Riddle IV

I’m everywhere and nowhere, constantly
In motion. There’s an air of mystery
About me; where I come from, where I’m bound;
They say that if you whistle, I’ll be found,
But though I may be harnessed, ridden, named
And farmed (or even trapped) I shan’t be tamed.
I will submit to touch and taste and smell;
You’ll hear me, too, but you will never tell
My whereabouts by looking; all you’ll see
Is where I pass, by weathercock or tree.
When I am One you’ll hardly know I’m there;
But when I’m Twelve, and fully grown, I’ll tear
The slates from roofs, bring trees down in the wood;
Yet I’ll be doing someone, somewhere good;
For when I have expended all my power
I’ll waft a seed or pollinate a flower.
I’m fickle, always rushing high to low,
My soft caress becomes a sudden blow.
Sometimes I’ll turn against you; in your face
I’ll slow your bicycle to walking-pace
And force your yacht or sailing ship to tack:
But you’ll be flying with me at your back.


Maybe too easy. But it’s been a tough day.


13 thoughts on “Riddle IV

  1. Never mind easy Nick! This is my kind of riddle!! I feel intelligent this time because I didn’t have to cheat – and that’s good for my self esteem!! LOL :):)

    Not wishing a hard life on you or anything, but you can have more tough days for me!!!!:):)

    Cleverly done as ever!

    I am wondering if your daughter enjoys your riddles or does she just say “Oh, dad” ! 🙂

    Christine x

    • My daughter says ‘Oh Dad…’ (accompanied by exasperated sighs and eyes rolling heavenward) about virtually everything I say/do/write/wear/think these days! ‘You’re SOOOOOO embarrassing’ is a constant refrain, and our car has already been officially dubbed a ‘loser cruiser’. And she’s only 10. The next few years are going to be fun…! At least I have YOU to say nice things about me 🙂 ! N.x

  2. I know what it is! I know what it is ! lol 🙂

    Hi Nick, wonderful riddle 🙂 At the moment we have 5-8 (!) the man on the tv is saying at this very moment. Must be rocky at sea 🙂

    Ina xx

    • Hi Charles – and thank you for setting me a riddle, too! I guessed the Santa Ana was a wind, but had to Google it to make sure…it sounds like a hot version of the Mistral in France, which is a major influence on both the local climate and temperament. I’m not sure if it’s still the case, but it used to be that those accused of ‘crimes of passion’ could use the fact that the Mistral was blowing at the time as a legitimate defence! Only in France…I’m having fun writing them; glad you’re enjoying reading them. N.

  3. And when I blow on Whitby summer’s day
    the herring gulls come out and with me play.

    I will be going to Whitby next week. Ina is coming there for a holiday and I will drive over so that we can meet for a coffee in the cafe at the end of the pier.

    The prospect excites me.

    Hope you are having a better day today Nick

    Take care


    • How lovely for you – do give her my love! And today is a better day, thank you; the Orchestra reconvened last night after a week’s half-term break, and after a couple of hours’ intensive flute-playing, all’s right with the world again. The power of the wind to do good! N.

  4. Nick, this is as delightful as usual. Ethel’s last poem said a deep truth–that is poetry the journey is what counts, not living forever. Otherwise few of us would write poetry so constantly throughout our lifetimes. But I have been wondering about wordpress and if it has any role to play in literature. There are certainly a few poets that are absolutely first rate under any criteria I know about. You’re one of them, David, Ethel, Anna Mark, Betty Hayes Albright and so many like Ina and John Stevens. This is not meant to be even a partial list, but this poem, its cleverness, reminded me of that stream of thought. You deserve to be ranked with the top poets of today even if you are publishing primarily on wordpress and in the blogging world. Still, the politics of poetry with its schools and passions does not even know that poets like you exist. Does the poetry of high quality swim upstream to notice over time?
    I guess it doesn’t really matter, but it is a question your riddle riddled me. Tom

    • Hear, hear, to that.
      I would not think it right if your works remained only within the boundaries of wordpress blog. I think that your dedication and passion deserve every success.

      From your admirer, Ayano.

      • Oh Ayano, I don’t know what to say (and that doesn’t happen very often!) I would love to see my work in print one day, but even if it never happens, it’s reward enough to know that I have admirers like you. Thank you so much. N.

    • Tom – thank you, as always, for a humbling yet incredibly affirming response. I guess, like a lot of people, I started blogging in the hope (tempered with a healthy slug of realism) that I might be ‘discovered’ by a publisher; needless to say it hasn’t happened yet! Quite how one goes about getting poetry into print is, to my mind, more than a riddle – to quote Churchill, it’s a ‘riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma’! As you say, the ‘poetry world’ is a highly politicised, chicken-and-egg kinda place, where it seems that the only people who get published and win prizes are those who’ve been published and won prizes – and/or teach Masters courses in Creative Writing. But for now, I’m content that you enjoy my work, and rank me alongside people whose writing I really respect and admire. Bless you, my friend. N.

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