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Limericks are short poems consisting of five lines, where the first, second and fifth rhyme while the third and fourth are shorter and also rhyme—the rhyming scheme is aabba. These short poems have a long history and in looking up the facts, I discovered a poem from 1774 that you may have heard—it goes: Hickory, dickery, dock The mouse ran up the clock. The clock struck one And down he run— Hickery, dickery, dock! This type of poem was made popular in the mid 1800s by a British writer named Edward Lear. He called them his nonsense poems and while his poems kept the aabba format, his last line was usually the same as the first. About that time, this form of short poem was used as a gentleman’s parlor game where each person was called on to recite an original poem. The form was called a Limerick and it is to this day. The limerick soon left the gentleman’s parlor and found the streets where youth competed to create the most unique (and dirty) rhymes. I will not include any here except one mild one that I always remember from my youth. It goes: There was a young girl from Cape Cod Who thought all children came from the Lord. But it wasn’t the almighty Who lifted her nighty— It was Roger the lodger, by God. While my limericks may not be literature, they were fun to write and I hope folks might enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. Enjoy!
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Inspired by the "light" verse of English poet Edward Lear, Lew Whitaker has written several small books of Limericks, Haiku, and children's rhymes.
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