Cut Loose on Limerick Day!

Edward Lear's 1846 Book of Nonsense - Chockablock full of limericks
Edward Lear’s 1846 Book of Nonsense – chock-a-block full of limericks

The twelfth of May is Limerick Day, a “real holiday” (because the interweb says so!). The day honours the famed English author and illustrator Edward Lear, who popularised limericks in his opus magnum A Book of Nonsense (1846). Lear’s most recognised work is not a limerick but rather the nonsensical poem The Owl and the Pussycat. [Listen to it on Storynory.]

OwlpussycatThey dined on mince and slices of quince

Which they ate with a runcible spoon;

And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,

They danced in the light of the moon,

The moon,

The moon,

They danced in the light of the moon.

*Sigh…* If that’s an example of what limerick writing can do for one’s lyricism, I say let’s write more limericks. Lear’s delightful turns of phrase birthed his own brand of neologisms. Runcible, for example, was adopted into general use (though no one seems to know what it means).

Traditionally, limericks were a popular form of witticism that veered towards lewdness, with the simple AABBA form lending itself to rhythmic silliness. Edward Lear steered clear of bawdy themes, choosing instead to defy his readers’ expectations. On an interesting side note, for a supposedly “silly guy,”  Edward Lear weathered an unfair share of unhappiness. One of twenty-one siblings, he was sickly all his life, suffered long bouts of melancholia (which he dubbed “The Morbids”), and experienced some soul-crushing knock-backs in the romance department.

Grist for the limerick mill?

A Toast to Edward Lear!

Here’s to the doomed lover, lost creative soul, and weaver of eternal word-spells. In his honour, I’m going to publish my feeble limerick attempts here. I’m not too proud to have a go, but I think I’ll leave the bawdiness to be tackled by someone else (someone who’s not aspiring to sell books to children).

Here’s a limerick of mine that’s suitable for the kiddies:

3718105140_2e5ef563bc_mTootles the Owlet by Ali Stegert

An owlet was learning to hoot

But all she could do was say Toot!

Her ma was dismayed

At the thing she had laid

But forgave her because she was cute

And here’s a lame limerick on blogging:

The Blogger’s Creed by Ali Stegert

You may ask what keeps me a-bloggin’

When my stats are taking a floggin’

It’s so I’ll be read

Before I drop dead

‘Cause then there’ll be naught in my noggin

Over to You

Go on! See if you can come up with a couple of your own runcible limericks, and don’t be shy! Share them in the comments below. I hope my friends in Facebookland will join in after our fun discussion about nought versus naught. Fingers crossed!

Image Credits:

A Book of Nonsense: Public Domain, sourced on Wikipedia

OwlPussycat: Public Domain, sourced on Wikipedia

Spectacled Owl Mother & Baby by Steve Wilson, CC 2.0

13 Thoughts

  1. There once was a writer from blighty
    Whose grasp of the rhyme was quite flighty
    Things started off well
    But then went to all hell
    And ended up sounding less writey

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, Sophie! You’re amazing. You pulled that out in seconds flat while I slaved over my feeble attempts all afternoon! Thank you, and Happy Limerick Day on Tuesday.


      1. Haha – thank you! I think the creative time (or lack thereof) may be just slightly apparent there…! But limericks are fun, and I enjoyed Tootles and your blogging ones 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There once was a cat called Perkins,
    Who loved to eat lots of gerkins.
    He ate fit to burst
    And could not quench his thirst
    Even though he finished a firkin.
    (Just love that word ‘firkin’ lol) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There once was a girl called Ali-Stegs
    Who really loved eating eggs
    for breakfast fried
    for lunch or dinner
    But now alas she’s no longer thinner.

    My apologies for a crazy limerick and running late too.


    Liked by 1 person

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