Saddle Up Saloon; Colleen’s Double Ennead Challenge

Written by Colleen Chesebro

An avid reader, Colleen M. Chesebro rekindled her love of writing poetry after years spent working in the accounting industry. These days, she loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. In addition to poetry books, Chesebro’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of her writing community on TankaTuesday.com by organizing and sponsoring a weekly syllabic poetry challenge, called #TankaTuesday, where participants experiment with traditional and current forms of Japanese and American syllabic poetry. Join us for #TankaTuesday! Chesebro is an assistant editor of The Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology & Gitty Up Press, a micro-press founded by Charli Mills and Carrot Ranch. In January 2022, Colleen founded Unicorn Cats Publishing Services to assist poets and authors in creating eBooks and print books for publication. In addition, she creates affordable book covers for Kindle and print books. Chesebro lives in the house of her dreams in mid-Michigan surrounded by the Great Lakes with her husband and two (unicorn) cats, Chloe & Sophie.

February 15, 2021

Welcome to the Saloon and the first Double Ennead Monthly Poetry Challenge. Every third Monday of the month, I’ll be over here at Carrot Ranch with another double ennead challenge. Each month, we will explore a different theme or image to inspire our poetry. I hope to see you in the Saloon!

The word Ennead means nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables!

The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet.

Why write poetry?

When a writer embraces the ability to convey complex images and emotions in just a few lines, they have learned to strengthen their writing. In the same way, flash fiction helps us hone in on the words to tell our story, syllabic poetry does much the same by forcing us to find the best word and meaning. This brevity of words leads to more concise writing.

Syllabic verse is any kind of poetry defined by the number of syllables in each line. In English, syllables must have a vowel sound. For example, the word “apple” has two vowel sounds, which divide it into the syllables “ap” and “ple.” Depending on our accent, we pronounce some words with different accents on the syllables. For example, the word “fire” and “poem” can be read with either one or two vowel sounds.

Always check your syllables with a syllable counter when composing and writing syllabic poetry. The pronunciation of words is very important to conveying a meaning in your poems. You can use sodacoffee.com as a syllable counter. There is also howmanysyllables.com, which is my favorite because you get access to synonyms as you’re composing.

Our Inspiration:

Credit: https://pixabay.com/users/dreamyart

Use the image above to compose your double ennead poem. Remember to count your syllables.

My example follows:

rosy morn, winter kissed—
fields incandescent
bursting with the glory of a brand new day
the wheel of the year turns
another month gone

From the sun's fiery glow
lilac shadows fade
while frost browned grasses sing anthems to the wind
wild black-headed geese soar
far away from home

Beneath the frosty rime
roots tremble with growth,
awaiting the thaw and the warm rains to come
seeds loiter in the depths
dreaming of the spring

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

Poetry is based on your perceptions. While I described what I saw in the image, you might feel and interpret the image differently. Follow your inner voice for inspiration.

  • Write a double ennead poem based on the image above.
  • Post it on your blog.
  • Include a link back to this challenge in your post. (copy the https:// address of this post into your post).
  • Read and comment on your fellow poet’s work. Feedback from other poets is how we grow our poetry writing craft.
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
  • I’ll visit, comment, and share your poetry on social media!

Now have fun and write some poetry!

To See What You Create!

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60 Comments

  1. Cindy Georgakas

    love this post and the syllable counter and great info you imparted Colleen.
    Thank you????

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      You’re so welcome. I hope you will join in. The new challenge posts on Monday. 😀

      • Cindy Georgakas

        You’re so welcome Colleen.
        That’s soooo sweet of you to ask. I’d love to but I think my followers would get sick of me posting twice in a day. Thanks though. ????

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        LOL! You’re always welcome, Cindy. No pressure ??????

      • Cindy Georgakas

        I will remember that Colleen, so much appreciated! ????????

  2. Colleen M. Chesebro

    Reblogged this on Colleen M. Chesebro and commented:

    Who’s ready to join in the Carrot Ranch Double Ennead challenge? The form is 99 syllables, no more, no less!

  3. RuthScribbles

    I will try!!

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Yay. Thank you. It’s good practice. I hope the form catches on. 😀

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Thanks, Bill. I check it out now.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      I couldn’t find the post, Bill. 🙁

    • denmaniacs4

      My WordPress skills have been compromised by change…here goes another shot… http://engleson.ca/?p=204381

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        I was able to read it this time. Your imagery captured the essence of this image, Bill. You make the photo come alive. Thanks for joining in.

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        I’ve had many issues with WP the last few days myself. <3

      • Doug Jacquier

        Top shelf work, Bill. Still savouring its imagery.

