Fable

***

It has happened before but can’t happen again

When fairy-tale whirl reaches everyday kin.

Life becomes new as one kisses a frog.

Princes will naturally just feel agog.

Yet infinite wonders can sometimes restore,

What panic of fantasies cannot deplore:

More marvels and miracles vested in fable

Than muses and monsters divest with a sickle.

Ideals and those deeply rooted convictions

Must falter and die through the witches’ predictions.

***

We simple humans have none but restrictions

To savour the plot first compels predilections.

Mostly the outcome of winning huge prizes

Summarily ends in unwanted surprises.

Phenomenon instantly vary their guises

And force man or woman to grow several sizes.

Surely the answer to such cataclysms

Would give the brave cause to re-enter the prisms

Where light and the colours of life turn and tumble

The point of the matter brings zest to the humble

***

***

© HMH, 2014

15 comments

    1. Not me, I’m just purely awful at it. There’s a riddle in a sequel I’m working on, “Summerbird’s Quest,” that’s only about eight lines long. I swear I’ve rewritten it 10 times if not more, just trying to make it make sense while rhyming. That is very hard

  1. Oh, Debi, that is too bad. Can I help?
    I had a period where I wrote only rhyming poetry. The hardest poetry challenge I ever set myself was writing a Villanelle. That took me several weeks. . .

    1. Hi Hanne,
      I decided to take you up n your offer to help. This comes from Summerbird’s Quest. They’re questing, as the title would suggest, and meet up with the Riddle Tree, an enchanted tree that was once human. If they answer his riddle, he’ll tell them how to escape a troll that’s further ahead. Here’s the riddle:
      “We each have our own, yet none emerge till a breath is taken.
      “Indulgent critic and savage guardian of that undertaken.
      “Gentle mirror of traditions, yet stark tutor of futures forsaken.
      “Three of three—a glorious new era may die or awaken.
      “Ugly, weak, poor or sickly, singularly I inspire.
      “Beautiful, powerful, rich or strong, collectively I tire.
      “Secrets shelter, secrets obscure, secrets harm and conspire.
      “Where unity does not exist, a pursuit will wither and expire.”
      The answer is “Mother.”
      The characters do gripe that it’s a sloppy riddle, so I don’t want it perfect. But I sure have struggled with it seeming just right. There is part of it about Three of Three that has to stay there because it refers to three of the characters.
      Thanks for any suggestions!

      1. I’ve copied your comment and will ponder the riddle. Maybe I can think of something. I can’t promise it right away. . .

          1. I’m not worrying at all, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t ponder your riddle. I haven’t had a moment to do so yet, but I’ll come back to you when. . .

  2. I couldn’t sleep last night — so that gave me time to wrestle with your riddle. Here is my suggestion:

    To each his own, and thus flows life through gentle vessel
    Casket, critic, savage guardian, still gives quiet space to nestle
    Gentle mirror of tradition, tutor too to help awaken
    Triad’s triad ne’er forsaken
    Ugly, Old, or poor and sickly, I can notably inspire
    Young in beauty – rich in power, without reason, wouldn’t tire
    Secrets shelter, secrets darken, secrets wither and conspire
    Still, the circle has no ending – giving life but to expire

    I hope you can use it — but would ask you to give me credit for it — should you do so. It was inspiring to much about with the rhymes and I might develop the idea into a triple poem — about the maid, the mother, and the crone, the proverbial triad. . .

    1. This is one very inspirational riddle! It also fits perfectly with the personality of the Riddle Tree. In fact, it inspires me to change his dialogue to make it a bit more flowery and obscure. He was, after all, enchanted because of his vanity and tendency to speak out of turn. And of course, you get credit as the magical poet who created a special poem, just for the Riddle Tree. How couldn’t I do that?! I like the idea of a triad, but the questers only have an hour to figure out the riddle and in the end, they end up cheating because the aelf who leads the quest doesn’t have time to screw around with stupid trees. He’s a hoot. But… if you do further develop the riddle, I’d love to look at it! Again, thanks so much!

      1. I’m so happy that you can use my Mother Riddle. . .
        I can see that the questers can’t cope with several riddles. My thought was to use the Mother riddle as the middle section of a three-part poem. . .
        I mean, would you have anything against it, if I did that and published it as an original poem? You know that I do post poetry on my blog quite often. Also, I plan to publish a band of poetry at some stage. Not before I’ve finished the third part of t The Triptych though.

        1. I would love that! What a great concept for a poem, like a painting, as a triptych. I do hope you don’t mind when the day comes, if you read the book, that one uncouth 19-year-old griped about the riddle being sloppy. The others yell at him for being insensitive. At the denouement, they learn the Riddle Tree had to quickly come up with something to meet certain requirements. They consider moving him out of the middle of nowhere and putting him in a magical Garden with sprites and other such beings. I think that’s a happy reward for such a strange tree. BTW, the tree’s name is Ivann. Thanks again for the riddle!

          1. No, Debi, not at all. 19-year-olds always think they understand the world better than everybody else — so his griping makes sense. . .
            Giving the Riddle Tree a new home sounds like a wonderful idea. Wish Ivann a pleasant time there.

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