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Thursday, April 14, 2016

L is for Limerick

Today's A to Z letter is the letter "L." And you can't believe how happy I was to get the twelfth letter in the alphabet. Because L is for limerick, fun and easy poetic form, to read and write. Sure to put an OMG look on your face and or make you bust a gut. There are a few limericks I couldn't use as examples for their vulgarity. But if you want to read them, here's how to find it on Google. Type "nantucket," "limerick," "immortalia" and hit enter.

Now without further ado...

Limericks are a rather fun and raunchy poetic form. It appeared in early 18th century England. And became popularized by Edward Lear in the 19th century. Even William Shakespeare wrote limericks. They were also known as low or nonsense poems.

A limerick is five lines long and has a rhyme scheme of AABBA. What does that mean? Basically, lines 1-2 and 5 rhyme with each other. And lines 3-4 only rhyme with each other as well. So if the last word on the first line is ‘eight,’ then the last words on line two and five will rhyme with eight. For example, you would use words like ate, great, bait, late or even a name, Nate. Same thing applies to lines three and four. If the last word on line three is ‘like’ the ending rhyme word for the fourth line will be bike, hike, pike, etc.

Limericks also have a rhythm pattern, the heartbeat of a poem. And it goes da DUM da da DUM da da DUM, giving it a musical feel. Making lines 1-2 and 5 eight beats long, while lines 3-4 are six (sometimes five) syllables long (da da DUM da da DUM).

Most importantly, the first line of a limerick introduces the characters. And the setting of the poem.
Are you ready to try a limerick? Don’t be afraid, it’s really quite easy. Here are two examples and one I did myself back in college.:

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, “It is just as I feared!--
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!”
-Edward Lear, Book of Nonsense 1, 1845

“There once was a man from Nantucket
Who kept all his cash in a bucket.
But his daughter, named Nan,
Ran away with a man,
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.”
-Anonymous, printed in the “Princeton Tiger” in  1902

Here’s mine from college. Although I didn’t follow the poetic format, I did capture the tone and setting of the limerick. Plus it was a real hoot in class.:

There once was a nun named Hailey.
Who got tired of praying daily.
In a dress so tight,
She snuck out one night.
And came back married to man named Bailey.
-Lidy Wilks, 2002-2003 (c)

Inspired to write a limerick yet? Did you know that you can write your own "Nantucket" limerick? Your first line is "There once was a man from Nantucket." Ready to share it in the comments? And remember, although limericks are also known for being X-rated, please keep it clean.


Em-Musing said...

I've never wrote a limerick in my life, but here's one I just made up:
There once was a woman from France
Who underneath her dresses wore no pants
And all the men knew
That when the wind blew
They could catch a quick peak perchance.

Mary Aalgaard said...

I love limericks. Their rhyme and cadence are catchy. Yours is cute.
Mary at Play off the Page

Hunter S. Jones said...

Very nice!

The Cynical Sailor said...

Fun! Although, I'm familiar with limericks, I never really knew about them until today.

Cheers - Ellen | http://thecynicalsailor.blogspot.com/2016/04/l-is-for-lazy-jacks-nancy-drew.html

Lidy Wilks said...

@Em-Musing lol, that's great!
@Mary Very true. They're catchy which makes it fun to read and write.
@Hunter Thanks. :-D
@The Cynical Sailor Thanks. Always glad to spread some poetry knowledge.

Bish Denham said...

Love a good limerick! A favorite of mine is by Dixon Lanier Merritt written in 1910. (slight variations abound)

A wonderful bird is the pelican.
He bill will hold more than his belly can.
He can take in his beak,
All he needs for a week,
But I don't know how in the hell he can.

Liz A. said...

I may have to try this. Don't have time (or the headspace) to do it at this moment, however.

Susan A Eames said...

Limericks take me back to school where we were taught the form at a young age... probably because they are such fun and a great way to introduce poetry to children.

Susan A Eames from
Travel, Fiction and Photos

Darla M Sands said...

I don't feel up to writing a limerick but I can share a story. I met my first love when he lent me a book of limericks. Nice introduction, especially when I found the note he put inside. ~wink~
Awakening Dreams and Conquering Nightmares with a Pen
Happy blogging!

Ryan Carty said...

Wicked fun post. When I worked at UPS, we'd spend hours making up limericks about each other. Some of my favorite memoies are from that time.

Huntress said...

Love, absolutely worship limericks. I was a fair hand at them in my day. But alas, time is my master today and I must resist.
Did I say I love limericks?

Lidy Wilks said...

@Bish Thanks for sharing. It's quite funny and cute. Now interested in reading more of Dixon's poems.
@Liz Oh, I'd love to see what you come up with.
@Susan Yes, limericks are a great way to introduce poetry to children. Rhyming poems like limericks, and nursery rhymes, have that sing song quality that make it fun and engaging. It's what makes Mother Goose poems so timeless.
@Darla Aww, that so sweet. I wonder what he wrote on the note? ;-D
@Ryan Thanks for sharing that trip down memory lane. What a great and fun way to spend your time with each other.

Chrys Fey said...

I've never written a limerick. I'm sort of an amateurish poet. I do like to write song lyrics thought so I'll definitely have to give this a shot some time.

Sunni said...

Very interesting post in limericks.


Arti Jain said...

I love Limericks. When I was a primary school teacher, limericks and shape poems generated the most hilarity and laughter in class.
Here's one by John Irwin. It's called 'Limerick' (from the Works: my poetry bible)
A limerick's cleverly versed-
The second line rhymes with the first;
The third one is short,
The fourth's the same sort,
And the last line is often the worst.

I like your nun in a tight dress. Thank you.

Lidy Wilks said...

@Chrys do give it a try. I'm sure you'll have fun doing it.
@sunning thank you 😄
@arti the strict rhyme scheme of a Limerick and the shape poems are stimulating to the ears and eyes. It's why also works like Mother Goose nursery rhymes and Dr. Seuss remain popular.Thanks for sharing the poem. 😄

Huntress said...

There once was a man from Nebraaka
Who moved to the wilds of Alaska.
He said he'd been told
It wasn't that cold.
But is that enough, I ask ya.