Arguably, there isn’t a poetry form more fun than the Limerick. It makes us laugh and blush, and its jaunty rhythm with rigid structure makes it oh-so-easy to memorize. Fortunately, it’s also easy to write.
The Limerick’s simplicity is one of the reasons it just keeps on hanging on. It is made up of five anapestic lines, and the uncomplicated rhyme scheme is aabba. The first, second, and fifth lines are trimeter, while the third and fourth are dimeter. Many times, the third and fourth lines are written as a solitary line with an internal rhyme. In short, the first and second line rhyme together, the third and fourth line rhyme together, and the fifth line can either rhyme with the first line or repeat the first line.
Here is a well-known limerick by the affable Ogden Nash:
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.”
Try It: Write a Limerick
Following the classic rhyme scheme, write your own laughable limerick. Draw from the funny moments in the past, embarrassing gaffs, or glean from the stories you’ve heard. Share your limerick in the comment section below, we’ll be reading (and laughing).
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here is a poem from Rick we enjoyed:
Photo by Ace Armstrong. Creative Commons via Flickr.
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland