Saddle Up Saloon; Colleen’s Double Ennead Challenge No. 2

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 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.

March 15, 2021

Happy March! Welcome to the Carrot Ranch Double Ennead Monthly Poetry Challenge. Every third Monday of the month, I’ll be here at Carrot Ranch with another challenge to help get your poetic juices flowing. Each month, we will explore a different theme or image to inspire our poetry. Take your time, there’s no hurry! You have a month to write your poem.

Check out the poems from last month HERE.

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. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

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 as a syllable counter. There is also, which is another favorite because you get access to synonyms as you’re composing.

Our Inspiration: “SPRING”

This month, let’s work with the theme of spring. Write your poetry inspired by an image, a photograph, the view outside your window, another piece of poetry like found poetry, or even a song. It’s up to you! Share whatever inspired you to write your poem.

For example, here is my inspiration piece below:

Corinne Bailey Rae – “Put Your Records On”

Three little birds sat on my window
And they told me I don't need to worry
Summer came like cinnamon
So sweet
Little girls double-dutch on the concrete

Maybe sometimes we've got it wrong, but it's alright
The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same
Oh, don't you hesitate

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams
Just go ahead, let your hair down

You're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow

Blue as the sky, sunburnt and lonely
Sipping tea in a bar by the roadside
(Just relax, just relax)
Don't you let those other boys fool you
Got to love that afro hair do

Maybe sometimes we feel afraid, but it's alright
The more you stay the same, the more they seem to change
Don't you think it's strange?

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams
Just go ahead, let your hair down

You're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow

'Twas more than I could take, pity for pity's sake
Some nights kept me awake, I thought that I was stronger
When you gonna realise, that you don't even have to try any longer?
Do what you want to

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams
Just go ahead, let your hair down

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams
Just go ahead, let your hair down

Oh, you're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow

“Fly Free”

a trio of sparrows
flit from branch to branch
my window, an open stage to their slow dance
chasing the winter blues
waiting for the thaw

life's cruel winds dictate
situations change—
maybe I've got it all wrong, but it's alright
it's time to chase my dreams 
nothing stays the same

azure skies and sunshine
are coming my way
It's time to find myself, to fly free on wings,
filled with inspiration
and new beginnings

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

Poetry is based on your perceptions. This song makes me want to dance under a starry spring night! I used the song as a metaphor for “spring” and new beginnings. Follow your inner voice for inspiration.

  • Write a double ennead poem based on the theme of spring. Your inspiration can come from whatever source inspires you.
  • 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! I’ll share a roundup of all of your poetry on the Saturday before the next Double Ennead challenge.

Now have fun and write some double ennead poetry inspired by spring!

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  1. Charli Mills

    This is so much fun, Colleen! Poetry is the ability to translate what the brain experiences in an image into words. Even epic novelists need poetic skills at the language level. I love that you’ve gifted Carrot Ranch with its own style of 99-syllables! That looks like an escaped chubby unicorn from headquarters!

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      LOL! I wondered if you’d miss our unicorn for a bit of fun? Spring is bursting out all around the lower mitten. I love the 99 syllable poetry. It’s longer than most syllabic poetry, so there’s more room for creativity. A plus is that it’s our form. We can add some end rhyme schemes, or find our own personal rhythm with assonance. It’s all great fun. I’ll send the unicorn ???? home now. ????

      • Charli Mills

        I don’t blame the Headquarters Unicorn for seeking spring! 😉

        That’s so true! The 99-word story is versatile because it’s “long enough” to all kinds of craft and story variations. I can see the Ranch Ennead being a syllabic draft horse, too.

        Thanks for sending home the Unicorn! 😀

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        Thanks, Charli. D.’s poem shows the versatility with the added rhyme schemes. Leaving the form open for creativity really makes a difference. ??

  2. robertawrites235681907

    Fantastic, Colleen. Sharing to our poetry group on FB.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Thanks so much, Robbie. I appreciate you. ??

