Writing Technique, Riddle

Written for:  Carpe Diem #935, Cicada

The trick in using this technique is to state the riddle in as puzzling terms as possible. What can one say so that the reader cannot easily figure out the answer? The more intriguing the setup, and the closer the correlation between the images, the better the haiku seems to work. The old masters’ favorite tricks with riddles ran along these lines: “Is that a flower falling or a butterfly?” or “Is that snow on the plum branch or the blossoms?” and the all-time favorite: “Am I a butterfly dreaming I am a man or a man dreaming I am a butterfly?”
Sometimes the riddle is not actually set up as a question but makes a statement of improbability. At times the author supplies the answer of how this other reality can be; at other times the reader is left to find the solution.

If you are going to try this haiku writing technique, you can ask yourself the question: if I saw snow on a branch, what else could it be? Or seeing a butterfly going by you ask yourself what else besides a butterfly could that be?

from a treetop
emptiness dropped down
in a cicada shell

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

blossoms fall
entering the realm of the clouds
muddy puddles
© Chèvrefeuille (our host)

Here is my attempt:

autumn rains down
insect stuck on pavement–
crumpled brown leaf


About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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One Response to Writing Technique, Riddle

  1. O its a beautiful intriguing one !

    Liked by 1 person

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