Would you like to write something short and nonsensical? This type of writing incorporates all genres: romance, drama, superhero, sci-fi, time travel, fantasy, and more. There are no limits. All you need is a bit of instruction and your imagination. Don your poetic hat and read on.
In other words, would you like to write limericks? These are fun poems that allow you to bend the rules of formal writing.
Edward Lear (1812-1888) was a 19th-century English artist and writer of the Limerick, which is a type of nonsensical poem that usually ends with a twist.
This British poet was hailed for his creative wit. He began his career as an artist at 15. Plagued with epilepsy and respiratory illnesses, he spent much of his time in isolation. However, he was known as a prolific writer.
The limerick inherited its name from the people who lived in Limerick, Ireland. They enjoyed Lear’s poems . . . The name limerick soon became associated with the poem (Tours, 2022).
Initially, limericks were used as
nursery rhymes, but in Ireland, they turned into brawdy versions that
spread into their many pubs and taverns.
Tours states “In 1845, Edward Lear published a book called ‘The Book of Nonsense’ in which he featured 72 limericks. This is the first history of limericks, which includes a published work” (2022).
The limerick is a 5-line poem where the last words in lines one, two, and five rhyme, while the last words in lines three and four rhyme. Stressed syllables are those with emphasis when speaking them, while unstressed words are not. For example, in the line “There once was a woman named Jill, the stressed syllables are “once,” “woman,” and “Jill.”
The limerick’s first two lines use three stressed words, the next two lines use two, and the last line can use two or three. Here’s an example.
There once was a woman named Jill,
who, although was over the hill,
put her profile on a site
and found Mr. Right!
Now they do Netflix and Chill.
Undoubtedly, if you’re the imaginative type, you’ll have a hard time stopping.
Limericks usually start with the phrase "There once was (were) . . ."
The great thing about the limerick is that it allows you to poke fun at the world.
Here are some I wrote:
There once was a girl named Cricket,
known to be exceedingly wicked.
She thought naught could harm her,
but she got instant karma.
And was forced to live in a thicket.
There once was a woman named Mack
who made a living on her back.
You don’t know what I mean,
so keep your thoughts clean.
She painted ceilings lying on a scaffold rack.
There once was a woman named Clever.
Nothing bothered her, ever.
When her friend stole her man
n’ went to a faraway land,
all she said was, “Whatever.”
There once was a gal named Rose
who wore a ring on her nose.
When you tug on the ring
and jiggle that thing,
she’ll gladly wiggle her toes.
There once was a blonde named Sprite,
who wasn’t too mentally bright.
She’s rocketing to the sun
to have blistering fun.
Calm down! She’s leaving at night.
There once was a geezer named Gus,
who was an ornery cuss.
He always blamed his wife
for the strife in his life,
always throwing her under the bus.
There once was a mime named Katuya.
Never spoke even if she knew ya.
But when she met Bruce
and he tickled her goose,
she shouted out, “Oh, hallelujah!!!”
There once were snails from the park,
who started walking in the dark.
They were afraid to fail,
afraid of going to hell.
But they finally made it to the Ark.
There once was an alien from Gork
who crashed his ship, being a dork.
He had no phone,
so he couldn’t call home.
Now he lives in New York.
There once was a ghost from Parkview,
who wanted to haunt in a zoo.
But the elephants wouldn’t hear it,
and trampled his spirit.
So now he has died anew.
Now that you’ve gotten a feel for the limerick, would you like to write some? You can make a book of them, collect some for your memoirs, or you could have a limerick birthday party for your children. Each child could bring a limerick, and the best one chosen by a designated judge will win a prize.
Would you like to write something timeless, short, unique, that has grit? Then you’re talking about a limerick.
*Images: Dream by Wombo