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Features Section

Feature 10 - LIMERICKS

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A limerick is a type of humorous verse of five lines with an AABBA rhyme scheme: the poem's connection with the city in Ireland is obscure, but the name is generally taken to be a reference to Limerick city or County Limerick.
Our first example is asking the question 'What is a Limerick?'

What is a limerick, Mother?
It's a form of verse, said brother
In which lines one and two
Rhyme with five when it's through
And three and four must rhyme with each other
Edward Lear, the English artist, illustrator, author and poet, is today known mostly for his literary nonsense, especially his Limericks, which some say Lear invented. Indeed, the earliest known use of the name 'Limerick' for this type poem is an 1880 reference in a newspaper, published eight years before Lear's death.
Modern Limericks are frequently bawdy or crude as suggested in this example from an unknown writer:

The limerick packs laughs anatomical
In space that is quite economical
But the good ones I've seen
So seldom are clean
And the clean ones so seldom are comical
But then Langford Reed came along and made the Limerick respectable

Langford Reed saved the limerick verse
From being taken away in a hearse
He made it so clean
Now it's fit for a queen
Re-established for better or worse

By George Bernard Shaw


THE FOLLOWING IS A SELECTION OF LIMERICKS DIVIDED INTO VARIOUS CATEGORIES

LIMERICKS - POLITICS

There were few who thought him a starter
Many who thought themselves smarter
But he ended PM
CH and OM
an Earl and a Knight of the Garter

by Clement Attlee about himself
LIMERICKS - POLITICS

There once was a Bolshie called Lenin
Who did one or two million men in
That's a lot to have done
But where he did one
That old Bolshie Stalin did ten in!
LIMERICKS - POLITICS

It is said of brave Baroness Thatcher
That three mortal men couldn't match her
When she once saw a mouse
In her Downing Street house
It took six mortal men just to catch her
LIMERICKS - POLITICS

Ronald Reagan screamed out in dismay
When he saw his old films 'I must say
It's a very hard fact
I must learn to act'
And that's what he does every day
LIMERICKS - POLITICS

Had your question been earlier declared
I might have seemed less thought-impaired
When you probe my mistakes
my false confidence breaks
'cause I don't have my bullshit prepared

Written about George W Bush
LIMERICKS - POLITICS

Russian rockets said CCCP
Which was slightly confusing to me
If the C was both two
Of those S's and U
Then should Kruschev have two C's or three
LIMERICKS - SCIENCE

It filled Galileo with mirth
To watch his two rocks fall to Earth
He gladly proclaimed
'Their rates are the same
And quite independent of girth!'
LIMERICKS - SCIENCE

Then Newton announced in due course
His own law of gravity's force
'It goes, I declare
As the inverted square
Of the distance from object to source'
LIMERICKS - SCIENCE

Einstein, the frizzy-haired
claimed E equals MC squared
thus mass decreases
as activity ceases ...
not my mass, my ass he declared!

by Michael R. Burch
LIMERICKS - SCIENCE

But remarkably, Einstein's equation
Succeeds to describe gravitation
As spacetime that's curved
And it's this that will serve
As the planets' unique motivation
LIMERICKS - SCIENCE

Yet the end of the story's not written
By a new way of thinking we're smitten
We twist and we turn
Attempting to learn
The Superstring Theory of Witten!
LIMERICKS - SCIENCE

The Sun orbits Earth it was thought
'Twas a theory most scientists bought
But Copernicus found
This belief was unsound
Now a sun-centered system is taught
LIMERICKS - SCIENCE

A rocket inventor named Bright
Once traveled much faster than light
He started one day
In the relative way
And returned on the previous night
LIMERICKS - SCIENCE

Archimedes, that well-known truth-seeker
Jumped out of his bath with 'Eureka'
He ran half a mile
Wearing only a smile
And became the very first streaker
LIMERICKS - EDUCATION

A maiden at college, Miss Breeze
Weighed down by B.A.s and Ph.D's
Collapsed from the strain
Said her doctor 'It's plain
You are killing yourself --- by degrees!'
LIMERICKS - EDUCATION

A crossword compiler named Moss
Who found himself quite at a loss
When asked 'Why so blue?'
Said, 'I haven't a clue
I'm 2 Down to put 1 Across'
LIMERICKS - EDUCATION

