A feckless young man from Quebec,
Tried to get into Carnegie Tech.
To his utter dismay,
They turned him away,
For totally lacking in feck.
Insouciant Sara McPhigg,
When told of the fire in her wig,
Merely yawned, as she fried,
And remarked, as she died,
“Souciance isn’t my gig.”
If your batter sticks to the griddle,
Better not fiddle and diddle.
It's perfectly lawful,
To unstick your waffle,
With two or three teaspoons of piddle.
Legions pillaged and gored,
Ransacked, caroused, snored.
Their rutting and plunder,
We file hereunder:
A horde with a hoard whored.
An over-confident gnat,
Met his end with a terrible splat.
In a bungled maneuver,
On a flight through the louver,
What he thought was a slit was a slat.
On the Vineyard the poets all rue,
That Nantucket has less work to do.
Whereas “-inyerd” is drear,
“-ucket” is clear,
On the rhyme that will surely ensue.
Give me short shrift if I’m wrong,
Nonetheless my opinion is strong
That it does seem unfair,
To a word so foursquare,
That a shrift can never be long.
“He’s beyond the pale,” Gram would grumble,
And my gullible ear would stumble
Over, What was this bond,
Between lofty “beyond,”
And a bucket—so finite, so humble?
A stoic magician named Steve,
Having lost both arms in a sheave,
Leaves his viewers nonplussed,
For they know that he must,
Have nothing at all up his sleeve.
Said the waiter to Abigail Schmeel,
Our special is free-range veal.
Or, if you prefer
Something with fur,
Our free-range vole is a steal.
Chad, a shad, is shod
In Uggs. While Rod, a scrod,
Wears Foster Grants,
And Hilfiger pants.
They don't care if you think this is odd.
At a show Mr. Shaw lost his shoe,
And asked Mr. Shay what to do.
Said Shay. Very odd.
You should shed the other shoe too.
Which Shaw shyly did, ‘neath his seat.
Doffed his socks as well, which was neat,
For when the curtain came down,
Shaw happily found,
He could now applaud with his feet.
The psychiatrists come on a ship
To Wellfleet, to unwind and unzip.
To a dock of their own
In the summer as Freudian Slip.
A downpour on mountain terrain.
A strap breaks under the strain.
The carriage a wreck,
The king breaks his neck.
In the rain, a rein ruined his reign.
Just how PACKED, you may ASK, can a LIM’-rick be?
Us-ing MAX-i-mum SYLL-a-bles LE-gal-ly?
Well, the AN-swer is KNOW-a-ble.
And the SYLL-a-bles GROW-a-ble.
For-ty NINE is the MAG-i-cal NUM-ber, see?
And for good measure, what is the fewest syllables a limerick can have? By law, just thirteen. No fewer, because a limerick by definition must have 13 accented syllables. So what would a limerick reduced to just those accented syllables sound like? This:
Chuck wrote verse.
Could do worse.
Mondrian throws his glass of Chablis,
At the canvas, and cries, “Stupid me!”
He had managed to mangle
A crucial right angle.
It was off by half a degree.
Buying paint for his bedroom (cerise),
Pollack slips on a small spot of grease,
The paint gallon shatters,
And splatters two ladders,
Which now cost a million apiece.
After painting a square canvas brown,
Josef Albers steps back with a frown.
Then, widening his eyes,
“Eureka!” he cries,
And turns the whole thing upside down.
Her eyeball is faintly ajar.
Her breast is on backwards. Bizarre.
For Picasso, anatomy
Disdains the academy.
Is that torso in fact a guitar?
Escher headed upstairs to the loo.
But was caught in the grip,
Of a huge Mobius strip
Full of lizards. I swear this is true.
Though increasingly desperate to pee,
He found “Up” would suddenly be,
Down. Very weird.
So he died, as he feared,
Of a distended bladder, you see.
In thirty seconds or fewer,
Calder twists his imprimatur,
Into various wires,
And contrives, with mere pliers,
A cow. And a coil of manure.
As a tot, Michelangelo drew
Seven saints overhead in the loo.
But his mother liked stenciling,
And covered his penciling,
With repeats of a pink cockatoo.
In research since Munch has been gone,
A shocking conclusion was drawn.
The actual name
Munch wrote on the frame,
Wasn't "The Scream" but "The Yawn."
My dots are too large, Seurat thought.
So he plucked at his brush till he got
Down to one single bristle.
“Ah, oui,” he cried, “this’ll
Be just what I need for my Jatte.”
There Once Was a Man from Wherever
Are there limerick laws that declare,
That this man must be from some where?
What is it worth
That this guy is from Perth,
If he could just as well be from Bel Air?
There once was a man from…wherever.
Is this place-name convention so clever?
Or does it just fill a gap,
With a rhyme from a map,
And is thus an unseemly endeavor?
Say your fifth line ends with “eureka.”
And the second with “dash of paprika.”
No rhyme for line one?
Do this and you’re done:
“There once was a man from Topeka.”
Poughkeepsie, Pluto, Purdue,
Nantucket, Nome, Timbuktu.
If God ever pondered
The syllables squandered,
He’d banish us all to haiku.
Poets, beware. You will rue
Dwelling on where, and not who.
These locations do not
Further the plot.
Plus, Rand McNally might sue.
Rhyming with Consonants
A poet from East Halifax
Was obsessed with special effects.
For example, “fix”
He would rhyme with “fox,”
Or with “fakes.” Folks, these are facts.
You say only vowels make a rhyme?
He says consonants, too, love to roam.
Let your brain then make room,
For a rhyme like rum,
And look: there’s still rim and ram.
Fear not—our poet’s no fool.
He’ll sniff out a “rhyme” without fail.
Such as fall, fell, feel, fill,
And fowl, foul, file, foil.
He never runs out of fuel.
Feigned, fanned, fawned,
Fend, fiend, fund,
Something can always be found.
It’s a highwire act, and fate’ll
Intervene, if you don’t have the fettle.
But somehow the feat’ll,
Never be futile.
Well, sometimes, perhaps, but not fatal.
Thus we can happily construct:
A beached and desperate trout,
To find water, broke into a trot.
A definite treat,
To see such a trait,
Especially in downtown Detroit.
A couple, spooning in Spain,
Grabbed a taxi and went for a spin.
But they tragically spun,
And both broke their spine,
And never again could they spawn.
As I age my hair becomes blonder,
And my diet boringly blander.
I grow steadily blinder,
And afraid of a blunder,
Like catching my beard in a blender.
The crowd has about had its fill,
Of this ref, whose calls are all foul.
We denounce him in full,
But for him that’s just fuel.
Boos cannot, I feel, foil a fool.
Farmer Hoid who'd had bees 'round his head,
Wore a hood in his field when he hayed.
But then when he hoed,
He neglected to heed
The hornets, who then stung his hide.
A lass, Eloise, paid less
Than fourteen bucks for a dress.
But the lace came loose,
On account of the lice,
So she leased it to Liz at a loss.
So this boar goes into a bar.
Sees this polar bear from afar.
Says the boar, "Have a beer"?
Says the bear, "Let's get bare."
So they do, at the bear's place. Burrr.