Invented Forms – The Haiku Riddle


Perhaps one of the easiest ways to create a new poetic form is simply to combine or mash up two pre-existing ones. For example, one could write an acrostic sestina, or take certain aspects of the limerick and the clerihew (which already share many similarities), and come up with the limericlerihew. Back when I was doing presentations on poetry at local elementary schools, I conceived of the haiku riddle, figuring most kids adore riddles, and it might be a good way to introduce them to the haiku format of three lines consisting of 17 syllables which we are all familiar with. Technically, most haiku riddles wouldn’t actually qualify as haikus, since the seasonal or nature element is not required to write one. But like the haiku, it is written in 3 lines or phrases with 5 syllables in the first, 7 in the second, and 5 once again in the last. Because the poem is also meant to serve as a riddle, its subject matter (which can be all most anything), is purposely enigmatic and  intentionally concealed, leaving the reader to decipher what it is all about from clues and puns woven through out the lines.

Here are 5 haiku riddles that I wrote for you to contemplate. Like haikus, haiku riddles don’t usually have titles, so instead (for identification purposes) I have numbered them:


So square, daddy-o,
but, man, if you get turned on,
it can be so cool!


End of the line,
yet start of eternity?
Answer this with ease.


It’s the single thing
that sounds just like victory,
but what can it be?


A royal figure
you’ll find (at present) at end
of certain actions.


Five columns bowing
becomes one boulder flying
again and again.

So what do you think of the form? And were you able to solve all my haiku riddles? I will reveal their solutions in my next post, but until then, feel free to leave what you believe are the answers or even your very own haiku riddles to stump me in a comment. Thanks so much for reading!

11 thoughts on “Invented Forms – The Haiku Riddle

  1. Reblogged this on richwrapper and commented:
    Never much of a riddle-fan: breezes kept getting blocked (originally typed “flocked,” then, “glocked,” before more reasonable fingers intervened – still amn’t, but I enjoyed the quest(s)ions. Will key up sardonicside to see if I have a guess to ungather. Like the notion, however, of haiku riddles, since I figure I must as I am a serial offender of haiku manners myself.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Gonna take me a long time to go through those lists and I am so glad you do not mind my reblogging…what a wonderful collection – and I feel compelled to share. J Richards

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Like some of my favorite pictures, I notice sometimes what makes the photograph work past my plebian intent is a much-happy causing mystery some say is art. I had no knowledge – but a suspicion of one possible answer – as I trolled past the offered examples: but to claim clever would indict this hacked ham sammich as I strained to keep the mustard off my shirt before the mirror I try not to watch too often for it abides my grabbrag lies I whisper to me allatime. Now, you know, Paul, I compel me to go back and re-read riddles: like penance. Why walk along hard-stone roads? Because the answers come clearer and it’s a direction I’ve yet to take and, maybe mostly, I like less-crowded conditions.

        Liked by 1 person

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