Today we get a little light verse. Poetry doesn’t have to always be noble sentiment and visionary beauty, after all.
The limerick is a simple comic form, composed in anapestic meter. The first, second, and fifth line each have three beats apiece, and are rhymed together. The third and fourth lines are shorter (only two beats each), and they get their own rhyme. The first foot of any line may be clipped; that is, instead of a full metrical foot, it may be missing the initial unaccented beat: thus an anapestic foot [- – /] may instead only be [- /]. Additionally, the end of a line may feature a feminine rhyme; such an anapestic foot would become [- – / -]. But even with such adjustments, the lines maintain a 3-beat character.
The first two lines in a limerick typically introduce the subject; the next two provide the set-up; and the final line delivers the punchline. The point of the limerick is the punchline–which is commonly “lowbrow” humor. The snobs may dismiss the form for this, and even reject the poetic form as “mere rhyme;” but lovers of traditional English meter will continue to delight in the form. Meanwhile it is an excellent place to start learning how to write poetry, because it develops the metrical skill, and provides an immediate payoff in enjoyment. Anyway, I hope you enjoy these.
Said an envious, erudite ermine,
“There’s one thing I cannot determine:
. When a girl wears my coat,
. She’s a person of note.
When I wear it, I’m called only vermin.”
A young schizophrenic named Struther,
Who learned of the death of his Brother,
. Said, “I know that its bad,
. But I don’t feel too sad.
After all, I still have each other.”
There once was a girl named Irene,
Who lived on distilled kerosene.
. But she started absorbin’
. A new hydrocarbon,
And since then has never benzene!
A bather whose clothing was strewed,
By winds that left her quite nude,
. Saw a man come along,
. And unless we are wrong,
You expected this line to be lewd.
There was a young girl from Rabat,
Who had triplets, Nat, Pat and Tat;
. It was fun in the breeding,
. But hell in the feeding,
When she found she had no tit for Tat.
A limerick fan from Australia
Regarded his work as a failure:
. His verses were fine
. Until the fourth line
Readers, please, post some of your own favorites below.