Sharon Chmielarz


Riddles have existed since ancient times. They’re half poem, half mind-teaser. Both describe.

Both love words with double meanings. These riddles range from easy to difficult. Their solutions can lead to imaginative guesses… not to mention fun.

(These riddles are from my recent book Speaking in Riddles, Nodin Press, spring 2021)

Speaking in Riddles

Riddle #1

Using one of my agents–lamp or flare,
metaphor or window –I wake you.
I am the master of arousal. Strong,
I can wake any creature.


Riddle #2

Yesterday was Monday.
Today is Tuesday.
Tomorrow, already Wednesday.
I am so lazy. I’m not ready.—
This course is long and
way too windy—


Riddle #3

I’m an eerie overriding of clattering opposites,
an elegant disruption of seasons. Ka pow!
I deliver winter a summer bolt. Listen up!
I’m not something to take chances on.
Your ears recognize me and urge you to dive
under cover. I’m not an end-of-the-world sign,
just a threat that momentarily obliterates any
other. Brinkmanship is my operative word.


Riddle #4

Some are small-sized vessels with big cargoes.
They stir up memories of the dead or dread.
Some cargo snow; others, downpours.
They go out on wishful thinking; others, on anthems.
Some are sore-spots in creation, docking in trees and fences.
All of winter’s winds and then some can hardly shred them.


Riddle #5

I am big and round. I am cold or hot.
In my belly lie bones and beans, skin
or greens. Sometimes tongue. I’m at
home with a spoon or, for that matter,
the knife. My freight is my goods; they
smell! good! and lure you to me. When their
savor is gone my belly is empty again.


Riddle #6

A couple of old dinks have many years together. I’ll call them A and B. B’s trundled along ignored except in emergencies. A’s always been babied for its thoughts while B was on its feet, the good donkey, disparaged for braying. On a Sunday afternoon, resting in bed is one of the rare times A admits they’re licked. B’s in a quilt and would like to nest all afternoon but is willing yet again to roll out into the old, upright, up-and-at ‘em position. They’re beyond making deals. At this stage A can offer nothing; A knows it’s pushed B. But B has also taken its share of the world’s delights.


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Speaking in Riddles