Writing Limericks

It’s amazing what pops into your head.   For some reason I’ve been thinking about Limericks. 
What’s a Limerick?  Well, it’s like this:   




A humorous, frequently bawdy, verse of three long and two short lines rhyming aabba, popularized by Edward Lear.

 I have run into some that aren’t bawdy (most of mine) but the form does lend itself to a certain level of – shall I say? – friskiness.

I had quite a run of limericks for a while.  A number of us cranked them out.  They are rather like knee-jerks.  With the right stimulus, you can put them out quickly.  As an example, a perfectly charming lady named Pat, who was a senior administrator one place I worked, was quite taken by Sunsweet Brand Prunes (they did start calling them ‘dried plums’ some time later) had several small bags of the things.  And I wrote this to commemorate her adventuresome nature: 

Has someone suggested Prunes?
A collection of large, juicy prunes
Was assembled by Pat one fine June.
But she went overboard
And devoured the hoard –
So I don’t think we’ll hear from her soon!


 I seem to remember that Pat was slightly amused, but it was long ago and far away.

We were off to the races with the limericks.  I’ve forgotten most of them (“Good!” my family might say) but a few came back, and I am happy to share:

On myself (NOT biographical):

A hazel-eyed cookie named Wilder
Met a plausible scamp who begilder.
He was nabbed by a Copper
For Conduct Improper –
And posting his bail really rilder

Then, laughing at Elizabeth and Richard Taylor’s flatulent endeavor that barged down the Nile and sank, I came out with these:

Egyptian Queen Cleo saw Caesar –
His face and form didn’t displaesar.
She had her slaves lug
Her, rolled up in a rug,
To seduce that unfortunate gaesar.

And, finally, this:

Queen Cleo laid hold of an asp
Whose sour disposition did rasp.
Her ending was bad,
So remember, my lad –
Never fool with a Snake in the Grasp.

You can breathe now – I don’t recall any more.

At this moment.


6 comments on “Writing Limericks

  1. Funny you'd bring this up. I remember learning about limericks but never understanding what it was all about. Now it makes more sense. Nice post. Writer’s Mark

  2. Diana Wilder says:

    Nancy, your journals, old and otherwise, trump any limericks. (and thank you! I hope your mother is doing well!)

  3. Hi Diana .. I love limericks – we had Lear books around the house, together with his artwork … they are fun – I sort of get one or two out – but they are definitely not the 'dun' thing ..Love these of yours – especially your prune one .. cheers Hilary

  4. Julia says:

    This post got me thinking about Tom Lehrer – so I've just 'wasted' an hour on YouTube! The guy's a genius. Thanks, Diana.

  5. Jill Haugh says:

    The once was a woman named Di,Who could write limericks much better than I.Her rhymes had such class,while mine just sucked asp,But I thought I should give it a try.~Just Jill

  6. As you could probably guess from my (ahem) sophisticated sense of humor and decorum, I love limericks. Yours are all super, and not a single lady from Nantucket in the bunch! One of my favorite limericks was written by Dixon Merritt in 1910:A wonderful bird is the pelican.His beak will hold more than its belican.He can take in his beakFood enough for a week,But I'm damned if I know how the helican.

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