  4. Jules

    Colleen – I’ll be back to read your verse after I’ve written mine <3

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Thanks, Jules. You’re the best. <3

  5. Jules

    I enjoyed your version Colleen… I stuffed in four prompts and if you go to the link you will find other images too!

    Changing Fate’s Strings

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Oh, that’s exciting. I love when you incorporate a bunch of prompts. You’re amazing! <3

  6. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Reblogged this on ShiftnShake and commented:

    It’s the third Monday of the month, so you know what that means. Colleen Chesebro is hosting a syllabic poetry challenge out of the Saddle Up Saloon! See what she’s up to and try your hand at the Double Ennead, a form Colleen dreamed up just for Carrot Ranch.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Thanks for sharing, D. You’re the best. <3

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        No, you are.
        Enjoy the space and look out for chapfaeries.

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        Ha! I’ve already had one of those buggers around! One zap of my witty word-witch humor and he was gone. LOL! 😀

  7. SueSpitulnik

    Hi Colleen,

    Thanks for the interesting challenge. I enjoy stretching the envelope and strict guidelines help me get started.
    My offering is affected by the recent loss of my sister. Sorry it’s a downer.

    https://susansleggs.com/2021/02/15/remembering-alone/

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Poetry is the place to share your feelings. I’m so sorry for your loss, Sue. My heart hurts for you. ??

    • Doug Jacquier

      Well-crafted verse, like yours in this case, can only be a tribute to your sister, not a downer at all. Well done. I’m sorry to hear of your loss.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      LOL, Doug! You certainly captured the essence of this image in your poem. Do you like the rhythm of this form?

      • Doug Jacquier

        Thanks, Colleen. I’m happy to stretch a little to at least experiment with structured formats but it’s not my preferred style.

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        I appreciate your opinion. I find great writing value in syllabic poetry. Some feel it’s restrictive. I like the challenge of finding the perfect word. Thanks for being such a good sport.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Spectacular imagery, Franci. I think the magic in this image spoke to you. <3

      • -Eugenia

        Thank you, Colleen. Oh, yes I felt the magic! It was a wonderful image to write about. ??

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        That’s wonderful! Thanks so much and I’m glad you had fun. <3

  8. H.R.R. Gorman

    Thanks for posting this! It’ll definitely help those trying to write poetry for the challenges. 🙂

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Excellent! Great practice for us all. I’m thrilled to see all the amazing poetry. <3

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      You’re welcome, Myrna. Glad you enjoyed. <3

  9. ellenbest24

    I love ‘seeds loiter in the depth’s.’ Alas the form is not for me, but I see the fun you inspire so hope many join in.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Well, thanks for your lovely comment, Ellen. This syllabic poetry is like putting together a puzzle. You have to find the right word with the perfect syllable count to craft your magical poetry. The three stanzas are perfect for storytelling, as you can see from some of the submissions above. Maybe one day you’ll give it a try. <3

      • ellenbest24

        Someone else can do it so much better. This girl concedes gracefully.

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        I appreciate you reading and enjoying the poetry, Ellen. <3

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        Ruth, this is a lovely double ennead. I like how the magical aspects of the image came through into your poetry. Sorry for the late reply. I’ve had WP issues again. After you said you had problems, I found I did too! It’s frustrating. I hope you got fixed. <3

  10. Norah

    I ran out of time to join in with this one, Colleen, but I enjoyed the photo and your double ennead in response to it. Hopefully, I’ll get to join in a future challenge.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      No worries, Norah. I would say that we have a month between challenges so if you want to join in there is still time. I’ll make sure and clarify that next month. ????

      • Norah

        Okay. Thanks, Colleen. I’ll see how I go. 🙂

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        Do what works for you. You’re always a lovely supporter, and I appreciate you. <3

      • Norah

        Thank you, Colleen. Likewise. 🙂

  11. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Looks like you’ve roped in some poets! I kind of disappeared, took full advantage of a week off from the Saloon, but glad to see such a good crowd. That’s a good point, that there is a month to play. (So I will postpone getting out and about to read the responses)

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Thanks, D. I’ll do a recap on colleenchesebro.com before the next challenge at the Saloon. I think that will help showcase the poetry and the poets. ??????

  12. Sherri Matthews

    Hi Colleen, what a wonderful challenge and love your poem. I haven’t written any poetry in some time, especially since undertaking my memoir. I really hope to give this a go in the near future 🙂 >3

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Wow… that would be wonderful. Thanks so much, Sherri. This form has proven to be a lot of fun! I hope you pop in when you can. <3

      • Sherri Matthews

        I really do look forward to it, Colleen, once things ease up, I’ll be there! <3

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        Perfect. We will definitely have fun! <3

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