At the end of my last post, I promised to provide solutions to the haiku riddles I have written, but I decided it might be an even better idea to go beyond that and give long-winded extensive explanations for each one, pointing out each clue or pun so you might glimpse the process that went into conceiving and writing them.
So square, daddy-o,
but, man, if you get turned on,
it can be so cool!
I thought this might have been too obvious: it is either a box fan or an air conditioner. When I was trying to come up with a few new examples of haiku riddles, I looked around the room for something to write about, and immediately spied a recently purchased box fan. The first step was to make a list of some of the object’s qualities in my head: it is square shaped, it’s electric, you turn it on, it cools you down, etc. The words “square” and “cool” made me think of 1950’s beatnik slang, and then basically everything else fell in place, leaving me to just convert my concept into the 5-7-5 syllable format.
End of the line,
yet start of eternity?
Answer this with ease.
Okay, I admit this is not original at all, it is based on an old chestnut I first heard in grade school. The subject of this haiku riddle is the letter e which appears at the end of the word “line” and at the beginning of “eternity”. The last line is simply an atrocious pun on the word “ease” (e’s, get it?).
It’s the single thing
that sounds just like victory,
but what can it be?
The answer is “one”, a single thing that is pronounced the same as the word “won” (and if someone has “won”, they have achieved a victory). Interestingly, I tried testing all my haiku riddles on my girlfriend, and this is the only one that she guessed correctly.
A royal figure
you’ll find (at present) at end
of certain actions.
The royal figure is a “king” which appears in the present tense at the end of certain actions such as “walking”, “talking” , ” joking”, “smoking”, “licking”, and “kicking”.
Five columns bowing
becomes one boulder flying
again and again.
Of all the haiku riddles I posted, this is the one that is truly the most poetic, the whole thing primarily an extended metaphor for a fist that is either knocking at a door, or (for those who prefer violence) slugging someone. The five columns bowing describe the appearance of the five fingers of the human hand curling into a fist (which is somewhat in the shape of a boulder), while the flying again and again represents the repeated actions of either knocking or punching. This was one of the very first haiku riddles I ever created (unfortunately, I have forgotten all the others I wrote at the same time) when I first conceived of the concept to use with children in poetry presentations at local elementary schools.
So I hope these explanations may prove to be a helpful guide for you, if you do wish to try writing a haiku riddle yourself. I admit the haiku riddle might not be for everyone. I, myself, really had a blast creating them, but then again, I’ve always been fascinated with riddles and brain teasers of all sorts since I was a wee tyke. I like to leave you with one more haiku riddle based on a brain teaser I devised years ago that was inspired by those analogies one would find as a student in the verbal portion of the S.A.T.s and other such tests (don’t worry! I won’t waste your time by writing another whole new post on its solution, I’ll just leave the answer in the comments in a couple of days):
where as Minnesota is
to New Mexico?