What is it, what is it, that can't die,
but is not immortal, cannot live,
but is not dead, can live in the shadows,
but when cast in the light, dies of shame,
must be left alone,
but sometimes is needed to survive?

  • $\begingroup$ It reminds me of Gollum's third riddle. $\endgroup$
    – Glorfindel
    Jan 1 '17 at 20:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Has a correct answer been given? If so, please click the checkmark to Accept it. If not, you may want to give some feedback on the answers attempted thus far, and/or offer a hint, as forward progress seems to have stopped. $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Jan 14 '17 at 7:03

I'm thinking it's

a lie.

What is it, what is it, that cannot die

Some lies can persist for an extremely long time and can be very difficult to debunk.

but is not immortal, cannot live

Lies can still be debunked, and of course they're not living beings and cannot be said to be alive

but is not dead, can live in the shadows

You can still tell a lie even if it's known to be a lie. People who operate "in the shadows" (spies, criminals etc.) will generally lie quite a lot.

but when cast in the light, dies of shame

When the truth is "brought to light", so to speak, a lie dies, and the person who told it is left feeling shameful

must be left alone

If you leave something alone you can be said to "let it lie"

but sometimes is needed to survive?

Sometimes, we do need to lie to in our daily lives (alternately, could mean "lying down", i.e. when asleep)

Bonus notes that I forgot to include originally:

"Lie" rhymes with die, the first line of the poem. Also, this puzzle's original name was "A somewhat tricky puzzle". What's "somewhat of a trick"? A lie.

  • $\begingroup$ I congratulate you for getting this far, but there is one thing still left intact. $\endgroup$
    – Iry-Hor
    Jan 14 '17 at 20:20
  • $\begingroup$ I can't think what there might be that I would have missed here... $\endgroup$
    – F1Krazy
    Jan 15 '17 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Iry-Hor If the answer is right except for missing the intended meaning of one of the hints, it's customary to say both that the answer is right and to let the answerer know which piece(s) to correct. If the answer itself is wrong, it's customary to say so. Your comment is very ambiguous and, as the provided answer appears to be fully applicable and to explain its applicability to all parts of the riddle, it's only fair to give relevant information for what part of the answer makes it not fit. $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Jan 15 '17 at 23:19
  • $\begingroup$ @F1Krazy The answer is, unfortunately, wrong. A natural property of this riddle is to make things "appear" to be, my previous comment contains a hint, but i will give you another one. You should look for the holy mountain. $\endgroup$
    – Iry-Hor
    Jan 16 '17 at 0:50

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