Red Lines (A Riddle Poem)


Red Lines

In nature,
they tend to zag–
gob, dribble,
snagging even flattened grass
as the animal still
flees, wounded.

Crest a bird’s
head, or rim
with worried crimson
its unsyncopated


Sometimes work
their iron will upon the ground,
ore masquerading
as mineralized sunset, blood.

Where man’s will is
for fresh blood.


Here’s a “riddle” poem with the answer in the title for Samuel Peralta’s dVerse Poets Pub Prompt. It also has exactly 55 words, minus the title, so please do tell it to the G-Man.

On the political point, I know the questions involved do pose a riddle.  I personally don’t think that they can be solved by bombing.

The above (blurry) photo is one I took of a ring-necked pheasant, which has a white line around its neck but red circles rimming its eyes.  They are among my favorite red lines.

PS – I am slated to host dVerse Poetics tomorrow so “remember” to save the date!

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29 Comments on “Red Lines (A Riddle Poem)”

  1. G-Man Says:

    Growing up, there were Millions upon Millions of Ringed Neck Pheasants. But NO Turkeys.
    Now there are very few Ring-Necks and Turkeys are like Rats!
    Loved your Riddle me This 55
    Karin, you are one of my favorites. Always a pensive, well thought out contribution. I’m one of the luckiest guys on the WEB.
    Thanks for your wonderful support, and have a Kick Ass Week-End

  2. brian miller Says:

    ah i would agree…i dont think bombing is the answer and is going to draw us into something deeper that we dont even understand right now…

    • Margaret Says:

      …I think we are damned if we do, damned if we don’t. Which side should we believe, which support? Innocent people are murdered but what good will it do if we go in now? What good will it do if we don’t. If only the United Nations worked as it should … but it never will because of politics.

  3. Waltermarks Says:

    Def no bombs, not our world. I didn’t look hard enough at the picture to see the pheasant. Thanks for a great riddle.

  4. kkkkaty1 Says:

    …the lines of blood in nature ..the parallel in our lives…great writing, K,

  5. naramalone Says:

    I agree..bombs have never proved to be the answer to anything.

    I’m not sure I worked out the answer for your riddle.

    If you want some help putting your book covers in the sidebar, I do have an answer for that. I taught all the authors at Passionate Reads and TeanStrumpets blogs how to post their covers. It’s simple code I could put in an email attachment for you to copy and paste. I think you get my email address here in the comments. Just let me know in email if you’re interested.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Hey Nara,

      the answer is the title really – Red Lines. I never was one for putting these down in any atmosphere — even with kids–

      Thanks for your kind offer. I will email separately. I am on wordpress and I know there are widgets but I do not ever seem to do them properly, or at least in a way that gets the pictures up. k.

  6. claudia Says:

    no more red blood lines.. i agree… bombing is not the solution…

  7. hedgewitch Says:

    You know this is the riddle that has been much on my mind lately, and for me it’s a riddle down in our DNA–what was designed to protect us as threatened primates so outmoded and anti-survival now when the world is a delicate timebomb around us.But I want to talk about the writing, because I really am impressed by the way you dart in and around the subject, lay two line clues out, and build your riddle like an old school mythic one any Sphinx would be proud to claim. The ambiguous images are instantly resolved when you supply the answer, yet the obvious, as always, so easy to overlook by too many, distracted by a color or a pattern laid over a pattern, a lie laid over a lie…one of my instant favorites, k.

  8. This reminds me of a stellar poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay about a hunter killing a buck and his doe standing by. The red blood in the snow…striking. I like making an effort at noticing a specific color when I’m walking along the river. It gives birth to poetry.

  9. janehewey Says:

    ore masquerading as mineralized sunset. I love the whole of this implication. the masquerade and the science of the truth. you are quite crafty with your line breaks and word choices, there is a choppy matter-of-fact way this poem comes across for me that makes it compelling to read over and again. your riddle is calling out the real blood of the situation. strong statement, especially in your concise ending.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks so much. I tend to spend a lot of time on line breaks – I don’t have any science but I think about them a lot which is odd because I don’t want people to pause particularly, except where indicated by conventional punctuation. But it’s a matter of trial and error. Here I just changed one after your comment! But thanks very much for your thoughtful and kind comment. k.

  10. Truedessa Says:

    I agree I am against bombing and this whole situation leaves me uneasy and we should all be aware that the world is changing in ways we cannot understand.

  11. Grace Says:

    That last verse just sums it up for me ~ No to war myself ~ See you tomorrow K ~

  12. Jamie Dedes Says:

    You said it – bombs don’t solve anything! I like the poem and the point. Nicely done as always, K. 🙂

  13. Not only a riddle poem, but you wind your way from nature to politics, man’s hand, and the horrific red of blood that such handiwork might entail. You transcended the challenge in this beautifully considered and well-crafted poem. Bravo!

  14. The red of blood in Syria can hardly be quenched by more blood… but I think it’s probably the most complicated situation to solve en many decades… It’s not bad against good, and there are so many parties involved…. I doubt very much it’s a good solution…

  15. Susan Chast Says:

    Whew. What art is for. Thank you. If we could only, instead of spilling,more blood, persuade the countries around Syria to back off and let the people negotiate without ANY outside interference at all–No border crossers.

  16. Mary Says:

    A really thoughtful progression in this poem. Never expected the ending when the poem began, but that’s what makes good poetry: the language of surprise.

    My ‘remembering’ poem is ready! Enjoy hosting the bar.

  17. Not much to add. I read all the comments. Your work routinely evokes dialogue as engaging as the writing. It’s hard not to marvel at talent and perspective. Thank you.

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