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nanowrimo 2010


Diary of a Blind Madman

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Limerick: Sledding
nanowrimo 2010


In the snow on a sled on a hill
In the cold in the wet in the chill
Kids' shrieks and tears
Are not from fears
But from their dreading their sledding thrills

To be a Limerick, a verse MUST have:
Five lines
Lines one, two, and five MUST each have exactly three metric feet
Lines three and four MUST each have exactly two metric feet
The metric feet MUST be anapests ( da da DUM ) although the leading foot of each line may be an iamb ( da DUM) and the last foot of each line may have a trailing unaccented syllable ( da da DUM da). The classic Limerick is consistent in the use of iambs and trailing unaccented syllables, but this is not mandatory in recreational Limericks.
Lines one, two, and five MUST rhyme
Lines three and four MUST rhyme
A good Limerick will have a clever, unanticipated punch line as line five
A good Limerick will not be insipid or pointless
A good Limerick often has puns, word play, eccentric spelling, or some other witty feature

Any nonsense poem that lacks five lines, thirteen metric feet, or the aabba rhyme pattern is simply not a Limerick. It might be a sing-song or a la-de-da, but it's not a Limerick.

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What you suggest about lines and rhymes is largely true, but because of the nature of limericks, these rules are flexible. The following examples are limericks, even though they have different numbers of lines or a non-standard metre. http://baptism.co.nz/is/limericks.html

My intent was not to be autocratic about limerics but to use the most consistent and rigid definition I could find. You'll find a few limericks on my page at louderbacks.com that don't adhere, and I'll continue to write... well, basically as I see fit.

I think you'll not of late, that many of the poems I've posted have included explanations of the form. In some cases I've successfully adhered to the form and in some I've failed or intentionally varied it... poetic license, I suppose.

In recent years I've developed more of an interest in forms, having become bored with poetry that seemed to me to be simply prose into which someone had inserted line feeds at opportune moments.

Point well taken!

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