I haven’t tried my hand at a limerick for twenty years or so. My mother read us limericks as children and they were lovely silliness. Edward Lear caught all of us up in his style. His limericks and his Owl and the Pussy Cat were read more than once to four small children with wild vocabularies. Mom used the patterns of the poetry to calm us down and settle us in. We hated when she turned out the light, not because we were scared, but because we wanted the time to continue.
There is a strength to limericks that allows one to mock or support an idea. They are easy to remember, falling into the rhyming and syllable count. I loved the examples that this young mother gave. In fact, I was amazed that she is promoting the weekly contests out of her own pocket to give others the power to express themselves. She’s one of those young millennial that you find in the midst of thinking, writing, authoring. Strong women are the topic this week. So, mom, these are for you. (Oh, she’s Lois in the notes if you ever need to talk to her about me and my very normal insanity. Just peek at the bottom and like a jinni she’ll appear.)
My mother read books to us every night, Teaching her children to read and write, Her daughters so young, Developed a tongue, That made them unmanageable frights.
Okay, that was harder than it seemed. My mother did read to us every night if she weren’t falling over with exhaustion. And my sister and I are indeed frights for the women’s movement raising strong daughters. Hers in the hard sciences, mine in anthropology.
Genevieve's homework would nightly pursue, The dreams of a dragon that would misconstrue, That she was in charge, With lethal energy large, As her fictional writings of monsters she grew.
Limericks are supposed to be silly, but they don’t have to be. The syllables don’t have to be exact between lines, but the hard emphasis on the first grouping of syllables needs to be followed by two soft syllables. That’s no easy thing, unless you nap as mother reads.
My mother would spend her time counting sheep, When she did global markets allowed her to reap, Buckets of gold, For the produce she sold, As she took over bull markets and made them weep.
If you want help rhyming, there is a wonderful page called www.therhymezone.com that can help you rhyme almost anything. Balance your limerick on the tip of your tongue and see if you can find a pattern that soothes you.
Anyway, I’ll be posting more silliness later. Practicing formulaic poetry gives you the ability to change your style to match the need of the message you want to portray. I don’t see Limericks making it into my top ten forms, but then, I have a lot of practicing to do.