The integral t squared dt
From one to the cube root of three
Times the cosine
Of three pi over nine
Equals log of the cube root of e.
LIMERICKS - EDUCATION

A mathematician confided
That a Mobius band is one-sided
'You'll get quite a laugh
If you cut one in half
For it stays in one piece when divided!'
LIMERICKS - EDUCATION

There once was an old man of Esser
Whose knowledge grew lesser and lesser
It at last grew so small
He knew nothing at all
And now he's a college professor
LIMERICKS - EDUCATION

A dozen a gross and a score
Plus three times the square root of four
Divided by seven
Plus five times eleven
Is nine squared and not a bit more
LIMERICKS - BIRDS

The bustard's an exquisite fowl
With plenty of reason to howl
He escapes what would be
Illegitimacy
By grace of a fortunate vowel
LIMERICKS - BIRDS

A love-sick young barn-owl in Kew
Had a pretty young she-owl in view
He twittered, 'I oughter
Endeavor to court 'er
But I don't have enough wit to woo!'
LIMERICKS - BIRDS

Ernie, a handsome young eagle
Thought his white-feathered head was quite regal
But the ladies he called
Having heard he was bald
Said they'd rather go out with a seagull

by Joanna G. Larson
LIMERICKS - BIRDS

Asked a great ancient poet, 'Oh when
Will we have a fair ode to the wren?'
But that, as you know
Was a time long ago
Now it's now and, of course, that was then
LIMERICKS - BIRDS

A wonderful bird is the pelican
His bill can hold more than his belican
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week
But I'm damned if I see how the helican

by Dixon Merritt
LIMERICKS - BIRDS

A bird I despise is the crow
Cause it picks at the crops that I grow
As it picks from the ground
I shout and jump around
then I chase them away with my hoe

by Gavin Laben
LIMERICKS - BIRDS

There was an old man who averred
He had learned how to fly like a bird
Cheered by thousands of people
He leapt from the steeple
This tomb states the date it occured

LIMERICKS - SPORT

A good tennis serve is an ace
As it lands in the court at a pace
Backhand or forehand
It may need some more hand
So your shot will not end in disgrace

LIMERICKS - SPORT

Mohammed Ali carried a punch
Could spa from breakfast to lunch
A real heavy blow
Could produce a KO
That punch before lunch was the crunch
LIMERICKS - SPORT

A footballer in from the States
Was paid at very high rates
But when he lost touch
He wasn't worth much
Now he just kicks around with his mates
LIMERICKS - SPORT

Two wrestlers grunting and groaning a lot
Found themselves in a real awkward spot
With muscles all flexed
They were feeling quite vexed
Cos they found themselves tied in a knot
LIMERICKS - SPORT

His golf shot was out of control
To sand in a trap it did roll
To add to the strain
And double the pain
The bunker was on the wrong hole
LIMERICKS - SPORT

A young man was mad about Cricket
He loved centre stage at the wicket
Hitting the ball to the boundary
Just like Colin Cowdry
With the fans yelling 'That's the ticket'
LIMERICKS - WOMEN

There was a young belle of old Natchez
Whose garments were always in patchez
When comments arose
On the state of her clothes
She replied, 'When Ah itchez, Ah scratchez'

by Ogden Nash
LIMERICKS - WOMEN

There was a commercial female
Had prices tattooed on her tail
And below her behind
For the sake of the blind
Had a duplicate version in Braille
LIMERICKS - WOMEN

A bather whose clothing was strewed
By winds, that left her quite nude
Saw a man come along
And unless I am wrong
You expected this line to be rude
LIMERICKS - WOMEN

There was a young girl in the choir
Whose voice rose hoir and hoir
Till it reached such a height
It was clear out of seight
And they found it next day on the spoir
LIMERICKS - WOMEN

She wanted to grow up a saint
And her mother, she had no complaint
But men - quite a few
Were more fun than a pew
So she wanted to be but she ain't
LIMERICKS - WOMEN

There was a young lady named Hannah
Who slipped on a peel of banana
As she lay on her side
More stars she espied
Than there are in the Star-Spangled Banner
LIMERICKS - WOMEN

A combustible woman from Thang
Exploded one day with a BANG!
The maid then rushed in
And said with a grin
'Pardon me, madam - you rang?'

by Spike Milligan
LIMERICKS - WOMEN

As a beauty I am not a star
There are others more handsome by far
But my face - I don't mind it
For I am behind it
It's the people in front that I jar
LIMERICKS - WOMEN

The marriage of poor Kim Kardashian
Was krushed like a kar in a krashian.
Her Kris kried, not fair!
Why kan't I keep my share?
But Kardashian fell klean outa fashian

by Salman Rushdie
LIMERICKS - BUGS & INSECTS

There once was a fly on the wall
I wonder why didn't fall
Because its feet stuck
Or was it just luck
Or does gravity miss things so small?
LIMERICKS - BUGS & INSECTS

Two spiders were noisily playing
Their mom came and gave them a flaying
She said 'Stop that riot
You have to be quiet
A mantis is here, and he's praying!'
LIMERICKS - BUGS & INSECTS

There was an old man of St. Bees
Who was horribly stung by a wasp
When they said, 'does it hurt?
' He replied, 'no, it doesn't -
It's a good job it wasn't a hornet'

by W S Gilbert (after Lear)
LIMERICKS - BUGS & INSECTS

A mosquito was heard to complain
'A chemist has poisoned my brain'
The cause of his sorrow
was paradichloro-
triphenyldichloroethane
LIMERICKS - BUGS & INSECTS

A fly and a flea in a flue
Were imprisoned, so what could they do?
Said the fly, 'Let us flee!'
'Let us fly!' said the flea
So they flew through a flaw in the flue

by Ogden Nash
LIMERICKS - BUGS & INSECTS

Julie the June bug was sad
she cried for the life that she had
'I need to know why
I must die in July...
Can Autumn be really that bad?'
LIMERICKS - PASTIMES

He swam fifteen lengths of the pool
As he climbed out he felt such a fool
Red-faced with no towel
He swore in language quite fowl
For he'd lost both his trunks and his cool
LIMERICKS - PASTIMES

There was a young fellow named Fisher
Who was fishing for fish in a fissure
When a cod, with a grin
Pulled the fisherman in ...
Now they're fishing the fissure for Fisher
LIMERICKS - PASTIMES

An ambitious young fellow named Matt
Tried to parachute using his hat
Folks below looked so small
As he started to fall
Then got bigger and bigger and SPLAT!

by Graham Lester
LIMERICKS - PASTIMES

It's been told an old man sent Emails
To some very dubious females
When asked what they said
He just shook his head
I'd rather not go into details
LIMERICKS - PASTIMES

The Chess world could hardly wait
For the Fischer v Spassky date
After King's Bishop four
They thought it a draw
But it turned out to be check-mate
LIMERICKS - PASTIMES

If you're up at the break of dawn
And all notions of sleep have all gawn
Go out for a jog
In rain, sunshine of fog
You'll soon regret you were bawn
LIMERICKS - PASTIMES

A right-handed fellow named Wright
In writing 'write' always wrote 'rite'
Where he meant to write right
If he'd written 'write' right
Wright would not have wrought rot writing 'rite'
LIMERICKS - FOOD

An epicure dining at Crewe
Found a rather large mouse in his stew
Said the waiter 'Don t shout
Or wave it about
Or the rest will be wanting one too'
LIMERICKS - FOOD

A canner exceedingly canny
One morning remarked to his granny
'A canner can can
Any thing that he can
But a canner can't can a can, can he?'

by Carolyn Wells
LIMERICKS - FOOD

A bather in Blackpool once said
'I see that my bottom has spread
Fish and Chips that I eat
Have broadened my seat
Should I take up the Can-Can instead?'

by Sue West
LIMERICKS - FOOD

There was a young lady of Ryde
Who ate some green apples and died
The apples fermented
Inside the lamented
And made cider inside her inside
LIMERICKS - FOOD

I tasted Australian stew
Quite hearty and nutritious, too
Then I was left cold
When somebody told
That the meat bits were all kangaroo!
LIMERICKS - FOOD

One Saturday morning at three
A cheesemonger's shop in Paree
Collapsed to the ground
With a thunderous sound
Leaving only a pile of de brie
LIMERICKS - FOOD

