Mona Voelkel

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Writer’s Workshop: Writing a Riddle Poem (Update)

A well-crafted poem can inspire great writing! Grab a pencil an get ready to respond to the writing prompts. By the end, you will have a new poem!

Start by reading this poem aloud:

The Wind
By James Reeves

I can see through a doorway without any key
And strip the leaves from the greak oak tree.

I can drive storm-clouds and shake tall towers,
Or steal through a garden and not wake the flowers.

Seas I can move and ships I can sink;
I can carry a house-top or the scent of a pink.

When I am angry I can rave and riot;
And when I am spent, I lie quiet as quiet.

Now, reread the poem several times and annotate by marking what you notice, think, and wonder. (See/Think/Wonder Visible Thinking Strategy)

After I annotate my hard copy, I like to organize my thoughts into a table. You can make a similar table to organize your thoughts.

Writing Prompt: Write a poem about a person, place or thing of your choosing. Use the name of your person, place or thing as the title of your poem. Do not include the name of the person, place or thing in the body of your poem.

This is the fun part! There are no other rules for how to write your poem. You make all the decisions.

My Decisions:

I wanted to write about an endangered animal so I chose “The Rhino” as my title and subject.
I wanted to write in rhyming couplets and instead of lyrical, I wanted to write a humorous poem for Grades 1-5.
I wanted to use some of the craft inspirations from this poem, like repetition, strong verbs and beautifully cadenced lines.

Writing Prompt: What do you decide about how your poem will go? Jot down your ideas

My Writing Process:

I researched rhinos and made notes on the most interesting facts.
On my yellow writing pad, I just started free writing about rhinos.
I made note of interesting words and phrases and then tried to expand into couplets
I played around until I came up with a workable draft and then revised many times.

My Third Draft

The Rhino

I can roll in the mud — it’s my happy place,
and wallowing keeps the sun off my face.

Hills I can climb and grass I can graze;
I can feed tickbirds for days upon days.

I can tell who’s around me by smelling their poo
but poor eyesight means it’s hard to see you.

When I am angry, I so terrify
and when I am not, I’m shyer than shy.

I want to do a series of these riddle poems (I could cover the title and ask students to guess the subject) on endangered animals for National Poetry Month.


Create your own poem inspired by The Wind by James Reeves. If you would like to share, I would LOVE to see your creations below or email to

Would you like to see other Writer’s Workshop-inspired posts? 

Thank you, James Reeves, for your beautiful poem. You have passed but your work lives on.

4 Responses

  1. Really loved your thought process and the Rhino Riddle.
    So much fun. I had many great teachers but not exercises like this which would have been so fun and good for my mind. Learning is much more fun when it is fun!!!

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