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Pelican copy

The Limerick

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Our August Poetry Competition is right around the corner... so why not dip into the absurd with a little limerick writing! Centuries old and almost always mirthful and ticklish, limericks were famously sung out by Irish enthusiasts (from pub windows), and became so popular in the 19th century that newspapers across the US and UK held weekly limerick-writing competitions.

What should you write about? Absolutely anything! (See the examples below for proof.) And click through to our very own Josie O'Grady's delightful examples here


The Limerick Breakdown

·   Five lines

·   A rhyme scheme of aabba (lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme and lines 3 and 4 rhyme)

·   Lines 1, 2 and 5 have 7-10 syllables and lines 3 and 4 have 5-7 syllables





A wonderful bird is the pelican;

His beak can hold more than his belican.

He can hold in his beak

Enough food for a week,

Though I’m damned if I know how the helican!

                                       ~ Dixon Lanier Merritt



Is Algebra fruitless endeavor?

It seems they’ve been trying for ever

To find x, y, and z

And it’s quite clear to me: 

If they’ve not found them yet then they'll never.

                                       ~ Graham Lester 



A preoccupied vegan named Hugh

picked up the wrong sandwich to chew.

He took a big bite

before spitting, in fright,


                                       ~ Unknown



A flea and a fly in a flu,

Were imprisoned so what could they do?

Said the flea let us fly,

Said the fly let us flee.

So they flew through a flaw in the flu.

                                       ~ Unknown