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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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    • Bretsuki profile image

      William Elliott 6 years ago from California USA

      Hello Peggy, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I enjoy Limericks, I am not very good at them, but many a time I have been so bad people still laugh and they are good for testing and exams.


    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas that is a clever way to get to the head of the line! Haha! Limericks are generally funny and humor and laughter is good for the soul. Nice reminder of one form of comedy and/or memory tricks.

    • Bretsuki profile image

      William Elliott 6 years ago from California USA

      Hello Nell, THanks for your comment - I like limericks too and they can be quite addictive.

      Hello Sharyn, thanks for your comment - an extra benefit of writing limericks in your head while in line is that spontaneous giggling often causes the line to disappear - LOL

      all the best and thanks for stopping by!

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 6 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Bret,

      I love the idea of creating a limerick while standing in line. But I could see using it to calm myself when someone is really aggravating me . . . ha.

      Fun read!


    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, I love Limericks! lol they can be so funny, especially the rude ones! loved it! made me laugh, cheers nell