Winners of the contest can be found here.

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.


DEADLINE: August 11, 2019, 12 midnight EST. Winners announced August 20, 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)





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

CODEC Stories:

271 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.

    • Rupert Palmer

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

      • 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.

      • Rohini Sunderam

        Camilla, I do believe you’ve got it! ‘ahem’ that’s clever

  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


      Brilliant, Rupert. I don’t think I would ever have guessed.
      Please hold it, though, while I make a pitch for “they” in line 5.

      • Rupert Palmer

        Why thank-you! You’re welcome to pitch all you want, but you shall find me quite immovable on that point. “Them that” is an antique and well-attested construction; take, for example, The Lord’s Prayer in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer translation.

  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

    • 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?

    • 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.

  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.

      • Tonya Ann McQuade

        Yes, specifically the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron Giganteum)!


      Giv’n eyes, some would look up at us.
      We tread on them without much fuss.
      We love those of impressive size,
      While slighting others–not so wise.

  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.

    • 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?

      • 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.


      Just as fine as your previous, James. Am I right that “eat” means use or consume? And “procure me from myself” means picking a single staple from a conjoined row that would go in the stapler trough? Or am I quite lost?

      • James A. Tweedie

        Julian, I just noticed your post. Yes, “eat” means what it means since it refers to food “staples” such as grains, fruits, and the like. “Procure me from myself” is more obscure–in America there is an office supply store chain called “Staples.” so you can buy staples from Staples.

        On a separate note, no one seems to have guessed your own riddle:

        Giv’n eyes, some would look up at us.
        We tread on them without much fuss.
        We love those of impressive size,
        While slighting others–not so wise.

        I have no idea what the answer might be. Since the contest is over, what is it?

      • Julian D. Woodruff

        Hi, James
        Been distracted the last few days, so just noticed your post to me. Thanks for clueing me in on your riddle. As for my little thing, I meant it not as a riddle but as a cautionary comment on our being in awe of big things–giant sequoias, whales, Bezos’ s wealth etc., etc. The sampling Sequoia here is a stand-in for the millions lost to the failure to see great value in small (human) creatures.

      • Julian D. Woodruff

        “Sapling,” that should have been.

  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

  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

  8. Mike Bryant

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

    How are all of you like him?

    Mike Bryant, Texas

      • Mike Bryant

        The answer:
        Each of you, including the policeman, has a
        conundrum (con und’r ‘em).
        It’s a groaner…. ha.

  9. Zachary Dilks

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

    Zachary Dilks, Texas

  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.

  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?

    • Philip Keefe

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

      • 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

  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.

      • 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!

    • Rohini Sunderam

      Ohhh! I was going to say epidemic and then there it is given away.

      • NRam

        But you still got it right before seeing the answer

  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

  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.

  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

  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

  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

  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

  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?

  21. Anthony X., Orange County, New York

    Born from fire and groaning earth,
    Eons post-natal not disturbed,
    But always does man find a way,
    And earth’s bowels do see day,

    Wonders dug from the gloomy deep,
    Mankind has long wanted to keep,
    But value often comes with vice,
    Every beauty comes with a price,

    With treasure comes a trail of blood,
    That of the waylaid traveler,
    Banker, miner, cheat and robber,
    Who gave their lives for shiny mud,

    What is the worth for which we vie?
    What is value, or is it a lie?

  22. Ronald Goldblatt

    Brought on by emotions both happy and sad.
    Brought on by memories both good and bad.

    Brought on by the thought of Jesus himself.
    Always present in sickness or in health.

    I sit quietly waiting to be summoned to appear.
    I wallow and build up inside of everyone here.

    I’ve been present in many since the beginning of time.
    I’ll still be around when poets can’t rhyme.

    I’ll be there to comfort whenever people must weep.
    I’ll be there when they awaken from their sleep.

    I’ll be there when it’s time to be laid down to rest.
    In fact that is probably at my best.

    I’ll be there with you to experience birth.
    And ’til death do us part for all that it’s worth.

    I’ll be passed on to others for generations to come.
    Waiting somewhere inside if they become numb.