  3. Norah

    A fine challenge to spring into, Colleen. It will get the creative juices flowing.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Yay, Norah. Although, our spring is your autumn, right? You should write about that season, if you’d like. Or Spring can be a metaphor for something else. ??

      • Norah

        I’ll put it on my list, but I make no promises. 🙂

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        No worries. This is meant to be inspirational. Sometimes the muse just won’t play. ??

      • Norah

        Thanks, Colleen. 🙂

  4. Ritu

    Beautiful poem, Sis ????

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Thanks. I know you love music. It’s a great way to find inspiration for your poems. ??

      • Ritu

        Absolutely, Sis ????

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Stunning word craft, Doug! I love “…the Thor of thaw…” Brilliant!

  5. Jules


    I did a classic boo-boo. First I did the wrong form, then I didn’t even look at the instructions for inspiration… So now I’ve got two pieces that have nothing to do with the theme of spring… other than sort of very loosely related to spring cleaning… “I’m a baaad girl,” she said sheepishly…

    I’ll have to think about what I’m gonna do now!! Unless I get a free pass?
    I might have to come back later in the day…

    While we did have a nice day or two winter’s back this morning with temps at almost 9am still below freezing! ~ brrr ~Jules

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Jules, it inspired you to write poetry… there’s nothing wrong with spring cleaning! I say go with it. Thanks for joining in! Add your links, friend. <3

      • Jules


      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        Thanks, Jules. I’ll be over there soon. Gotta tend to a sick hubby. ??

      • Jules

        No rush… Hubby comes first!!

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Beautiful imagery! I learned some new words from this piece. Bravo! <3

  6. Colleen M. Chesebro

    Reblogged this on Colleen M. Chesebro and commented:

    Here’s the double ennead challenge now up at the Saloon on Carrot Please link your poetry to the challenge post. Have fun and write about spring!

  7. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    There’s nothing so forlorn yet ernest looking as a wild turkey this time of year. Three days ago it was in the fifties, today we may see a high of fourteen. But the snow stopped!

    Turkeys scratch, hunger led
    still sharp, winter’s edge,
    where frost yet clings, in the face of coming spring
    Sun days, trees pulse with sap
    icy winds end that;

    swirling squalls, freezing cold
    reigning season, bold
    winter rages defiant, violent bursts
    Tireless sun adamant;
    winter, worn, relents;

    gritty wet, grainy snow
    muddy patches show
    at last warmth sustained; emerging shoots, ground gained
    Turkeys scratch, hunger led
    spring’s sprung; they’ll be fed

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      What a great introduction to spring, D. I love the end rhymes, and they made your syllables come alive! I could feel the biting wind and even those turkeys! You know, I’d never seen a wild turkey until a few years ago when we lived in Colorado. Those are some big birds! Last week we had days here in Michigan in the 60’s and 70’s. Today, we can barely reach 33. Such is spring. Thanks for being part of this. It means a lot. <3

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Spring comes and goes around here. There’s ice in my bath tub! No bubble bath for me today. The cold wind persuaded me to work at this ennead rather than outdoor distractions.
        I am enjoying the Saloon very much when you or Chel are the adults in charge! I love what you’ve done with the place!

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        LOL! I know what you mean about the wind. It’s biting here too! Stay warm and toasty. Thanks, D. that means a lot. <3

  8. Jules

    Sort of related to ‘Spring Cleaning”

    A Different Spring Cleaning?
    (Airing Out the Attic)

    Sprang quickly at the dawn
    In winter’s last chill ~
    They began stripping the old roofs’ shingles quick
    Prepping for more repairs;
    One; Fan removal

    Two; some minor chimney
    Pointing and three one
    Replacement skylight; bangs and squeaks assault ears
    I may sneak out to shop
    For some quiet time

    And while they’re up there
    Hubby’s got a plan
    To add insulation in the attic eaves
    Where once heat was leaking ~
    Happy when all’s done!


