William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Monday, 5, January, 2009

New Year, New Limerick.

Filed under: Uncategorized — williamthecoroner @ 13:20

OK, You’ve all had a rest, and your muses have been fed with copious quantities of ethanol and holiday food.    But there are still people serving overseas, and there are still people starving in Biafra (OK, so I’m dating myself).  But since we’re back to work, please submit a limerick about, you guessed it, WORK. Contest closes on Friday, winner announced next Monday.

As always, a limerick is:

a stanza of five lines, with the first, second and fifth lines having nine syllables and rhyming with one another, and the third and fourth having only six, and rhyming separately. Lines are usually written in the anapaestic meter, but can also be amphibrachic.

The first line of a limerick traditionally introduces a person and a place, with the place appearing at the end of the first line and therefore establishing the rhyme scheme for the second and fifth lines. In early limericks, the last line was often essentially a repeat of the first line, although this is no longer customary.

Within the genre, ordinary speech stress is often distorted in the first line, and may be regarded as a feature of the form: “There was a young man from the coast;” “There once was a girl from Detroit…” Legman[2] takes this as a convention whereby prosody is violated simultaneously with propriety. Exploitation of geographical names, especially exotic ones, is also common, and has been seen as invoking memories of geography lessons in order to subvert the decorum taught in the schoolroom; Legman finds that the exchange of limericks is almost exclusive to comparatively well-educated males (women figuring in limericks almost exclusively as “villains or victims,” according to Legman). The most prized limericks incorporate a kind of twist, which may be revealed in the final line, or may lie in the way the rhymes are often intentionally tortured, or both. Many limericks additionally show some form of internal rhyme, alliteration or assonance, or some element of wordplay.

Verses in limerick form are sometimes combined with a refrain to form a limerick song, a traditional humorous drinking song often with obscene verses.

(Isn’t Wikipedia grand?) As per usual, the winner gets a care package sent to a service member of choice. Do also go check out Sparrow’s blog for the rest of your competitive poetry needs.



  1. There once was a blonde, Russian nurse,
    who took daily rides in a hearse
    to pick up dead bodies
    from nursing home lobbies
    to get more money for her purse.

    Comment by Papyrus — Monday, 5, January, 2009 @ 21:33 | Reply

  2. My reports, so concise and specific
    Written clearly, not one hieroglyphic
    Blood and gore, unusually keen
    makes readers queasy and green
    So few like my prose scientific

    Comment by Brigid — Tuesday, 6, January, 2009 @ 17:24 | Reply

  3. To get inspiration to perk
    My outlook’s approaching berserk.
    My efforts poetic
    I fear are pathetic
    ’cause limerick writing is WORK!

    Comment by Salome — Thursday, 8, January, 2009 @ 15:38 | Reply

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