Earlier this week I blogged over on Casablanca Authors about Ten (Non-Alcoholic) Things to Enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day. However, I left one important thing off the list–even though there’s some debate over whether that thing is truly Irish or not! I’m talking about the limerick, one of the most popular and instantly recognizable forms of light verse. They can be witty, raunchy, contain clever epigrams, terrible puns, or blatant double-entendres.
Edward Lear, a Victorian poet, is among the best known perpetrator of limericks, though his tend to be fairly mild by today’s standards.
There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, “It is just as I feared! —
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!”
(Lear, before he grew a truly terrifying beard himself in later life.)
The following examples of limericks aren’t attributed to any particular author, possibly with good reason!
There was an old man of Khartoum
Who kept a tame sheep in his room,
“To remind me,” he said,
“Of someone who’s dead,
But I never can recollect whom.”
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.
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!”
I sat next to the Duchess at tea;
It was just as I feared it would be.
Her rumblings abdominal
Were simply phenomenal,
And everyone thought it was me!
This week, despite the spurious lineage of the limerick, I’m holding a limerick-writing contest. The first line is already provided. Entrants can choose from the following:
1. There was a young lady from Mayfair . . .
2. There once was a duke from St. James . . .
All entries must be turned in by midnight on Tuesday, March 19. I’ll be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of my novel, Waltz with a Stranger, to the winner, to be determined by March 25.
Good luck to all participants–and have fun!