diddy-DANG, girl, you got that poetry vibe goin’ on

i’m worried. my stepmom just emailed me, asking for limerick advice. so i imparted my meager knowledge on the subject and now i pass it along to you.

The limerick form is five anapestic (two short/unstressed syllables, one long/stressed syllable) lines, although the first unstressed syllable is sometimes garbled or dropped, depending on the language used. The first, second and fifth lines are trimeter (having three metrical feet) while the third and fourth are dimeter (having two metrical feet). The overall rhyme scheme is AABBA.

All of that is a long way of saying the rhythm sounds like so (say it out loud for maximum effectiveness):

diddy-BLAH diddy-BLAH diddy-BLAH, diddy-BLAH diddy-BLAH diddy-BLAH, diddy-BLAH diddy-BLAH, diddy-BLAH diddy-BLAH, diddy-BLAH diddy-BLAH diddy-BLAH.

Adding the end rhyming words, it sounds like so:

diddy-BLAH diddy-BLAH diddy-BANG, diddy-BLAH diddy-BLAH diddy-CLANG, diddy-BLAH diddy-BING, diddy-BLAH diddy-PING, diddy-BLAH diddy-BLAH diddy-DANG.

Possibly the most famous “clean” limerick was written by Edward Lear, and it goes like this:

There was a Young Lady whose chin Resembled the point of a pin: So she had it made sharp, And purchased a harp, And played several tunes with her chin.

I include this as a good example of the form itself (note the dropped unstressed syllables like I mentioned) but there is something missing. Limericks should be raunchy and/or disgusting. That’s part of the form, too. So have fun! :)

wanna write one?

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