Welcome to the Carrot Ranch Rodeo! This challenge is sponsored by the Carrot Ranch Literary Community at and run by lead Buckaroo, Charli Mills.

Almost everyone knows my love for syllabic poetry; especially haiku, tanka, cinquain, and more. Woo HOO! I’ve got something special wrangled up for this challenge!

For this year’s rodeo, I’ve created a special form called the Double Ennead. 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!

The Carrot Ranch Double Ennead

Carrot Ranch Rodeo
is calling all poets
round up all the word players, now's the time to ride
let's wrangle syllables
and build a poem

thirty-three syllables—
count all those sounds twice
six, five, eleven, six, five, in three stanzas
any subject will do,
fetch your pens and write

be sure to taste your words
fore you spit them out
and abide by the cowboy code of honor:
if'n you saddle up
be ready to ride

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro
Much of Cowboy Poetry is Spoken Poetry

Years ago, when I lived in Montana, I worked for a Black Angus cattle rancher and an oilman. He owed a magnificent sprawling ranch near Helena, Montana. His land totaled around 86,000 acres, including the state-leased lands. He ran about 20,000 head of Black Angus cattle in those days.

Sounds romantic, huh? No such luck. I was an administrative cowboy. I worked in the office in Great Falls. I paid the ranch and oil company’s bills, did payroll, kept the accounting books, and learned a bunch about farming and ranching! A few times a year, I visited the ranch and mingled with my fellow employees for a branding, or some other special event. I was “the city-girl,” you know.

One year, the cattle boss got married. They held the wedding at a local small town hotel. The cowboys all turned up decked out with polished boots, sparkly spurs, and clean silky scarves tied around their necks. Even their hats were brushed and clean!

Fancy Cowboy Duds

After the ceremony, they held a small reception. Music played in the background, while they served various foods and drinks, including Rocky Mountain Oysters! Of course, the city-girl had to try them!

It was a typical wedding, except for the older gentleman who sat in the corner reciting cowboy poetry. He was a local ranch hand that everybody knew—except for me and my husband. We didn’t have a clue, but we were about to find out! The man’s words held us spellbound, and we lingered, waiting for more of those smooth words to flow. Everything you look for in a poem, rhythm, pacing, and meaning were all present in the delivery. It was an amazing experience.

Cowboy poetry is all American, both culturally and in its use of rhyme and meter. Cowboy poetry is often contemporary, focusing on the lifestyle, historical events, and the work that cowboys perform on a ranch. Using this spoken poetry form, cowboy poets appear at cowboy poetry gatherings and competitions to share their verses. Subjects range from happiness to grief, including humor, and even a taste of cowboy spirituality. Central to the core of cowboy poetry is the culture of the American West featuring horses, cattle, weather phenomena, and the legendary cowboys who settled the west.

Now it’s time to craft our poetry!


* The Double Ennead features three stanzas of five lines, each with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, totaling 99 syllables, no more—no less. Count your syllables. Read the instructions carefully.

* For syllable and line count use: Your poem does not have to have a western theme. It can be in any genre, and can include any tone or mood. However, it must have a title. Punctuation and rhyming are optional and up to the poet.

* For this challenge, your poem must include five words taken from the found-poem by Cowboy Poet, Charles Badger Clark, called “The Springtime Plains.” You must use the fives words you choose in the order you found them in one of the three stanzas.

The word placement also depends on the line. Pay attention to the placement of these words in your poem.

  1. Line 1 starts with word 1
  2. Line 2 ends with word 2
  3. Line 3 starts with word 3
  4. Line 4 ends with word 4
  5. Line 5 starts with word 5

* Submit your five consecutive words from the poem “The Springtime Plains” so the judges can determine the placement of your words. Specify which stanza contains the five words.

* Make the judges remember your syllabic poem long after reading it.

“The Springtime Plains,”

by Charles Badger Clark

Heart of me, are you hearing

The drum of hoofs in the rains?

Over the Springtime plains I ride

Knee to knee with Spring

And glad as the summering sun that comes

Galloping north through the zodiac!

Heart of me, let’s forget

The plains death white and still,

When lonely love through the stillness called

Like a smothered stream that sings of Summer

Under the snow on a Winter night.

Now the frost is blown from the sky

And the plains are living again.

Lark lovers sing on the sunrise trail,

Wild horses call to me out of the noon,

Watching me pass with impish eyes,

Gray coyotes laugh in the quiet dusk

And the plains are glad all day with me.

Heart of me, all the way

My heart and the hoofs keep time,

And the wide, sweet winds from the greening world

Shout in my ears a glory song,

For nearer, nearer, mile and mile,

Over the quivering rim of the plains,

Is the valley that Spring and I love best

EXAMPLE of how to write the Double Ennead:

Line 1 starts with word 1 = wild

Line 2 ends with word 2 = horses

Line 3 starts with word 3 = call

Line 4 ends with word 4 = to

Line 5 starts with word 5 = me

Double Ennead: Five lines, with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, 33 syllables per stanza, 3 stanzas each = 99 syllables.

The five consecutive words I selected: “wild horses call to me” used in the first stanza.

“Save Our Earth”

wild mustang gallops free
patron of horsescall to the winds of change to protect the land
ancient spirits call to
me seeking relief
for our waters, skies, trees
given to us, clean
for once they disappear, vanished we will be
mankind torches the blaze
pesticides kill bees
rouse to the Mother's pain
stand up, say her name
our land is in a constant state of rebirth
giving life to all who
remain on the Earth

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

Here’s How the syllable counter counts your syllables:


* Every entry in the Double Ennead poetry challenge must be 99 syllables, no more, no less. You can have a title outside that limit. Check your syllable count using the site. Entries that aren’t 99 syllables will be disqualified.

