure, smush me, then I’ll be
    More use to you. Does this make sense?
    And if you flip a part of me
    A horse might take up residence.
    You’ve heard that 1+1 is 2.
    For everyone but me, that’s true.
    But sometimes 1+1 is 1 . . .
    At least on paper, when I’m done.

    Reply
    • Avery Miller

      I’m not sure about the 1+1=1 bit, but if one turns the b in “stable” upside-down, one gets “staple”, and that is also something everyone should eat, so I’m hazarding a guess…staple?

      Reply
      • James A. Tweedie

        Hooray for Avery! The answer is indeed “staple” or, even better, its plural, “staples” (which is also the name of an American office supply retail chain where you can buy staples!) The 1 + 1 thing has to do with paper. Take one sheet of paper, add a second sheet and after the staple is put on (and through) the two pages, they are joined together as one. I anticipated the riddle would be solved by working backwards from “stable.” You proved me correct. Well done!

      • Mike Bryant

        Wow! Great riddle and great work to figure it out.

  6. David Watt

    My favorite pastime is to sleep,
    And when awake, I barely creep.
    Just like a friend who overstays,
    I hang around for days and days.
    My given name is quite offensive
    To one whose slowness is defensive.
    I favor garb of algae-green
    With moths aplenty in between.

    Who am I?

    David Watt, Australia

    Reply
  7. Rupert Palmer

    A haven safe I used to be
    Now many die here annually
    For some on whom they must depend
    Betray the charges they defend
    There’s not much room for movement free
    Nor air to breathe, nor light to see
    You too have been here, have no doubt
    For none come in, but all go out

    What am I?

    -Rupert Palmer, South Africa

    Reply
  8. Mike Bryant

    Each of you, upon this page,
    has posed a riddle for the sage
    who likes a little
    cogitation.
    Each of you has hopes your trope
    will make all readers have to cope
    with quite a little
    consternation.
    Like a fast pursuing cop,
    when an escapee’s forced to stop,
    he hops on him with
    dedication.

    How are all of you like him?

    Mike Bryant, Texas

    Reply
  9. Zachary Dilks

    A friend to a flame
    And a tree, the same
    And hangs on the mention of every name

    Zachary Dilks, Texas

    Reply
  10. Avery Miller

    Avery Miller (U.S.A.)

    The Three

    Canst thou name us? Rhyme the three,
    Wraith and rope and rarity.

    All that is, thou canst not see,
    First sees all with clarity.

    Good will ever come to thee,
    Second knows with verity.

    Though the others cease to be,
    Third lives in eternity.

    Canst not guess? Our rhyme will be
    Wraith, and rope, and rarity.

    Reply
  11. James A. Tweedie

    We’re allowed three, so here’s my final riddle:

    My first name is a city
    And my surname sounds like “swamp.”
    When I was young and pretty
    I would play all day and romp.
    I later became saddled
    With a business that I ran.
    My rivals became addled
    By the turf wars I began.
    I always came in early
    And was soon a millionaire.
    Competitors fell yearly
    But I always beat them fair.
    I stopped to smell the roses,
    In retirement I thrived.
    I lived less years than Moses
    But grandchildren have survived.
    My hay days found me able
    To fill grandstands with applause.
    Now my legacy is stable,
    Can you tell me who I was?

    Reply
    • Philip Keefe

      This is so good I’m almost sorry I have the answer (I think): Is it Seattle Slew?

      Reply
      • James A. Tweedie

        Lol, Philip! Yes, of course it is Seattle Slew. I’m glad you enjoyed the riddle. I had fun writing it.