    Plus If you do go to the link here there is a bonus Diatelle
    Because I wrote that first… And there’s also some definitions there as well.
    A Different Spring Cleaning? & Mahlon’s Crew: Two (bonus Diatelle at post)

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      I love it, Jules! Nothing feels like spring without sprucing up the house and brushing away the cobwebs… or fixing the roof! I’m off to read your diatelle. <3

      • -Eugenia

        My pleasure, Colleen!

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Franci, your flower imagery captures the true essence of spring! <3

      • -Eugenia

        Thank you so much, Colleen!

  9. Writing to Freedom

    Nice poem and a new form to me Colleen. Spring is a wonderful theme and time of year. I feel the excitement!

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Thanks. I created this 99 syllable form for the ranch last autumn for the 2020 rodeo. Other than the syllable count, there are no rules. It sounds great with a rhyme scheme too! ??

  10. denmaniacs4

    It is a brilliant day, bright, bit of a nip in the air. Snow hanging low across the Sound…

  11. Mr. Ohh's Sideways View

    This is such a fun challenge but my blog is not the type that I can put the poem up on. So if you don’t mind I will leave my Double Ennead here. I hope you enjoy my spring poem.

    I put out the bird seed
    But the Squirrels come
    I am mad as I refill the feeder again
    I see one lovely finch
    It makes me happy

    The squirrels soon comeback
    Breaking the feeder
    I must purchase a new squirrel proof feeder
    I fill it with more seed
    Darn tree rats eat it

    My feeder stopped nothing
    One bird have I seen
    Returning to the store I buy something else
    I sit with my new gun
    And wait for squirrels

    Laughter can move mountains

  12. Michael Todd

    I was sent here by my good friend Eugenia.

    The Swamp (Double Ennead for Donna)

    Springtime is now in bloom.
    Down in Jacksonville,
    Buttonwood, black gum, cypress on full display,
    with moss hanging, heirloom.
    (Land of no good will.)

    Sunlight settles, diffused.
    Hear claws scrape on bark;
    be they lizards on the prowl, or a swamp owl,
    no missed step is excused.
    (Don’t be caught past dark.)

    This ain’t no tourist trap;
    best be passing through.
    Gator rules roost, prehistoric land seduced.
    Is this place on a map?
    (Being bait just won’t do.)

    Michael Todd (2021)

    Written for Donna, who often hosted snakes in her garage,
    (because snakes are sneaky),so she relocated, to the beach.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      What an excellent depiction of north Florida! I lived in Ft. Walton Beach and Pensacola. You captured the natural surroundings perfectly! ??

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Thank you. I’ll be over to check it out. ??

  13. RuthScribbles

    Is there a deadline for this?

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      You have until April 17th. The new challenge will post on Monday, April 19th. <3

      • RuthScribbles

        Ok great! I’m working on tanka Tuesday.

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        Excellent! I’m book editing so off in poetry LaLa-land. ??

  14. suespitulnik

    A little late to the table, but fun all the same. Thanks Colleen.

    Spring On the Farm

    Notice the outside temp
    Turn off the furnace
    Lift up the windows, let the fresh air blow through
    Hear the geese honking by
    Snowbanks are all but gone

    The fat sheep are lambing
    Kid goats bound about
    Spindly leg foals stick close to their mama’s side
    Pollywogs will soon be
    Swimming in the pond

    The robins have returned
    Goldfinches yellow
    The rooster struts around his harem of hens
    The calves bleat loneliness
    Tis spring on the farm

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      This is a fabulous reminder of how lovely spring is in the country! I have the best mind image of those spindly legged foals! (We have a month to play with this form, Sue). So glad you jumped in to celebrate spring. ??

  15. Colleen M. Chesebro

    And… your MMA poetry record is intact. Bravo on a great poem. <3


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