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Limerick: This Five Line Verse

Updated on January 21, 2012

The Limerick: What is a Limerick?

A Limerick is a five line poem, often the subject may be a bawdy or suggestive one.

The Limerick form became particularly popular during the late nineteenth century and up until the mid twentieth century with British Music Hall and American Vaudeville Comedians.

The Limericks regular meter and solid rhyme made it easy for comedians to deliver the first four lines on a suggestive course and leave the audience to create their own "Punch Line." This allowed comedians to get away with telling more suggestive jokes than allowed for in performance regulations. After all they didn't furnish the suggestive part, the audience own skill produced the final "Blue" joke.

Limericks have a rhyme sequence of A,A,B,B,A. The first and second lines forming a couplet as do the third and fourth lines. Line five is a single phrase repeating the rhyme of lines one and two. Line five might also be a variation of line one.

There Was a young man named Phil

There was a young man named Phil.

Who one day climbed up a Hill.

When he got to the top.

He forgot to stop.

Now he's in the hospital ill.

There Was a Young Woman of Runcorn

There was a young woman of Runcorn,

With a voice as loud as a foghorn.

On a hill she would stand.

Shouting, "Here there be LAND!"

That noisy young woman of Runcorn.

There was a Young Man named Mike.

There was a young man named Mike.

Who one day sat on a Spike.

"It makes one tense,"

"But it's not a fence."

Said he, when asked what it was like.

What Use is a Limerick?

For me Limericks make great stress relievers.

Imagine you are waiting in line at the checkout, the poor checkout operator is having a bad day customers are frustrated by a long wait. You have used the time to make up a couple of Limericks in your head. Because you have been thinking of funny things you arrive at the checkout, relaxed, a nice smile and you convey that relaxed manner and pleasant demeanor to the checkout operator. You have made their day better and you maybe can write your Limerick down later and post it in a hub or somewhere online for cash.

Limericks are also good for memorizing information for exams. If you know some subject is bound to come up in the exam. Create a Limerick around your key points.

Rhyme has long been used as an aid to memory. Think of how many poems you might quote as compared to famous speeches or a paragraph from a book that you read last week. Maybe one of the Limericks from this page is still in your mind as you finish reading this hub.

Even if you don't think of writing poetry. Give the Limerick a try. It's fun, good for you and can earn you some cash. Whatever you write have fun.


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