    I’ll be there when your feelings are all ruled by fear
    But, alas, my existence is to be only a …….

  23. Rupert Palmer

    Would you climb steeps as you are steered?
    Would you till fields on others’ farms?
    Would you be sheep? Would you be sheared?
    Would you be healed by others’ harms?

    Would you be servant to a lord?
    Would you be thrall before a thane?
    Would you bear fervently his sword?
    Would you lose all to wear his chain?

    Would you endure these wretched ills?
    Then you shall find no place in me
    For I ensure the sway of wills
    No law shall bind, no ruler be

    If crook and fold delight you not
    If freedom be your true desire
    Come join the bold, wear proud the blot
    Come dwell in me, and call none sire

    What am I?

    -Rupert Palmer, South Africa

  24. Martin Elster

    My lady’s fingers are as viridescent
    as Kermit the green frog. They are not spicy
    like jalapeños, though they’re just as long.
    My lime-green lady’s fingers, while not pricey,
    are so darn tasteless, they’re like a depressant.
    Perchance they’ll make me healthy, slim and strong,
    but they are trailing slime behind like snails
    slithering forth. They don’t sport fingernails,
    nor are they blessed with knuckles. No, these fingers
    are hot where one might hear good Cajun singers.
    Louisiana chefs can make them yummy.
    Not me! I must have left mine undercooked.
    I gagged on the first forkful. Oh, my tummy!
    I don’t expect I ever will get hooked
    on bland, gelatinous seedpods. Being a dumbo,
    I’ll never get the hang of cooking gumbo!

    —Martin Elster (USA)

  25. Leo Zoutewelle

    So, finally, when all is said and done,
    There’s always me and facing me, myself.
    We love or fight, but ever and anon
    We have to face that other stubborn self.

    He comes at will, and slyly slips it out:
    What’s going on, you two, I want to know,
    And then he sticks it in, that nosy snout
    In our affairs, to set the facts aglow.

    We hate him sometimes honestly de jure,
    Because he always spoils our common fun,
    By ever goading us too be so pure
    He keeps our wicked concepts on the run.

    But in all honesty it must be said
    We both do love him after tears* are shed.

    *Tears of anger or tears of remorse

  26. J. Hickey

    Grand old lady, when your hair turned red
    All of your friends had thought you dead!
    That all your old bones would surely break
    Made even the coldest of our hearts ache.

    Dear lady, you asked: “Whatever was that?
    It seems that I may now have lost my best hat!”
    And lest our dear lady have nothing to wear,
    We’ll get you another! Your children all swear!

    We may love you more after such an ordeal
    And wait for the day when your laughter shall peal.
    For who among us, with his wildest supposes,
    Thought to see you again, still wreathed in your roses?

  27. N Ram

    N Ram Mumbai India
    Here’s my second riddle, hope you like it!

    Wisdom of the countless ages,
    Captured in a few bright phrases,
    They are found in all languages,
    Old or new across all races.

    Notes from those who lived before us,
    For us and those who will follow,
    Describing an event’s locus,
    And the outcome, joy or sorrow.

    Some are concrete,and some, abstract,
    Their content is always profound,
    Loads of meaning you can extract,
    And take decisions that are sound!

    Tell me what these nuggets are called
    These thought-pills from bright minds of yore?
    If, by chance, your thinking is stalled,
    Look into your local folklore!

  28. Sheri-Ann O'Shea, Australia


    I have a thousand faces
    I have no face at all
    Die not, but turn to many
    – my thousand children bless my fall.

  29. J. Hickey, Indiana, USA

    Tell me my name in fuller measure,
    With elbow grease and downward pressure.
    Or cup by cup, if that’s your pleasure,
    All impurity for to blot.

    Out, out, you contagion! My burning vapor
    Hangs all about when swimmers caper,
    Breaks all the molds and fades out the paper,
    Declaring: ”Out, out, damn spot.”

  30. Rohini Sunderam

    I once raised my limbs way up to the sky
    The breezes blew through my green canopy
    But they cut me down and beat me to clay
    And then in a vat of water I lay
    Until the sin that they called lignin
    Had all washed away and I could begin
    Reformed and refreshed laid out on a mesh
    My heart and my soul they then did thresh
    Today I am pure and as white as rage
    And I can frighten both poet and sage.

    What am I?

  31. Rohini Sunderam

    It’s a blank sheet of paper (that’s why ‘frighten both poet and sage’). I guess paper is correct

  32. James B. Nicola


    Every second, every day, she nears.
    Upon arrival, though, she disappears—
    Or, more accurately stated, moves away,
    Still chased, while chaste yet, for another day.

  33. Sukarma Rani Thareja

    Here is my simple riddle

    Believes in concept,
    Of body and soul,
    Body – macro object,
    Soul -micro object,
    Body follows classical mechanics,
    Soul follows quantum mechanics.
    Indirectly makes jugglery wonderful,
    Between Classical and Quantum mechanics,
    And explains concentric circles,
    Of everyone’s everyday life magical,.
    And prepares one for a higher call,
    An ultimate truth divine beautiful.

  34. Sukarma Rani Thareja

    Pranik healing,
    Reki healing,
    Distance healing,
    Healing through spirituality,
    Is possible,
    And effective,
    Everywhere ,any time,
    In all seasons of year,
    Due to which ,
    Character of,
    Block builders,
    Of every Body,
    Mind and soul.

  35. Bruce E. Wren

    Bruce Wren, Chicago, Illinois

    Of Whom do I Write?

    Whose words these were I think you’ll know,
    (His home was in New England) though
    I do not think he’ll mind if here
    I imitate him even so.

    Perhaps you think it rather queer
    I’d write a riddle much too near
    The master’s first creative take
    That stands alone without a peer.

    But still I give myself a break,
    Avowing there is no mistake:
    For though this riddle make you weep,
    It certainly is not a fake.

    Your task is simple, not too deep,
    It’s only solve before you sleep
    This silly riddle all too cheap,
    This silly riddle (gosh it’s cheap!)

  36. Rohini Sunderam

    My second:

    I was born when the little moth died
    No one thought of me and no one cried
    In a hot bath they loosened my glue
    Who am I, now you’ve got a clue!

      • NRam

        I wouldn’t say that it is obvious.
        Since you started with the death a moth and I come from south India, the immediate association was with silk. Your riddle is quite elegant!

  37. Thomas Newton


    The Songs of Homer and the fame of Achilles had
    probably never reached the ear of the illiterate barbarian.
    –Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

    The song of yourself he said you should sing,
    And cut the shackles English bards begat,
    And Freedom sounds so sweet. Let Freedom ring
    Across the land and steamroll structures flat.
    I shake my spear at Freedoms barbarous
    And nasty mindless authors who betray
    The values from the days of old. To us
    The silly rules do NOT apply today.
    Today the authors nearly all abort
    The past. A few aspire to bring it back.
    Is there a person giving life support
    Alive today and willing to attack?
    And twelve of us agree and bravely strive
    For only two to show it IS alive.

  38. Pamela Belitch

    Push me, and I move those who stand around me.
    Yet I cannot function without your touch.
    Side by side, several others surround me.
    They cannot speak and yet, their voices sound often enough.

    Come sit beneath me, though your hands rest on top,
    Stroking nimbly at which cadence and frequency you please.
    I sing for you until you bid me, stop.
    Or rest;
    Linger indefinitely…

    • Pamela Belitch

      Push me, and I move those who stand around me.
      Yet I cannot function without your touch.
      Side by side, several others surround me.
      They cannot speak and yet, their voices sound often enough.

      Come sit beneath me, though your hands rest on top,
      Stroking nimbly at which cadence and frequency you please.
      I sing for you until you bid me, stop.
      Or rest;
      Linger indefinitely…

      Pamela Belitch from Orlando, FL

      Reposting because I didn’t add my location the first time and don’t know how to edit or delete my first comment. Sorry!!

  39. J. Hickey, Indiana

    My third & last riddle. Enjoy!

