Cover of The Limeric
I love rhyme. I love limericks, and I’ve written quite a few. Here, since I now have the perfect excuse,
are a few new ones.
There once was a young lad from Kyoto
one evening while viewing a photo
saw a face so grotesque
it resembled a desk
and was sure he had seen Quasimodo.
One evening while cooking some rice,
a lass went to look for some ice.
When she failed to return,
the rice started to burn.
The poor lass had to cook her rice twice.
A note on meter in limerick:
The feet (metrical feet, not the things at the ends of your legs) for a limerick is typically an anapest
dum, dum, DUM or an amphibrach
dum DUM dum
with the first, third, and fifth lines consisting of three feet of three syllables each, and the third and fourth consisting of two metrical feet.
Edward Lear popularized the limerick, but in contrast to modern limericks, they contain neither humor nor a punch line, and the first and last lines were often the same.
Although Mr. Lear wrote some limericks
I’m thinking they really are gimmericks,
First and last lines the same
make them seem pretty lame.
and of humor there’s nary a glimmerick.
And here’s one about Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick:
Expressing intention to pass
on a third term, the governor of Mass
saw his influence ebb.
It’s all over the web.
Is he planning to seek greener grass?
Limericks are not my strength. Try as I might, I cannot spin them off the top of my head. It took me all day to get two decent ones. If you’re not familiar with the form, I found a good guide on About.com by Grace Fleming: How to Write a Limerick. Here are a few tricks I use to get through them:
- Do the first two lines (the setup) and the last line (the punchline) first. All these have the same rhyme, and gives you the frame to work with. Then fill in lines three and four (transition) which only have to rhyme with each other.
- Use a rhyming dictionary! I use The Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary. Helps for getting out of tight corners when you use a word with not very many rhymes.
- Along the last lines, sometimes you have this idea you want, but can’t find workable rhymes. Like in my second limerick below, I wanted to do “Sang for her supper” but could NOT get a decent follow up. Solution: find a synonym. A thesaurus is a handy tool for poets.
- If you still struggle coming up with something, give yourself a theme. Write about a friend, or a book character, or spin off a fairy tale. Have fun with it!
Without further ado, here are my two Limericks.
Little Red Riding Hood (Photo credit: lllllT)
There once was a red-hooded girl
Who through the dark woods did twirl
‘Til a sound made her scream
And fall in a stream
Turned out it was only a squirrel
There once was a girl from Cancun
Who couldn’t carry a tune
Her song for a meal
Made a werewolf reel
And now she howls at the moon
I wrote these today. I’m not one to write limericks. I’m not real comfortable with the form. The last one is for a special friend of mine.
Here goes nothing!
Presenting Really Bad Limericks:
There was a girl from Savannah
Who had the most terrible manners
She never said please
And often would tease
Even those who tripped on peeled bananas.
There was a man from Seattle
Who got in the rottenest battles
If he sat next to you at a bar
Best to take yourself very far
From his brass knuckles, used often on cattle.
There was a woman from Ocean Shores
Who only saw open doors
She was so positive
That God was the causative
With only good things in store.
There was a lady from Orlando
Who was all about the Can-Do
Collages, poems and short stories
Productive, even with her health worries
Wish I had her ducks in a row.
“Savannah,” “Seattle,” “Ocean Shores,” and “Orlando” © Anne Westlund
“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”~Robert Bresson, French Film Director
Time for something fun, poetry fans. Put away that solemn face and let your Inner Child out to play by writing a limerick.
In its simplest form, the limerick has five lines. It is lighthearted, sometimes naughty, witty and provokes a laugh. If you want to be a stickler for the form, Wiki says it is “anapestic or amphibrachic meter with a strict rhyme scheme (AABBA)”. Follow that or do your own thing. like I did below.
A Sad Tale
There was a young lad from ‘Bama
With a taste for glitter and glammah
His designer stiletto shoe
Too high for his hair doo
Made him spend the night in the slammah.
My Senryu, and fun with GIMP.
I’ve been having a blast lately playing with the color manipulation functions with GIMP, though I have yet to read the book I bought that goes through all the features. Consequently, I have a nice directory full of road photos, a great many of which I’ve played with using GIMP.
Last night Michele emailed me and asked me if I could take today’s blog post and create a Senryu. So I grabbed an image from my Pictures directory and wrote about it.
Night Road, photo by me, digital manipulation courtesy of GIMP
Dream made visible
Assuming it’s still Senryu if it’s fantasy.
A magical quest
journey for the talisman
a clichéd hero