* Enter this contest only once. If you enter more than once, only your first entry will count.

* Do your best to submit an error-free entry. Punctuation and rhyming are optional and up to the poet. It is the originality of the poem that matters most.

* If you do not receive an acknowledgment by email WITHIN 3 DAYS, contact Colleen Chesebro at

* Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. MST-Phoenix (it’s like I’m on Pacific Standard Time) on October 19, 2020.

* You may submit a “challenge” if you don’t want to enter the contest or if you wrote more than one entry. Do a link-back to this post by copying this URL into your own post.

* Refrain from posting your contest entry on your blog until after November 24. DO Not post your entry on your blog.

* Use the form below the rules to enter.

*If the WordPress form below won’t let you submit, email me at


Colleen Chesebro, Manager of the Carrot Ranch Double Ennead Poetry Contest for the Carrot Ranch Rodeo, will collect poetry, omitting names to select the top ten blind entries. Please refrain from posting your contest entry on your blog. A panel of two judges from the WordPress poetry community will select one winner, and however many honorable mentions they determine from the top ten syllabic poems.

We will conduct the blind judging by email between myself and the two judges: Jane Dougherty and Merril D. Smith.

Meet the Judges:

Jane Dougherty is a writer. She lives in the middle of a meadow where, not having the digestive capacities of a grazing animal, there’s not much for her to do but write. So, she writes, lots, all the time, short stories for hors d’oeuvres, novels for main course and poetry for dessert and snacking when she should be doing something else. The proof: for more details. Follow her on Twitter @MJDougherty33.

Merril D. Smith is a historian and poet. She’s written and edited several books on history, sexuality, and gender. She’s one of the hosts of the dVerse Poets Pub. She lives in southern New Jersey, and her poetry often reflects the beauty of the natural world around her. Her work has been published recently in Black Bough Poetry, Nightingale and Sparrow, Twist in Time, Wellington Street Review, Ekphrastic Review, and Anti-Heroin Chic. Visit Yesterday and today: Merril’s historical musings for more details. Follow her on Twitter @merril_mds.

A winner for this event will be announced on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, along with any honorable mentions.



  1. Hi Colleen
    A definite challenge for me!
    I love to read poetry and it is a scary thought — now I’m looking forward to writing a poem!
    Can you clarify please:
    The 5 words we choose from Clark’s poem should be consecutive words in one line from his poem.
    In other words– cannot choose the 5 words from different parts of his poem. Think I just answered my own query!
    Thanks — to you and Charli for the Rodeo!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, that’s right: You must use the fives words you choose in the order you found them in one of the three stanzas.

      The word placement also depends on the line. Pay attention to the placement of these words in your poem.

      Line 1 starts with word 1
      Line 2 ends with word 2
      Line 3 starts with word 3
      Line 4 ends with word 4
      Line 5 starts with word 5

      Review my examples so you can see the word placement of the five words. Good luck, friend. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

        1. “* Submit your five consecutive words from the poem “The Springtime Plains” so the judges can determine the placement of your words. Specify which stanza contains the five words.”

          Straight from the rules it’s up there. Five consecutive words.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Is this in place of the regular Tanka Tuesday? Or do we do … one for each as a challenge and for the contest? I believe I’ll save this for the morrow.. 😀
    Best to all who try any way, challenge or contest!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Okay, I’m no cowboy and not really my genre, but seeing as you’ve written excellent instruction – covering everything, it looks like a fantastic challenge, and quite challenging. Between counting syllables and stanzas and fitting story with 5 other words to be used in specific order – oye! But I am going to attempt! ❤ Great post! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My challenge piece… (in the comments here, below) isn’t Cowboy either. I’m mostly a city gal, who settled in the ‘burbs.
      The whole Cow poke thing is an additional challenge to me too! 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

        1. The trick I think is picking the five words that you can work with. I just liked impish… ’cause I’m one (A rebel at the very least!).

          Now I can only hope that my contest piece was OK too.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Yes, I got the confirmation it was received. I just always second guess myself about if I should have waited and sent the Challenge piece for the Contest. But what’s done is done. 😀

            Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi Colleen
    You may receive 2 submissions from me -the same poem because:
    I received a msg: “link has expired” the first time I hit the submit button!
    Second time – it’s in! My poem is in!
    However, my name : Saifun Hassam” got replaced by my WP name “reading journeys” !!
    It’s OK as long as you got the poem!
    Fantastic Rodeo FF; — no matter the outcome — stretched my imagination & “poetic” experience!
    Thanks very much!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Please add the challenge piece as a link to this post. I’ll do a recap of those entries next Tuesday when the challenge for the ranch is over. Thanks for answering Sue’s question. I had to dash out and get some groceries. Yikes. 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Norah Colvin and commented:
    And here’s the second contest in the 2020 Carrot Ranch Rodeo. If you like a challenge – particulalry of the poetic form – then this one’s for you! Rustle on over to Colleen’s blog for all the details.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh I found it😃 I couldn’t see it in the reader but I did when I opened in my browser.
    I liked the spoken word poetry introducing this, it made me smile.
    And the Ennead is a very enjoyable syllabic form, I enjoyed myself this Sunday morning. Hope you are well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sam, you’re an over achiever and I loved what you did with the poem. To keep the continuity of the contest we had to follow the rules. You should feel great pride in writing this poem. It was difficult and look how creative you were. 😍❤️


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