There was a young man from Clyde
Who hated his eggs boiled or fried
When asked to say why
'It's just because I
Am a poacher by trade' he replied
LIMERICKS - FOOD

In my role as the public's protector
Said a government livestock inspector
'It wasn't spring lamb
Being sold by the gram
In the meat shop of Hannibal Lecter
LIMERICKS - ANIMALS

A cheerful old bear at the Zoo
Could always find something to do
When it bored him you know
To walk to and fro
He reversed it and walked fro and to
LIMERICKS - ANIMALS

There was a young lady of Niger
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside
And the smile on the face of the tiger

by Edward Lear
LIMERICKS - ANIMALS

A major with wonderful force
Called out in Hyde Park for a horse
All the flowers looked round
But no horse could be found
So he just rhododendron of course
LIMERICKS - ANIMALS

There was a young curate from Kew
Who kept a tom cat in a pew
And taught it to speak
Alphabetical Greek
But it never got further than 'µ'
LIMERICKS - ANIMALS

Do beware, I declare, the rhinoceros
Whose temper is truly atroceros
So do not, for Pete's sake
Ever stupidly make
An obstroperos rhinoceros croceros
LIMERICKS - ANIMALS

There once was a little French chamois
Who frolicked on rocks near his mamois
His innocent fun
Was soon wrecked by a gun
And he's now washing cars in Miamois
LIMERICKS - REPTILES

There once was a gastronaut croc
Who pan fried his fish in a wok
With consummate skill
He filleted brill
And boiled up the bones to make stock
LIMERICKS - REPTILES

Of all the world's myriad fauna
ThereÕs nothing quite like the iguana
But you must understand
That they hail from a land
With a climate that's much like a sauna
LIMERICKS - REPTILES

Desert tortoises stay in their shell
They move slowly, and burrow as well
This is all for the best
In a desert southwest
Even reptiles find hotter than hell
LIMERICKS - REPTILES

Out dining, an old alligator
When asked if he'd have coffee later
Just shook his head
And pleasantly said
'I was planning on having the waiter'
LIMERICKS - REPTILES

In Rome, an old tortoise named Myrtle
Was in prison for stealing a girdle
Then the Vatican City
Agreed to have pity
And the headlines read 'Pope Springs a Turtle!'
LIMERICKS - REPTILES

There once was a devious snake
Who pretended to have fang ache
The dentist he tried
Just said 'open wide'
And that was a fatal mistake
LIMERICKS - TRANSPORT

I looked at a Ford Karmen Ghia
Then checked out the cars from Korea
Well built and quite nice
And a quarter the price
I ended up buying a Kia
LIMERICKS - TRANSPORT

Two brothers named Wong couldn't quite
Pull off their first aeroplane flight
When their rig crashed and burned
They finally learned
Two Wongs never could make a Wright
LIMERICKS - TRANSPORT

I buried my foot to the floor
my Mustang took off with a roar
the corner was tight
my speed out of sight
the funeral's tomorrow, at four!
LIMERICKS - TRANSPORT

A traveler once to his sorrow
Requested a ticket to Morrow
Said the railman, 'It's plain
That there isn't a train
To Morrow today, but tomorrow'
LIMERICKS - TRANSPORT

There was a young man from Dealing
Who caught the bus bound for Ealing
It said on the door
Don't spit on the floor
So he jumped up and spat on the ceiling
LIMERICKS - TRANSPORT

At 16 I sighed as I hoped
For a bike like a Harley. I groped
In my pocket for cash
And bought something less flash;
Then I sat on my moped and moped.
LIMERICKS - COMPOSERS

There was a composer called Brahms
Whose music has wonderful charms
Some say its old-fashioned
Should be banned and then rationed
While others it soothes and it calms
LIMERICKS - COMPOSERS

There was a composer named Mozart
Whose music's okay for the most part
From the scraping of strings
To the thumping on things
To the large-people-stretching-their-throats part.
LIMERICKS - COMPOSERS

There was a Composer called Handel
To whom most cannot hold a candle
He wrote The Messiah
A great work to inspire
If it ain't then I'll go eat my sandle
LIMERICKS - COMPOSERS

