Just what did that young man from Nantucket get up to, exactly?

Lady of NatchezI know Limerick. It’s a town in Ireland. I’ve been there.

‘A’ limerick, on the other hand is: a form of comic verse consisting of five anapaestic lines of which the first, second, and fifth have three metrical feet and rhyme together and the third and fourth have two metrical feet and rhyme together.

That’s what the dictionary says.

Limericks are sometimes funny as in:

There was a young lady from Spain,

Who got frightfully sick on a train.

Not once

 but again and again and again,

and again and again and again.

Sometimes suggestive as in:

A daughter of the late Queen of Sheba

Was promiscuous with an amoeba.

This queer blob of jelly,

Would lie on her belly,

And shudderingly whisper: “Ich liebe.”


 There was a young lady from France

Who got frightfully damp in the pants

When a dashing young swain

From Alsace Lorraine         

Did a passionate flamenco dance.

Or they can be downright dirty as in:

There was a young man from Nantucket

My inner sense of delicacy and propriety prevents me from proceeding further with the latter.

Anyway, what this is all about is that I have been asked to be a judge in a limerick contest run by a local Rotary club. Since Wendy is a Rotarian – non-joiner I am not – it’s just one of those little things a thoroughly decent and considerate spouse (such as I am) does to maintain a state of wedded bliss.

“Don’t say I never do anything for you. I judged your damn Rotary contest, didn’t I?”

Anyway, what is about to happen is that members of the club are to submit their offerings and I am supposed to judge which ones are the best in various categories and then read the winners out at one of their damn meetings.

All well and good in itself, and the guy who organized it thought I, as a former English teacher, a journalist, and a writer of other drivel, would be highly qualified.

As if.

My real problem is I don’t even like limericks all that much.

But I will close with one that has always been a particular favorite due to the fact it breaks the rules, and that’s always admirable in any form of art:

There was a young man from Japan

Whose limericks never would scan;

When they said it was so,

He replied: “Yes I know,

But I always try to get as many words into

The last line as ever I possibly can.


4 responses to “Just what did that young man from Nantucket get up to, exactly?

  1. I love the last one. And I’m sure you’ll be a great judge. Put them up here if yo need any help!

  2. Our junior high teacher once asked the class to get together in groups, write limericks and then make posters out of them and hang them on the walls in the hallway. I think he regretted that afterward…

  3. One of my favourites is this:

    There was a young lady of Ryde,
    Who ate some green apples and died.
    The apples fermented
    Inside the lamented,
    And made cider inside her inside.

  4. That last one is my exception that proves the rule ~ I don’t care for limericks either. Nor am I a joiner. Yes, this whole post made me shudder Good luck with the judging thing. I have no doubt Wendy is appreciative.

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