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Limerick Shenanigans

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In honor of the holiday, I give you a blog post about limericks, a few days early.

Top of the mourning to ya. Raise your stout of Guinness or shot of Irish whiskey and let’s toast to a life filled with good fortune and good company. Kiss the Blarney Stone and all those crazy shenanigans. Sorry, those frisky leprechauns made me say it.

A limerick is a funny, nonsensical, sometimes rude poem of five lines. It consists of three long verses and two short lines using the rhyming scheme of AABBA. The limerick tells a succinct tale.

A rhyme scheme is the pattern of rhyme that comes at the end of each verse or line in poetry.

AABBA rhyming means that the first two lines rhyme with each other.

The next (usually shorter) two lines rhyme with each other.

And the last line rhymes with the first two lines.

So . . .

1st, 2nd, and 5th lines end in rhyming words

3rd and 4th lines rhyme

(I’m trying here, my little leprechauns.)

Limericks follow a three-syllable metrical pattern in poetry in which two unstressed syllables are followed by a stressed syllable. This is called an anapest.

If you follow the structure, you can compose a limerick about anything. Some are silly, some are rude, and some are downright vulgar.

The limerick must tell a story. It must contain a beginning, middle, and end. It must have a main character, plot, and resolution.

  • First comes the subject and an optional setting. The subject must show up in line one of the limerick.

  • Since limericks are meant to be humorous, dump your main character into a ridiculous situation. The sillier, the better.

  • Don’t forget the twist, all limericks end with a twist.

There was a young man of Killarney

Who was chock full of what is called blarney

He would sit on a stile

And tell lies by the mile

Would this dreadful young man of Killarney

A wonderful bird is the Pelican.

His beak can hold more than his belly can.

He can hold in his beak

Enough food for a week!

But I’ll be darned if I know how the hellican?

There was a young lady named Perkins,

Who just simply doted on gherkins.

In spite of advice,

She ate so much spice,

That she pickled her internal workins’.

There was an old man of Nantucket

Who kept all his cash in a bucket;

But his daughter, named Nan

Ran away with a man —

And as far as the bucket, Nantucket.

“May your troubles be less, your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door.”- Irish Blessing


Hi. I'm Liz Ambrico, freelance proofreader and aspiring author. I too am querying agents, editors, and publishers in hopes of becoming a published author.



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I co-founded and managed a successful author and writer group on Long Island for five years. During events with publishers and authors I learned what matters, what agents are looking for, and the benefits and pitfalls of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing.

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