Posted by: Jack Henry | June 28, 2022

Editor’s Corner: Limericks

Hello, fellow travelers! Since we had so much fun learning about Japanese wakas and haiku, let’s check out something along similar lines: the limerick. The definition of a limerick according to Merriam-Webster is:

A short, humorous five-line poem. [KC – Often written in quite bawdy and naughty language.] While the origin of this type of verse is unknown, some believe that the name limerick comes from the chorus of an 18th-century Irish soldiers’ song "Will You Come Up to Limerick?" to which were added impromptu verses. The Limerick referenced in this chorus is a port city in southwestern Ireland.

In a limerick, the first, second, and fifth line rhyme, and the third and fourth lines rhyme. The rhyming lines also have about the same number of syllables. Here is a more visual representation of the lines that rhyme and the ones that share the syllabic patterns:






Perhaps the best way to get the limerick concept and rhyme scheme across is to share a few with you!

The limerick packs laughs anatomical

Into space that is quite economical.

But the good ones I’ve seen

So seldom are clean,

And the clean ones so seldom are comical.

(by Vivian Holland)

I hope it won’t come as a shock

That Christmas I hazard to mock:

It’s the one day that we

Sit around a dead tree

Eating candy right out of a sock.

(by Richard Lederer)

There once was a lady named Ferris

Whom nothing could ever embarrass.

‘Til the bath salts one day,

in the tub where she lay,

turned out to be Plaster of Paris.

A magazine writer named Bing

Could make copy from most anything

But the copy he wrote

of a ten-dollar note

Was so good he now lives in Sing Sing.

An oyster from Kalamazoo

Confessed he was feeling quite blue.

For he said, “As a rule,

When the weather turns cool,

I invariably get in a stew.”

A wonderful bird is the pelican

His bill holds more than his belican

He can take in his beak

Enough food for a week

But I’m damned if I see how the helican.

A bather whose clothing was strewed

By breezes that left her quite nude,

Saw a man come along

And, unless I am wrong,

You expect this last line to be lewd!

A tutor who tooted a flute

Tried to teach two young tooters to toot.

Said the two to the tutor,

Is it harder to toot, or…

To tutor two tooters to toot?”

I hope you enjoyed these. I did, and as I am slimming down my collection of books on grammar, sign errors, funny comments from church newsletters, and other things I have written about in the past, I think it might be time for another contest!

Please send your great limericks to me

And make sure they are rated PG.

Any topic is fine

I am sure they will shine

And I’ll send out some presents for three.

I’ll give you a few weeks to work on these. The due date is July 15, 2022, and as usual, you can send me as many entries as you like. I will pick the three winners randomly. Good luck!

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her

Technical Editor, Advisory

Editor’s Corner Archives:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: