Send some poetry to a friend!

Passions in Poetry

Digital Passions
Poetry Magazine

Digital Passions #4
published July 21, 2000


Editor's Column by Sunshine
Rambles from Ron
Word Play by Doreen Peri
Potty Party poem
... Humorous Nature by Christopher Ward
Upwardly Challenged poem Craig Walker
Interview - Kit McCallum by Sven
Active PageLimericks by Nancy Ness
Inspiration by StarrGazer
The Meeting poem Poet deVine
The Final Word by Poet deVine
End Notes / Unsubscribe

Read It All (one big page)

Interview - Kit McCallum Inspiration


All About Limericks
by Nancy Ness

So you want to know how to write Lim'ricks,
And you think I can show you some quick tricks?
You can ask all you might
But your own you can write
For there really are no secret gimmicks!!

What's so special about limericks, anyway? They're just five little lines of corny, quirky, comical poetry, aren't they? Just why is it that everyone loves them so much? It seems to me that the common denominator is Everyone, and I do mean everyone, would rather laugh than scowl - and limericks make us laugh. They're a momentary escape into the wonderful world of humor.

This whimsical form of light verse was widely popularized by Edward Lear in the mid 1800's with the publication of his "Book of Nonsense." Its origins, however, are believed to have been from a century earlier when the Irish Brigade sang a chorus enroute from France to Ireland. The English devised their first official limerick in 1744 - a well-known ditty that is probably familiar to you. Who doesn't smile just a bit when they recall these words?

Hickory, Dickory, Dock
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck one
And down he ran
Hickory, Dickory, Dock!

How do we write limericks? A limerick is funny, it's just five lines, and it's written in verse that has a particular pattern of rhyme and meter.

Let's start with the rhyme scheme. Limericks are written with a specific rhyme scheme of "a-a-b-b-a." In other words, the first, second, and fifth lines rhyme with each other, as do the third and fourth.

It's the meter that gives this form of poetry its unique character. Limericks are written in "anapestic meter." That means each line is comprised of anapestic feet with a "short-short-long" syllable stress pattern.


(Ignore this part if you're not into the technical stuff.) Although the first syllable of verse is frequently altered for effect, the format characteristically follows a pattern of:

Line 1 - anapestic trimeter - three anapestics
Line 2 - anapestic trimeter - three anapestics
Line 3 - anapestic dimeter - two anapestics
Line 4 - anapestic dimeter - two anapestics
Line 5 - anapestic trimeter - three anapestics

OK everyone, c'mon back now. If that didn't make any sense to you at all, the format is more simply described by following this rhythm -


That's all there is to it, folks. Try it - you'll like it. Oh, and above all, have some fun writing - for smilin' out loud!

So, just pick up your pencil and think
Something funny and keep it in sync
A great poet or not
If those lyrics you're got
Your readers will be tickled pink!


Click to visit Passions in Poetry
Passions in Poetry

Subscribe to
Free Magazine

About Your

Magazine Index
full categorized list