    As valet or butler you failed in your craft;
    As robotic helper you likewise do flop.
    Silent, unhelpful, and all understaffed–
    Unresponsive you are to the terms of our swap.

    Did I not feed you, just as you asked?
    Certainly my offering you saw fit to take.
    With mechanistic whine, but never a cask
    Did you ever give me, my great thirst to slake.

    Shall I push your buttons, as you have pushed mine,
    And plead with the fates for justice dispensed?
    Or just turn away, to my sad fate resigned,
    Without my desire at all being quenched?

  40. Raymond H Gallucci, Maryland


    Beyond the fabled Pillars
    Or near the Isle of Thera?
    Poseidon launched his killers
    In single night of terror.

    Some say in Indonesia,
    While Cayce thought Bahamas.
    Collective our amnesia
    When comes to ancient dramas.

    From Solon came the story,
    Passed down through generations.
    A quite elusive quarry
    With endless contemplations.

    And should we ever find it,
    Most likely unexpected
    Will be the tale behind it –
    Pre-history corrected.


    We live in a pinwheel
    Quite far from the hub.
    Revolving until we’ll
    Like dust be sucked up.

    Believe it’s existed
    For billions of years,
    Evolving till twisted
    In spirals appears.

    It’s far from alone,
    Having sisters galore.
    Perhaps there’s a clone
    We may someday explore.

    No matter how distant
    Through telescope’s eye,
    The number existent’s
    Uncountably high.


    Seems every four, we add one more,
    Until there’s exception to rule –
    For centuries that come in threes,
    Our normal perceptions they fool.

    Division where a score that’s squared
    Results in remainder that’s none.
    Leaves double nils the same until
    Four-hundred-year cycle has run.

    Seems solar dance will leave askance
    Perfection with time we desired.
    Thus, must exist this subtle twist
    Astronomy always required.

  41. Dianne Moots

    The Prophet prayed and the rain stopped
    The Prophet prayed and they harvested the crops
    The Prophet prayed and the vision came
    The Prophet prayed and nothing remains the same

    The Prophet prayed and great drops of blood fell
    The Prophet prayed and obtained the keys to hell
    The Prophet prayed and there was life after death
    The Prophet prayed and the devil had nothing left

    The Prophet prayed and the gift made room
    The Prophet prayed and hes no longer in the tomb
    The prophet prayed and things are not the same
    The Prophet prayed and they all overcame

    The Prophet prayed and the baby leaped in the womb
    The Prophet prayed and redemption birthed Satan’s doom

  42. Dianne Moots

    911, Oh what a day of attack
    Terrorism, just another stab in the back
    911, Oh the twin towers went down
    Terrorism, devastation so profound
    911, Oh what an awful day
    Terrorism’s effects bringing us to our knees to pray
    911, Oh why was it allowed
    Terrorism, Oh what reproof of the proud
    911, Oh what anger, what remorse
    Terrorism, We must consider the source
    911, Oh the Satanic beast walks the land
    Terrorism, He and the beast go hand and hand
    911, Oh a day not quickly forgotten
    Terrorism, Just another demonic plot how rotten
    911, Oh the foolishness of man
    Terrorism, Unleashed into the land
    911, Oh our countrymen’s blood cries
    Terrorism with it’s cynicism and lies
    911, Oh the building, we will replace
    Terrorism, Oh what a slap in America’s face
    911, Oh surely we the people will heal
    Terrorism, Tragedy with a seal
    911, Oh these lives must not be in vain
    Terrorism, nothing remains the same
    911, Oh the devastation of a nation
    Terrorism, America’s vision of aggravation
    911, Oh we must recover
    Terrorism, Satan’s brother
    911, Oh what anger, what shame
    Terrorism, Just another name
    911, Oh what a painful past
    Terrorism, Upon God now this burden we do cast
    911, Oh God let this evil be turned to good
    Terrorism, let us take off its mask, its hood
    911, Oh in your year of jubilee
    Terrorism, Oh America we must break free

  43. Nivedita Karthik

    Nivedita Karthik
    (Gurugram, India)

    It is there all around you
    whether you’re seeing red or feeling blue.
    Neither seen nor felt
    nor heard nor smelt,
    it can be found among the stars
    and even deep in this heart of ours.
    A killer of joy and laughter
    that shadows you forever thereafter.