There was a composer named Liszt
Whose music no one could resist
When he swept the keyboard
No one could be bored
And now that he's gone he is missed
LIMERICKS - COMPOSERS

Beethoven, the great Ludwig van
Was one very handicapped man
'Cause if you're a chef
You don't mind if you're deaf
But composers should hear, if they can
LIMERICKS - COMPOSERS

To play the Concerto, Tchaikovsky
Demands violin skills like Wieniewski
You can't be weak
You need schmaltz plus technique
To play it just good enoughsky
LIMERICKS - COMPOSERS

Jazz orchestra, that was his thing
Composing for them he was king
He'd jive and he'd juke
And thus said the Duke
'It don't mean a thing without swing'
LIMERICKS - COMPOSERS

Ravel wrote Bolero in C
And it mostly remains in that key
But near the conclusion
Amid some confusion
It modulates suddenly to E
LIMERICKS - COMPOSERS

A band leader John Philip Sousa
Was truly in touch with his musa
His bold archetype
The Stars and the Stripes
It's music you just can't refusa
LIMERICKS - COMPOSERS

I've never heard any songs finer
Than Schubert's late settings of Heine
Die Stadt, with its edgy
Piano arpeggi
Sounds best in the key of C minor
LIMERICKS - COMPOSERS

Playing Paganini in your grotto
Can cause your fingers to clotto
I do believe
You need to achieve
A kind of legato spicatto
LIMERICKS - COMPOSERS

A young lad whose first name was felix
Had good stuff in his double-helix
He had, you will find
a prodigious mind
for music when he was a mere six
LIMERICKS - LOVE & MARRIAGE

She frowned and called him Mr.
Because he fondly kr.
And so for spite
That very night
That Mr. kr. sr.
LIMERICKS - LOVE & MARRIAGE

There was a young maid from Siam
Who said to her lover, young Kiam
'To kiss me, of course
You will have to use force
Good thing you're stronger than I am'
LIMERICKS - LOVE & MARRIAGE

There was a young lady of station
'I love man' was her sole exclamation
But when men cried 'You flatter!'
She replied, 'Oh, no matter!
Isle of Man, is the true explanation'

by Lewis Carroll
LIMERICKS - LOVE & MARRIAGE

There once was a person from Lyme
Who married three wives at a time
When asked, 'Why a third?'
He replied, 'One's absurd,
And bigamy, sir, is a crime!'
LIMERICKS - MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

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 tutors to toot?'
LIMERICKS - MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

A guitarist named Pat Donohue
Said 'Guitar is ideal in my view
I find it attracts
More girls than a sax
And the neighbors are fond of it too
LIMERICKS - ENTERTAINMENT

The fabulous Wizard of Oz
Retired from business becoz
Due to up-to-date science
To most of his clients
He wasn't the Wiz that he woz
LIMERICKS - MARINE LIFE

There once was a lonely old skate
Who needed to find a new mate
His first wife lay dead
Down on the sea bed
Surrounded by pieces of eight
Having established a basic rhythm and rhyming sequence, the following Limerick offers some advice on the poem's construction

There once was an X from place B
That satisfied predicate P
He or she did thing A
In an adjective way
Resulting in circumstance C
And this Limerick offers a subtle variation to line five

There was an old man from Milan
Whose limericks never would scan
When told this was so
He said, 'yes, I know
But I always try to get as many syllables into the last line as I possibly can'

This Limerick by Spike Milligan conforms to the basic idea ... or does it?

There was a young man named Wyatt
Whose voice was extremely quiet
And then one day
It faded away
......  .. .. ... .. .... ..... .... .. ..... .... ....

And by way of a conclusion, I can think of no better Limerick than this one

God's plan made a hopeful beginning
But Man spoilt his chances by sinning
We trust that the story
Will end in God's glory
But at present, the other side's winning


IF AFTER READING, AND I HOPE ENJOYING, THESE LIMERICKS YOU KNOW OF A SUITABLE ONE PLEASE SEND IT TO ME FOR POSSIBLE INCLUSION. A SUGGESTION OF AN APPROPRIATE STAMP TO ILLUSTRATE YOUR POEM WOULD BE APPRECIATED

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