What an upstart little sapling you seemed to be
with riddles running wild in its riotous roots,
growing on hopes and pride into a tall tree
as you splayed your spread-fingered shoots.
How fast you grew toward the fanciful sky,
holding your ambitions like a glorious crown
stuck in the clouds— ever so deliriously high
that your spindly trunk snapped and fell down.
What a stark collapse that shook the earth!
And you, yourself, too, splintered all apart
so that you looked down at the upturned turf
and saw therein your dry-rotted heart.
You trifled with riddles and poems and wit,
thinking yourself wiser than the way of things,
but then you came aground, bit by broken bit,
and found but kindling in your recording rings.
The Green Man could not save you, oh no, no, no,
nor the rains of plenitude that always came,
and, so imbalanced, you were doomed to go
and now no one knows your secret name.
“Eyes are always following me
at my back, yet they cannot see.”
“I am not doing a handstand for fun—
in fact, this act stinks, so you better run.”
“If you rode me you would need
a saddle as well as a parachute
since I am something of a mixed breed,
galloping and flying along my route.”
I have written little over 50 riddles for the children’s book. I hope to have 99 solidly good riddles by the time I’m ready to publish. We’ll see. A few samples:
“My hourglass figure is a warning
to anyone approaching my thread,
for, despite my name, I’m not in mourning
for any of my husbands that are dead.”
“My comb is stuck to my head
like a mohawk, wrinkled and red.”
“Despite all of my brushing and toil,
a bad hair day is my endless curse
since my tresses never want to uncoil—
but my stone-cold stare is even worse!”
“I am a thief of the light,
dull by day, but glowing at night.”
“He looks like a man, but is very small,
and lives in the ground, peaceful and quiet,
then he burgles from a mountain hall
while five armies begin to riot.”