Saddle-Up Saloon; Colleen’s Double Ennead Challenge No. 10

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.

November 15, 2021

Welcome to November! We’re almost at the end of another year. Welcome to the Carrot Ranch Double Ennead Monthly Poetry Challenge. Every third Monday of the month, I’m here at the Saloon 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 an entire month to write your poem.

HINT: You can find this post again by typing: double ennead challenge in the search box to the right of the Carrot Ranch banner. That will bring up the most recent challenge post. ?

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. Remember, please write your poem in 99 syllables.

#Ekphrastic Inspiration

Art has a way of inspiring ekphrastic poetry. The idea is to see behind the obvious, possibly using your third eye to pull out more layers of meaning from a particular piece of art. Van Gogh is a favorite of mine because of the softness—a dreamlike imagery portrayed in his work. So, let’s use the image below to inspire this month’s double ennead poem.

Read: Perspectives in Writing Ekphrastic Poetry

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. Please use as a syllable counter.

Our Inspiration:

Image Credit: Vincent van Gogh
Painting, Oil on Canvas
Nuenen, The Netherlands: November, 1885
Kröller-Müller Museum
Otterlo, The Netherlands, Europe

Use the image above to compose your double ennead poem. Remember your poem should have 99 syllables.

My example follows:

"Farewell to Another Year"

frigid morn, Autumn kissed—
quiescent fields glow,
tempered with an aura of seasonal flow
the wheel of the year turns
another month lost 

under the sun's frail rays,
hardwood shadows fade,
while frost browned grasses sing anthems to the wind
naked tree limbs tremble,
upright to the end

death's undulations voiced 
leaves fall... orange rain,
bird requiems pay deference to the dead
another harvest done,
spring dreams fill my head

© Colleen M. Chesebro

Poetry is based on perceptions. We will all interpret the image differently. Follow your inner voice for inspiration.

  • Write a double ennead poem based on the painting 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!

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  1. robbiesinspiration

    I think this 99 syllable challenge is very stimulating, Colleen. But it is summer here and I hate winter. I think I shall write a poem to the sunflower paintings.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Yes! That’s a wonderful idea. Please do. ??????

  2. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Hello. Well, the poem I wrote for this challenge not only changed the order of the syllable lines but went over the count by six. I think that’s my preferred version but this being Carrot Ranch and all, I got it down to 99 syllables in lines of 6, 5, or 11, though again, you’ll see that liberties were taken. Thank you for the challenge.

    “Autumn Landscape”

    This one feels winter most
    humble in fall winds
    stands in craggy patience
    boldly bare, exposed
    no hubris leaves cling to rattle summer ghosts

    No shelter for the one
    stumbling ‘cross drab fields
    ‘fore winter’s snow and cold
    so much still undone
    Where’s the greening corn? What happened to the sun?

    One might burn the other for a gift of heat
    knowing nothing lasts
    denying is conceit
    One might end up lying
    at the other’s feet

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      I loved this line: “no hubris leaves cling to rattle summer ghosts…” because it represented the mood of this painting so well. I saw the figure in the field and all I could wonder was if they were glad another year of harvest was over. The scene reminded me of Michigan—green grass, mostly bare trees, and the hazy Autumn sky. Thanks so much for playing along, D. <3

    • robbiesinspiration

      I loved your poem, Ms D. You captured the spirit of this painting.

  3. Charli Mills

    So I crammed a story into 99 syllables. Does that count, Colleen? This is a fun challenge for the poet-less, too.

    Postcard found, V. van Gogh
    Never understood
    How the card had migrated beneath the fridge
    But there it was one day
    Its edge poking out

    Insurance magnet held it
    In place among art
    The kids made with neon gel pens and glitter paint
    Vincent and the kiddos
    Adorned my kitchen

    Was life flat in V’s day?
    Did life burn too bright?
    Caffeinated worries fill a quiet house
    Postcards and fridge art fade
    When the kids grow up

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      This is excellent, Charli. Poetry is sharing an experience and your poem is a poignant reminder of life after kids. Bringing old Vincent into it makes it even better! I’d love a print of Starry Night! ??

      • Charli Mills

        Might be entering a poet phase, with training wheels. But I’m surrounded by so many talented Poets to find inspiration! Glad a story worked.

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        And this is why haibun and tanka prose poetry is so valuable to writers. You can share stories punctuated by bits of syllabic verse (haiku or tanka) to enhance the meaning of the story. The double ennead is perfect for story poetry. There’s a lot of meaning in those 99 syllables you wrote. <3

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Time to ‘fess
      up that you
      are a poet too.

      A poignant piece, Poetess.
      Write on.

      (And Kid says, initially
      Your name is barked
      up on the Poet Tree)

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Hmmm. What does this poetically told story look like as a flash? Who gets it? Max’s dad? Her mom? Grandmother?

    • robbiesinspiration

      Oh, Charli, this is beautiful but tinged with sadness too.

    • robbiesinspiration

      Hi Charli, I popped back in to tell you that ballad’s are story poems or poems that tell stories and they have been about for centuries.

  4. denmaniacs4

    Coleen, if I don’t get to it early, I won’t get to it…

    The Yellowing Morn

    Ah, the yellowing morn,
    A skeletal tree,
    crooked to the sun, twisted against the sky,
    a contorted heartbreak,
    As the summer ends.

    And there, in the distance,
    a hungry vulture
    waiting in the wings, surveying the landscape,
    preparing for attack,
    but defensive prone.

    Withered, the yellowed morn,
    the shards of parched sun,
    against the primeval wood, the land corrupted,
    earth, dissipated, lost,
    bone-dried cries of death.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      This is excellent imagery, Bill. You definitely captured the essence of this painting. Thanks for hopping on. ??

  5. Jules

    OK this is a triple prompted piece:

    Import Important
    (99 word Double Ennead Ekphrastic Acrostic
    of the split words of Import Important)

    I empoy the rake to
    manage the fall leaves
    piling them high at the curb for picking up
    or some are for my trees
    raked round their bases

    tender protection for
    inclement weather
    might damage the roots that are near the surface
    perhaps when snow piles high
    over the back yard…

    rest well with slow sap, my
    trees that shed their leaves
    and know that I look for budding health come spring
    now though brace for winter;
    time for dreamings’ nigh

    © JP/dh

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      This is beautiful, Jules! The year cycles on to embrace the dying time of year. <3

    • Jules

      Oh… I had to add a verse to make it comply with the Carrot ranch prompt… but it is good this way too. 😀

  6. WildChild47

    I really love your double ennead Colleen – it’s really captivating and a true celebration and mourning of Autumn, not only the physical aspects, but speaking metaphorically as well. Truly lovely – I was swept up in the embrace of your words. 🙂

    I particularly was arrested by this: under the sun’s frail rays,
    hardwood shadows fade,
    while frost browned grasses sing anthems to the wind –

    crisply scintillating!

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Thanks, Pat. It the sound of wind through the grasses that prompted the entire piece. Thanks so much. <3

      • WildChild47

        yes, the wind …. sings so many songs and tunes, always something to sip and listen for …. if not being rocked off one’s feet!

  7. Aruna Sharma

    Most beautiful bog!!most inspirational,my dear!! I will try the poem on autumn if i can.plz wait for me.thanks for inspiring?.Robiesinspiration told me about your blog.she is too much brilliat poet.????????

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Thank you. Charli Mills is the head honcho of this blog. I’m a guest writer here but we have fun writing flash fiction and poetry. <3


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