A limerick is a five-line poem written with one couplet and one triplet. If a couplet is a two-line rhymed poem, then a triplet would be a three-line rhymed poem. The rhyme pattern is a a b b a with lines 1, 2 and 5 containing 3 beats and rhyming, and lines 3 and 4 having two beats and rhyming. Some people say that the limerick was invented by soldiers returning from France to the Irish town of Limerick in the 1700's.
Limericks are meant to be funny. They often contain hyperbole, onomatopoeia, idioms, puns, and other figurative devices. The last line of a good limerick contains the PUNCH LINE or "heart of the joke." As you work with limericks, remember to have pun, I mean FUN! Say the following limericks out loud and clap to the rhythm.
A flea and a fly in a flue
Were caught, so what could they do?
Said the fly, "Let us flee."
"Let us fly," said the flea.
So they flew through a flaw in the flue.
You will soon hear the distinctive beat pattern of all limericks. The rhythm is just as important in a limerick as the rhyme. Try completing this limerick.
There once was a pauper named Meg
Who accidentally broke her _______.
She slipped on the ______.
Not once, but thrice
Take no pity on her, I __________.
Lyrical Lesson: Limericks
1. Practice the rhythm of limericks by clapping you hands or snapping your fingers.
2. Think of some funny names, places, or situations.
3. Using the a a b b a 5-line form, write an original limerick.
4. How would you illustrate the page if your poem was published in a book
of limericks? What types of art would you use?