  44. Trisha Barr, Ohio

    This is the kind of guy that young girls love to date;
    though, in livestock, it is no desirable trait,
    and it is the type of tip that servers hate
    (but it’s what they can expect if you’re made to wait).

  45. Peter Hartley

    Speak ill
    Of Dr Jekyll,
    With pride
    To Mr Hyde.
    A saintly
    You’ll find
    A faintly
    To hide
    Mr Hyde
    And his kind
    By mankind
    Whether committing
    (Weather permitting)
    Petty crime
    Or doing time
    For pantogenocide?

  46. Zachary Dilks

    Zachary Dilks, Texas

    What can’t touch, but yet we all can feel
    Like water, flows
    Like life, it grows
    And what is relative regardless of however real
    And what’s the seal between a kiss
    That blow concealed between the fists
    And what’s the difference in a hearty soul and heart of steel

  47. Julian D. Woodruff, western NY

    I’m always in one place, and yet
    I take you many places.
    Let trails on paper not upset
    You; put me through my paces!

    My problem is, once in a while
    I’m caught quite unaware
    And lead you on mile after mile—
    And also to despair.

      • Julian D. Woodruff, western NY

        Go, Nivedita!
        Spot on!

        (Imagination is also a good, imaginative guess.)

    • Nivedita Karthik

      Thank you Julian!
      I really enjoyed reading this one…

      Amazing word play there. The “lead you on mile after mile” is indeed what it does…and quite often at that. 😛

  48. Sheri-Ann O'Shea


    I have no limbs and yet I leap
    Strange tongues have I, yet cannot speak
    I do not live and yet I grow;
    Dispense my light, but cannot know.

      • S. O’Shea

        Yes, fire! How clever of you. So quick.
        Unless it was not very clever of me…

      • Rupert Palmer

        Thank you, I prefer the theory that we are both terribly smart!

      • N. Ram

        This is a beautiful riddle. I don’t think it is simple or too easy.But your imagery is so vivid and hence it is easy to get the association quickly

    • NRam

      N Ram Mumbai India.
      One more from me… Just before the finishing line

      When you’ve figured me out you’ll know I’m unreal,
      Yet I rule the hearts of men everywhere!
      There are times when I become an ordeal
      In those times my spell is so hard to bear

      Flower of the night, my scent leaks through days,
      Mighty or the meek, I bring hope to all,
      Shocking or pleasing,many are my ways
      Sometimes I may bring you a wake up call

      My role is mostly to de-stress the mind,
      Though, at times, I take you to future’s doors,
      My language uses a code of some kind,
      Its key is locked in the mind’s inner stores!

      You could now make this a fairy tale ending,
      Tell me my name while the verdict is pending!

  49. Sheri-Ann O'Shea


    Mine is an unseen power
    That draws some to my grasp;
    Those there are who can’t resist
    Surrender in my clasp.

    But others dare defy me
    On them I have no claim
    I cannot move them in their pride –
    They shun me in disdain.

  50. Noah Hale

    Noah Hale, Delaware

    I won’t be long, but see my great show
    Before I’m away, as all things go,
    Since it’s my nature to fall then grow
    And then live again triumphantly.

    I’m heavy, yet my design is light
    And by design I’m also night
    If I fall from my place on the height
    Of thousands of mornings and days.

    Wherever I fall I also see
    The makes of my work, the work of me
    In one of my flares on the same sea
    You’ve known me from, wherever you are.

    What am I every day and night?

  51. Julian D. Woodruff, western NY

    Although the world in which I’m not
    Is often crass and filthy,
    That is no sin of mine; I plead
    Emphatically: not guilty.
    My world’s online, less often print.
    I may arise from haste
    Or simple inattention: is
    There too much on your plate?
    I’m there, but not. I don’t belong.
    You notice and you’re vexed
    Because propriety demands
    You root out such a hex.
    My visible stand-in is one
    Of seven (or else five);
    Or better: it heads nine like it—
    Or trails, some must believe.
    Those who commit this little crime
    Aren’t shamed in many cases.
    (Your poet made the same mistake
    Above—no real disgrace.)
    You’d think some spirit had passed by
    Wielding a choosy Hoover.
    I may spoil rhymes as they’re spoiled here.
    Ban me, they might be truer.

