Thursday, April 30, 2020 - 10:15 AM

Riddle Me This

Mary Dalton

In wry lines I muster
Dreams, lies, enigmas.
Though some scorn me as cipher,
I’m full of grand notions.
I’m bursting to tell – 
But I’m mute till you come to me.

April is National Poetry Month, and as it comes to a close, we asked Poet Laureate Mary Dalton to share with the City some of her favourite riddles. These can be found on the City's At Home Resources page.

“I’m Bursting to Tell,” containing 25 riddles, is one of several riddle series she has created, found in Red Ledger, published by Vehicule Press of Montreal. Two other riddling series, "Between You" and "Weather and Waste Ground", have been published as chapbooks by Running the Goat Books.

"Riddles are a form of interactive poetry—the reader completes the poem by guessing the object or phenomenon which is given voice in the poem," says Mary.

"They seem a particularly apt form for now, as we look for connection in all the ways we safely can," she explains. "The riddle has long been a vital element of  Newfoundland culture; the form powerfully evokes past times of coming together, when, with the hard work of fishing and farming done, people beguiled the winter season with stories and songs and riddles."

If you're looking for the answers to the riddles, you won't find them. Mary explains:

"To have answers available in print form is to potentially undermine the experience of the poem for future readers. I hope you understand. Without a prospect of answers, the readers may clip them and share them with others, who may well guess the answers or carry them on to others. That way the riddles keep on giving, just as they did traditionally."

PROMOTION AND PRIZES
...Well, Mary may not want us to share the answers online, but if you're dying to know if you've figured them out, send your answers to communications@stjohns.ca and we will tell you! Also, by responding, you will be entered to win a copy of The Breakwater Book of Contemporary Newfoundland Poetry. 

Feel creative? Write and send us a riddle we can share with the residents of St. John's and you will also be entered to win a copy of the poetry collection. 

(Random draw for both books: May 14, 2020)