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How to write a limerick by Stefn Sylvester Anyatonwu | ‎Poemify

A limerick is a silly poem with five lines. They are often funny or nonsensical. Limericks were made famous by Edward Lear, a famous author who wrote the "Book of Nonsense" in the 1800's. This was an entire book of silly limericks.

How to write a limerick:
The first, second and fifth lines rhyme with each other and have the same number of syllables (typically 8 or 9).
The third and fourth lines rhyme with each other and have the same number of syllables (typically 5 or 6)
Limericks often start with the line "There once was a..." or "There was a..."

Example of an 8,8,5,5,8 syllable limerick:

STAR, by Kaitlyn Guenther

There once was a wonderful star
Who thought she would go very far
Until she fell down
And looked like a clown
She knew she would never go far.

BLIND LADY, by Stefn Sylvester Anyatonwu

There was a lady blind and tall
who couldn't find the door
She walked and talked
She talked and walked
She ran into the wall.

Here are some tips to get you started writing one:

  • Where would it come From?
Well, no one knows for sure but most people believe that the term “limerick” came from either the city or County of Limerick in Ireland. The English poet Edward Lear popularized the limerick form, but he didn’t create the term “limerick.”

  • Nonsense makes Sense.
Limerick poems are also called “nonsense” poems because they tell a story that is blunt and humorous with quirky or vulgar words that don’t necessarily make sense. Feel free to make up your own words (Shakespeare did it all the time! I do too. Ever heard of 'lovivore'? I created it. Create yours!) just as long as their meaning is implied.

  • First Impressions are Important.
The first line sets up the character(s) and setting of the poem so the reader knows right away who/what the story is about.

  • Line and Rhyme.
Only five lines long, limerick poems have an AABBA rhyme scheme, which means the first, second, and last lines rhyme while the third and fourth lines rhyme.
Pretty simple, right? Alright!

  • Make it Bouncy.
Musicality plays a huge role in limerick poems, as they have a bouncy tune when read out loud. Try reread my 'BLIND LADY' musically.
The first two lines have eight beats while the third and fourth have six, and the last line again has eight.
Many children’s nursery rhymes are limericks because their bouncy rhythm makes them easy to recite.
Remember “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?” Yup, that’s a limerick. Kinda!

More examples:

'There Once Was a Man from Nantucket'

There once was a man from Nantucket
Who kept all his cash in a bucket.
But his daughter, named Nan,
Ran away with a man
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.

Did you notice something? Pun came to play on words in a limerick! Wow!

Nantucket - None took it!

You still don't get it? Read it again. See how fun limerick can be?

Okay, that's it!