  52. Camilla Marx

    Camilla Marx, South Africa

    I was no stranger to your waking mind
    And you have felt me burn within your soul.
    I bear your very thoughts, and yet you find
    Though all may master me, none may control.
    Surely I chart the heart of man: the joy
    The love; the fear; the victory and despair.
    Lavish I praise then fickle, I destroy;
    I mend; I build; I crush beyond repair.
    As empires shake and crumble, from their dust
    I linger on to praise or to indict.
    Though chained, repressed through ages, yet I must
    Rise, undeterred, to lift the arm of right.
    And though I rail against you, let me be;
    You cannot hold me captive and be free.

    • Camilla

      Oops just realised that I left out two commas – Line 7 should read ‘Lavish, I praise,’ etc. This is what comes of posting late at night I guess!

      • Julian D. Woodruff, western NY

        Great poem, Camilla
        and thanks for the editorial comment. I was wondering about the weird word order in line 7: “Lavish I praise …” (No guess from me yet vis-a-vis the riddle.)

      • Camilla Marx

        Thank you Julian!
        Yes I was quite frustrated with myself when I spotted that.

    • Julian D. Woodruff, western NY

      Your poem deserves more than one guess. I not at all confident, but something relating to innate bias or disposition, or natural law?

      • Camilla Marx

        Thank you very much Julian! You and Allison were both on the right track.

  53. Mark Stone

    Mark Stone, Ohio

    Shaken, Not Stirred

    Whenever the empire was threatened with doom,
    the MI6 leaders met in the War Room.
    And after a spot of tea, they chose to leaven
    the crisis by calling on Double-O-Seven.

    Impeccably tailored and sharp as a quill.
    The double O meant he was Licensed to Kill.
    The hero in twenty-four works of film stemming
    from stories and novels penned by Ian Fleming.

    He’d arrive at the office of his boss, named M,
    and learn of the villains and go after them.
    The scoundrels would hatch schemes so brazen and bold:
    to kidnap a space ship or steal the world’s gold.

    They all sought to kill him, so he could not linger.
    Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Auric Goldfinger,
    Doctor No, Mr. Big, Kamal Khan, too.
    And Klebb with that poisonous spike in her shoe.

    The villains had henchmen to help in their cause.
    A metal-toothed killer whose nickname was Jaws.
    And Odd Job, a chauffeur so dangerous that
    he could behead a statue with his bowler hat.

    A key chain with stun gas was one of the gadgets he
    used in the service of M and Her Majesty.
    The beverage for adults that he most preferred:
    a vodka martini that’s shaken, not stirred.

    He played craps with Lana Wood (Plenty O’Toole)
    before she was picked up and tossed in the pool.
    He met an assassin in a jacuzzi,
    played by the hot Luciana Paluzzi.

    His female companions were classy, not wonky:
    Diana Rigg, Daniela Bianchi.
    But few of his consorts, and maybe not any,
    could rival the style of the sweet Moneypenny.

    To ladies, quite charming. To bad guys, quite ornery.
    Six actors have played him, including Sean Connery.
    Recently, Daniel Craig. The other four:
    Lazenby, Brosnan plus Dalton and Moore.

    And now for the riddle for which you have waited.
    I hope that your foray will not be ill-fated.
    His “go by” is novel. It’s not off the shelf.
    Tell me how would he be introducing himself?

    • Mark Stone

      Mark Stone, Ohio

      Any of the following would be correct:

      “Bond. James Bond”

      “My name is Bond. James Bond.”

      “The name’s Bond. James Bond.”

      One can see a video compilation of James Bond introductions by doing a search on “Top 5 James Bond introductions.”

