I’ve just returned from a local writers association meeting, during which attendees learned about the myriad groups for different types of writers in our fair city. The representative of the poetry group was relating an anecdote about telling acquaintances that she writes poetry, and the typical dismissive responses she receives: “I feel like saying to them, ‘But I’m good! It’s not like I write limericks that rhyme.‘”
Today’s verse, whether or not you consider it poetry, is not one of my own. Rather, it’s by a relatively famous — and prolific — writer.
If you find for your verse there’s no call,
And you can’t afford paper at all,
For the poet true born,
There’s always the lavatory wall.
In March, my mind turns to Spring Break, St. Patrick’s Day and…limericks.
There once was a mom with a dog
And two daughters; so goes our prologue.
Swamped with dog and with kids
And a job, she then did
What such moms do: she started a blog.
I’m a big fan of this type of verse; two of my favorite writers, Ogden Nash and Isaac Asimov, were wonderfully skilled in the art of the limerick. And now, because I’ve been slacking in my creation of new Well-Versed Mom content, I’ve challenged myself to post a limerick a day during March — starting today, March 2.
Most will be my own concoctions, some will be literary blasts from the past and some will be guest posts (if you’re interested in contributing, let me know; no previous limerick experience necessary).
Of course, many purveyors of these poems contend that a successful limerick must be naughty in nature.
The limerick packs laughs anatomical
Into space that is quite economical,
But the good ones I’ve seen
So seldom are clean,
And the clean ones so seldom are comical.
However, because this is a family-friendly blog, you’ll have to look elsewhere for an appearance by anyone from Nantucket.
It needn’t have ribaldry’s taint
Or strive to make everyone faint.
There’s a type that’s demure
And perfectly pure,
Though it helps quite a lot if it ain’t.
Before we start, a bit of history: many credit an Englishman, Edward Lear, with the invention of the limerick, though it existed in various forms long before his 1846 Book of Nonsense popularized it.
The limerick’s birth is unclear;
Its genesis owed much to Lear.
It started as clean,
But soon went obscene,
And this split haunts its later career.
–W. S. Gilbert
Furthermore, the origin of the name “limerick” is hotly debated among people who hotly debate such things. Some say that the poetic form began with tavern poets in Ireland, home to the city that lends its name to the verse. It also might have come from a 19th-century parlor game that featured a mention of Limerick in its playing. Whatever the case, let’s just be glad the limerick was invented, without which I might not have brought this challenge upon myself…and my readers.
“In March,” I vowed, “One post per day!”
To keep writer’s block far at bay.
Yet as Day Two goes by
I am wondering if I
Should postpone this March challenge till May…