This tiny thief
Has ground to grief
Many a mighty poem,

No wiser for
The learned lore
He nibbles, tome by tome—

But though he’ll munch
My words for lunch,
He never eats his own.



Name the Novel

O Little Bear! O Greenyfinch!
O Snowflake, Little Swan!
The fire’s on the mountain,
And the day is nearly gone.
Come home, come home, your master calls,
Now down the mountain go:
Your little mistress needs your milk
To sweetly, strongly grow.

O Little Swan! O Greenyfinch!
Snowflake and Little Bear!
You’ve grazed all day the mountain herbs
And drunk the mountain air,
And now your little mistress waits,
And rosy gleams the snow:
Come down and give your rich, white milk
To make your mistress grow.
Your frothy, warm, sweet nectar milk
Will heal your mistress so!


Put your answers in the comments section below.



Jack DesBois is a singer, actor, and storyteller. He gives annual Epiphany season performances of The Western Star, which he wrote in 2016. He self-published a chapbook of short poems in 2018. As a singer, Jack has had the good fortune to solo in several of the great works of Baroque Oratorio, including Handel’s Messiah (Bass) and Esther (Haman) and J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion (Jesus). Jack lives in Topsfield, Massachusetts. 

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11 Responses

  1. Michael Pietrack

    Riddle reminds me of a critic that finds the fault but can’t see beauty.

    Name the Novel – not sure

    They were fun to read. As JD said, there is musicality to it.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Joseph S. Salemi

    The first must be either a mouse or a bookworm.

    As for the second, I cannot guess, but the poem’s tone and imagery remind me of the nursery rhyme:

    Cushy cow, bonny cow, let down thy milk,
    And I shall give thee a gown of silk —
    A gown of silk and a silver tee,
    If thou wilt lay down thy milk to me,

  3. Roy E. Peterson

    Poem 1: Joseph’s guess of a mouse seems the right one to me.
    Poem 2: I also guessed “Heidi” before seeing Jeremiah Johnson’s same guess.

  4. Paul Freeman

    I’ll go for the bookworm.

    As for the book – a riddle for a riddle.

    What do you call a blind gazelle?

  5. jd

    Very interesting link, Jack, and a beautiful family.
    I never did find the answer to “Riddle” though. I vote
    for bookworm too. Never producing any words, he has no
    opportunity to eat his own.


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