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Riddle Poems: How Do I Write A Riddle Poem?

Riddle Poems: How Do I Write A Riddle Poem?

A visitor asked, "How do I write a riddle poem?" Great question! Great inspiration - a riddle poem is a brilliant poetry exercise, and it produces quite amazing poems. Riddle poems are also especially easy to do, and the process how you come up with a deep and meaningful riddle poem is straightforward.

Here is how to write a riddle poem, step by step - plus three riddle poems for examples as well. Enjoy!

How do you write a riddle poem?

Now that must be one of the easiest and most fun ways to make wonderful poems, not just riddle poems; writing a riddle poem is also excellent poetry practice, and this is why poets love to write riddle poems.

Here is one to illustrate the point - can you solve the riddle and guess what this riddle poem is about?

Always in movement,
swaying, rising to the moon,
enfolding countless beings,
the beginning and the end,
the origin and destination,
you stand in awe,
and listen to my voice.


Click on the image to get the answer to the riddle poem

Did you get it right?

Right, and now to the question how to write a riddle poem.

Sooo easy!

You take the answer, and then you describe your answer in a poetic and beauiful way.

You can describe what the answer is like, what it reminds you of, what it does, what it feels like, what its true nature, purpose and existence is in your opinion.


Rising high,
majestic, still,
both young and old,
you whisper green and gold,
draw eye and spirit
to the open sky.


Click on the image to get the answer to the riddle poem

Did you get it right?


I just wrote that by picking out something I could see through my window and simply describing it.

And that's the simple trick of how to write a riddle poem, revealed.

Just one thing, be sure not to mention the name of what you're writing about, and you're not allowed to use any kind of name or word that is usually associated with that which is the answer to the riddle in the poem.

For example, if the answer is "Fish" you're not allowed to use fins, or gills, or aquarium, or even water because that would just give it away too easily.

So - step one, think about the answer. In this case, the answer to the riddle poem is going to be "fish".

Find a memory of a fish that "springs to mind" - hehe, pun intended!

Be sure it's a fish, not a dolphin or a whale, else that's no fair, cause they are mammals and not fish.

Right, got a memory of a fish? A live fish?

Now zoom in on the fish and start describing it without using the words that would give it away.

You can start yourself of by using a bridge question, like Shakespeare did in the most famous riddle poem of them all, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"

You can ask, "What shall I compare thee with, fish?" and write that down over the top, by all means, we delete this of course before we publish the poem. I think Shakespeare left his question in as an educational device, to show people how it was done.

You can ask other questions to get your riddle poem started, such as,

"What is this fish like?"

"What can I see, what can I feel, what can I sense about this fish?"

"What is unsual about this fish?"

"What is beautiful about this fish, and why?"

"Why am I even looking at this fish? What's so special about it?"

If I was writing this poem, I'd answer that with,


A flash of light -
pure silver, fast, alive,
streaks by -
beneath the surface
is another world.


That's based on a memory of me standing on the banks of a tranquil little river in the summer, thinking there's nothing going on, everything's boring, there's no-one here, and then this fish streaked by just below the surface and it kinda shocked me, to think that there was this whole other world where things were moving fast, and living, dying, right there beneath the surface. Which was cool ...

  • It's these sort of moments that make poetry, and that's what you need to write poetry, to pick memories of things that made you think, hey, that's kinda cool, or hey, that was amazing.

The more amazing the moment, the better the poem.

But there we have it - how to make a great riddle poem made easy.

Have fun!

Silvia Hartmann

October 2010

A final tip - writing a riddle poem about a person is particularly good fun. It's an excellent poetry exercise. I call these people poems and sometimes, I might even tell the person which one is theirs ...

If you base your people riddle poem on an amazing memory with that person, they'll be blown away by it. Try it, it's a very cool thing to do.

"A visit to Project Sanctuary is simple to do and leaves you marvelling at the wonders to be discovered in your own mind." Margarita Foley

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