Ever since reading the Hobbit I've enjoyed rhyming riddles. More than just logical puzzles, the wit and imagery that goes into their analogies make for interesting ways of looking at the things we'd otherwise find common. While there's plenty of "What am I?" puzzles out there it's rare to find ones that rhyme, which for me is what separates them from brain teasers. Sherri Johnson, Chris Cavanagh and Eric Raymond have nice listings, and mine are available under the Creative Commons v3 (A, NC, SA). Enjoy!
Interested in helping? Disagree with the difficulties? I'm in desperate need of people to gauge how hard they are so if being a riddle tester strikes your fancy then please let me know!
"Hello" you call unto the black
and just and friendly I'd speak back.
Yet it's a lie, I only quote
that welcoming into my throat.
Surely, you think, they're just for show,
those fangs you see both high and low
and though my heart's as black as night
you needn't worry - I won't bite.
Rather I'm much like a fairy tale troll
swallowing anything that comes to me whole.
My skin is thicker than any bruit,
yet I haven't life and alone I'm mute.
Here's some things that good men lack
poisons to turn the pure heart black.
A list that's born of a serpent's gift:
wise, alone, and set adrift.
A hollow life with nothing striven,
always taking, never giving,
longing for another's place,
drunken thoughts of flesh and lace.
Hate that turns man on man,
feasting before a pauper's stand,
and last is holding praise too near
for this the devil too holds dear.
August, 2009 (easy)
Twin towers flank a host of fourteen
with all the court in between.
Born of chariots, their reach is far.
To friend, to foe, to all there are.
Beside them the mounted dogs of war trod,
followed by those that speak the words of god.
All bow to the crown and guard his grace,
moving when threatened to take his place.
To a bloodless war lowly footmen are chanced,
but deadliest of all is his lady's advance.
Dark ranks match them, man for man,
a pale knight leads, the charge began.
July, 2009 (easy)
Come, let me tell you of Hector's demise,
of Tristan's love and Mordred's lies.
Tales woven by others, not a word I can claim,
yet my recitings are flawless, each telling the same.
Patience and I'll teach you the words of the wise,
secret truths only experience supplies.
You'll find me in halls of scholarly concern,
the rigid tutor that knows yet won't learn.
Hush and know fables both dark and grand,
of Homer's epics and the Grimm's cautioning hand.
They'll whisper their intrigue in a voice you own,
slip the hours away till sleep calls you home.
June, 2009 (easy)
Salaam my friend, and hear my soft song,
calling the tired and lulling the strong.
Lullabies fit from peasant to crown,
heard even by beasts and plants in the ground.
I rob cuts of their sting,
soothe cares the world bring
treat every hurt and bruise,
yet am a panacea few would choose.
Now scissors cut a thread in two
making way for youth anew.
A finger's touch, the world withdrew,
a gentle dance, just me and you.
May, 2009 (hard)
Curtains raise, they take the stage,
mute actors that never age.
The clouds are cotton, the floor is pine,
the souls bound up in fine twine.
Crowds will cheer, the players dance,
flowing scene to scene as in a trance.
The world is perfect, they never whine,
for there's not a single will, save mine.
The play has ended, we take a bow,
but the viewers are the actors now.
When freed from decision, of thought and blame,
we'll walk to another drum just the same.
April, 2009 (medium)
When the Hanging Gardens of Babel grew,
I read the heavens for what it knew
to gesture a thing that can't be seen,
with rigid arm and hand so keen.
I have a marked and telling face,
and never rush - I keep my pace.
I'm shy of clouds and the dead of night,
otherwise faced true North I'm always right.
Now given gears I never sleep,
and two more arms are mine to keep.
Sixty to one they each will race,
but twice a day they all embrace.
March, 2009 (medium)
I'm in magic and books,
with spooks and the crooks,
and forbidden lover's bliss
after a vine trellis kiss.
I might be open or closed,
often plain as your nose.
I'm a gift you can't take back,
and in the sharing I crack.
Authors place me in Prague
or the dense London fog
but I'm with people you meet
both the wicked and sweet.
February, 2009 (easy)
Four rails with four trains
lie centrally in the lanes,
with current for both bulb and drain
marking sites where chance means gain.
A shoe pays the hat his due,
for his stay on an orange hue
before he turns with hopes of greed
to red, to yellow, and then to green.
At first the cheapest bargain's seen,
the further along the more they mean.
We meet the tax and bribe the cop.
You can't pay? Now we stop.
January, 2009 (medium)
I'm features to be lent,
both to lady and to gent
with eyes that aren't my own,
and expression a soulless clone.
I might smile when you're sad,
or frown if you're glad
I'd guard tears you weep,
for my mood I always keep.
I grace the waltzes of noble elite,
then dance all night in the Carnival street.
I'm known for the telling, for tales I help weave,
one of me smiling, the other will grieve.
December, 2008 (medium)
I'm of a desert
both pale and vast,
just part of a legion
that if taken won't last.
I'm a fine dancer
that sways in the breeze,
moving like petals
we speckle the trees.
I'm an intricate symbol
matchless even among kin,
at my sight even some grown
give a childish grin.
November, 2008 (medium)
My name's synonymous for my face,
which holds anything but grace
with an unblinking glare
that gives children a scare.
When winged I lack flight,
if fanged I can't bite,
I've claws that don't scratch,
and my siblings rarely match.
Perched with a look of disdain
I vomit the rain
and for a millennia I stay
until weathered away.
October, 2008 (medium)
I drink from the brine,
a pond or warm wine.
To bloat and to lie,
as I pass the world by.
Grander than spires,
as for mountains, much higher.
A mat, full and deep,
on which no one can sleep.
Yet I bow to the breeze,
less substantial than fleas.
Then far from my birth,
I shed my great girth.
September, 2008 (hard)
I move, I step,
as silent as snow.
I grow, I flick,
from lit candle wick.
I leap, I bound,
yet don't leave the ground.
I've arms, I've hair,
less substantial than air.
I pass, I go,
with someone I know.
I dash, I tumble,
but it's never my fumble.
August, 2008 (medium)
Four banners with twelve lords,
each the highest of a great horde.
Two kings, whose lives will end,
brought about by their own hand.
For each the nobles, lord and dame,
top and bottom, they are the same.
All below them lack a face,
and for a name count their place.
Given meaning that isn't there,
middle's low but lowest fair.
And for a time they're fortune's hand,
with a sway only they command.
This is a puzzle for a puzzle,
a riddle for a rhyme.
But the thought is here
the day is near
the answer will come with time.
There's not a single word,
a phrase that I can say,
to make this clear
for I do fear
this might just give it away.
You might think this foolish,
a simple waste of time
But soon you'll see
the answer may be
right in front of your eyes.
And now for something completely different...
This is a tad unusual in that it was a riddle for a gift. While it's not really meant to be solved, both the rhyme and the gift are amusing and strangely appropriate for this section.
If you're curious what it was, click here.