  54. Mark Stone

    Mark Stone, Ohio

    Hip Lingo (an opinion riddle)

    My wife made a comment and I almost choked.
    She said that I’m too old to utter, “I’m stoked.”
    I cannot keep up with hip lingo these days.
    At what age should one stop employing this phrase?

    • Julian D. Woodruff

      Good. Reminds me of a NYer cartoon of years ago: a tombstone with the epitaph “Hey, I’m outta here!”

  55. Trisha Barr, Ohio

    You might find them on a sidewalk.
    They often make people gawk,
    though a review would rather mock.
    You will find them at the theater
    or in a science fiction double feature.
    In a way, some live on forever.

  56. Lauren Angelus

    Thou wonders of our world will last
    For us today soon reach our past
    But the strong mind of Man holds itself high
    Unspoken are the words that one will die
    Our world will stand upon our grave
    The destruction we make will soon concave.

    Why thou people stay relentless
    When soon our world will be lifeless
    The oceans will cry itself in dismay
    Mankind will always be the one to be repay
    The rubbish left on all the sea floors
    Will grasp the life of animals doors

    O cry the world mankind will ruin
    Thy eyes are blind and hearts are black
    It is they who have forgotten themselves in a place quite abstract
    That a creation much bigger holds earth up high
    This prized possession will make human cry

    It controls the winds and it reigns with the seas
    It holds mountains up high and lets animals free
    It carries the weather and life out on earth
    What could be this mother that mankind has desert?

    • Lauren

      Lauren Angelus, California

      (I don’t know why it says August 12th, but today right now in California is still the 11th. Hopefully my riddle will still be accepted for this contest:) )

    • Lauren Angelus

      Lauren Angelus, California

      Thou wonders of our world will last,
      For us today soon reach our past.
      But the strong mind of Man holds itself high;
      Unspoken are the words that one will die.
      Our world will stand upon our grave,
      The destruction we make will soon concave.

      Why thou people stay relentless,
      When soon our world will be lifeless.
      The oceans will cry itself in dismay,
      Mankind will always be the one to repay.
      The rubbish left on all the sea floors
      Will grasp the life of animals doors.

      O cry the world mankind will ruin.
      Thy eyes are blind and hearts are black!
      It is they who have forgotten themselves in a place quite abstract.
      That a creation much bigger holds earth up high;
      This prized possession will make human cry.

      It controls the winds and it reigns with the seas.
      It holds mountains up high and lets animals free.
      It carries the weather and life out on earth.
      What could be this wonder that mankind will desert?

      • Lauren Angelus

        Yes, on the right track. But if we are heading towards a polluted world then what aspect of nature are we moving away from.

      • James A. Tweedie

        Lauren, Now that the contest is over, would you be willing to post the answer?

  57. NRam

    August 11, 2019
    N Ram Mumbai India.
    One more from me… Just before the finishing line

    When you’ve figured me out you’ll know I’m unreal,
    Yet I rule the hearts of men everywhere!
    There are times when I become an ordeal
    In those times my spell is so hard to bear

    Flower of the night, my scent leaks through days,
    Mighty or the meek, I bring hope to all,
    Shocking or pleasing,many are my ways
    Sometimes I may bring you a wake up call

    My role is mostly to de-stress the mind,
    Though, at times, I take you to future’s doors,
    My language uses a code of some kind,
    Its key is locked in the mind’s inner stores!

    You could now make this a fairy tale ending,
    Tell me my name while the verdict is pending!

    I am reposting this riddle again as I seem to have posted in the middle of a conversation. My apologies

    • James A. Tweedie

      N Ram, Now that the contest is over, would you be willing to post the answer?

      • N. Ram

        My apologies. I thought since people had guessed all the answers, (and I had also agreed with the guesses), the matter was settled. Here are my answers:
        poem 1: Neither King nor rich I spare—- answer: epidemic
        poem 2: wisdom of the countless ages— answer: proverb(s)
        poem 3:When you’ve figured me out….. answer: dream(s)

      • James A. Tweedie

        N. Ram. My apologies! I didn’t realize this last riddle had been posted earlier. My bad! Thanks.

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