  12. Taylor Crosby

    The only thing that is truly yours
    Cannot be found in any stores
    You can only find it at birth
    And only you know its true worth

    It cannot belong to anybody else
    After all, it is much too complex
    And can only be understood
    By its owner since before childhood

    And sometimes even you
    Don’t have a single clue
    About what it’s trying to say
    Or trying to display

    But when you do know
    There is nowhere else to go
    Than the path it sets you on
    On which you must walk upon

    For it must always be obeyed
    And its voice cannot fade
    Because if you pretend not to hear its cries
    Then you yourself will be flooded with lies

    Taylor Crosby, Indiana

    Reply
  13. N. Ram

    N.Ram Mumbai, India
    Here is my riddle:

    —-
    Neither King nor rich I spare,
    Lay to waste whole towns in days,
    My impact is hard to bear.

    Body’s weakness I lay bare,
    Attack health in unknown ways,
    Neither King nor rich I spare.

    On life war,I do declare,
    Leave my victims in a daze,
    My impact is hard to bear.

    Doctors often dumbly stare,
    At my ever changing pace,
    Neither King nor rich I spare.

    I am mankind’s worst nightmare,
    For my death the whole world prays,
    My impact is hard to bear.

    I drive people to despair,
    Their wellbeing I erase,
    Neither King nor rich I spare,
    My impact is hard to bear.
    —-

    Reply
      • N. Ram

        Hi David,
        Good guessing… but it is not cancer.

      • N. Ram

        Hi Kushal,
        It is not cancer… if you see the conditions, cancer does not meet at least one of them.

      • NRam

        Hi David,
        No it’s not aids. In fact each of the guesses fall in the right area. Though ebola and aids are almost right. What i have in mind is not a specific disease or virus. I wrote the poem to talk about the process…EPIDEMIC. An epidemic hits a city suddenly, progresses fast, wipes out populations and seems to keep changing the pace and leaves people dazed, if not dead.
        Thank you all for reading!

  14. Zachary Dilks

    Burn it
    Or it drowns you
    Turn it
    It surrounds you
    Bitter friends until the very end
    It cripples and confounds you
    Pick it up and let it lift you up the same until it grounds you
    Flee the pain
    And hug the chain until it’s bound you

    Zachary Dilks, Texas

    Reply
  15. Martin Elster

    Martin Elster (USA)

    The first to think up agriculture, son,
    were not you humans. While you might admire
    yourself for stepping on us, the sure-fire
    survival skills we’ve learned have plainly won
    us matchless status. Since you’ve overrun
    the world, observing us could re-inspire
    you all to be less wasteful. Our attire
    is modest as can be. We’ve never spun
    tall tales about the universe. Each choice
    we make is commonsensical. We rise
    each dawn to work and listen to one voice,
    a voice that passes on a can-do air
    to all her girls, who’ve energy to spare
    for a mind that’s neither callus nor unwise.

    Reply
  16. Mahek Gupta

    Mixed up with the mud on ground,
    All that could be heard was my sound,
    till I melt, hallowed and bound
    till I know I can never be found

    Reply
  17. Mahek Gupta

    Mahek G. India

    Mixed up with the mud on ground,
    All that could be heard was my sound,
    till I melt, hallowed and bound
    till I know I can never be found

    Reply
  18. Mahek Gupta

    like city lights,
    I twinkle
    like mourning daffodils,
    I mingle
    like subservient skies,
    I succumb
    like mighty lions,
    I challenge
    like warm stoves,
    I burn

    Reply
  19. Mahek Gupta

    Mahek G. India

    like city lights,
    I twinkle
    like mourning daffodils,
    I mingle
    like subservient skies,
    I succumb
    like mighty lions,
    I challenge
    like warm stoves,
    I burn

    Reply
  20. David Armstrong

    David Armstrong, St. Louis, MO

    Eyes behold me, though not all
    Pending whether and where I fall,
    All beseeching, some to call
    Forth from hamlet, hearth, and hall
    Colors coaxing, slow to stall,
    Whether upon the arbors tall
    or the aging garden wall,
    I splinter through, dust enthrall,
    Seen but hidden, while hours crawl
    Though not all, though not all.

    What am I?

    Reply

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