It’s National Limerick Day! Guess how we’re celebrating

By Melissa Rayner

May 12 is National Limerick Day–as to which nation’s “national”, that’s anybody’s guess, but let’s all celebrate regardless!

A-a-a-ahem, there once was a man from Nantucket, who–Hey, wait a second. Despite their recent popularity as such, not all limericks are dirty. They can be trendy and cutting-edge like these two. [1]

INTERNET JUNKY

   YouTube is quite an addiction,
   Almost worse than fan fiction
   Most people talk,
   While some like to stalk,
   And others should work on their diction.
The Math For Global Warming

   Round up supposed heat from Earth's core,
   Divide Earth's albedo by four,
      Then puff up Earth's stratus
      Of bovine-passed flatus
   With rhythms prefixed by Al Gore.

Or they can also be deeply personal and moving. [2]

A humorous picture-limerick by Edward Lear from his 1879 collection 'More Nonsense' is 
analyzed. The picture of a man riding atop a hare is accompanied by a short limerick 
that may or may not be a metaphor for suicide. It is suggested that the 
picture-limerick puns a Japanese term for suicide that had made its way 
into English usage around the time that Lear wrote it. Other interpretations 
suggest that the picture of a man atop a hare while holding on to its tail 
could be a metaphor for masturbation, which was considered then to be a 
lesser form of suicide.

There was an old man whose despair Induced him to purchase a hare. Whereon 
one fine day, he rode wholly away, Which partly assuaged his despair.

While popularly associated with Lear, the infamous author of the “suicide limerick,” the limerick probably didn’t originate with this particular poet. [3]

limerick-lear

Because at its heart, a limerick is, after all, just a poem. [4]

limerick-definition

…or, you know, a city in Ireland. [5]

limerick-ireland

Happy National Limerick Day!

 

[alert-info]

Melissa for Caricature (2)About the Author

Melissa is obsessed with books, birds, and bonbons. She is a new mom and holds an MA in Applied Sociology. She also writes fiction and skips about the interweb as Emlyn Chand.

[/alert-info]

 

REFERENCES:

  1. Morice, David. “Limerickshaws: the grand finale.” Word Ways 40.4 (2007): 300+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 11 May 2015.
  2. Dilworth, Thomas. “Edward Lear’s Suicide Limerick.” Review of English Studies 46.184 (Nov. 1995): 535-538. Rpt. in Children’s Literature Review. Ed. Rebecca Blanchard. Vol. 75. Detroit: Gale, 2002. Children’s Literature Review Online. Web. 11 May 2015.
  3. Ord, Priscilla A. “There Was an Old Derry Down Derry, Who Loved to Make Little Folks Merry: A Closer Look at the Limericks of Edward Lear.” Literary Onomastics Studies 12 (1985): 93-118. Rpt. in Poetry Criticism. Ed. Michelle Lee. Vol. 65. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Poetry Criticism Online. Web. 11 May 2015.Harmon, William. “Lear, Limericks, and Some Other Verse Forms.” Children’s Literature 10 (1982): 70-76. Rpt. in Children’s Literature Review. Ed. Jelena Krstovic. Vol. 169. Detroit: Gale, 2012. Children’s Literature Review Online. Web. 11 May 2015.
  4. Tigges, Wim. “The Limerick: The Sonnet of Nonsense?” Explorations in the Field of Nonsense. Ed. Wim Tigges. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1987. 117-133. Rpt. in Children’s Literature Review. Ed. Jelena Krstovic. Vol. 169. Detroit: Gale, 2012. Children’s Literature Review Online. Web. 11 May 2015.
  5. “(A New Travelling Map of Ireland). 10805. (54.).” British Library: 19th Century European Sheet Maps. Primary Source Media. Nineteenth Century Collections Online. Web. 11 May 2015.

One thought on “It’s National Limerick Day! Guess how we’re celebrating

  1. Hi.
    Just for the record, the “Nantucket” limerick you refer to is not, like many others are, “dirty”. Just a good pun.

    There once was a man from Nantucket
    Who kept all his cash in a bucket.
    His daughter, named Nan,
    Ran away with a man,
    And as for the bucket
    Nantucket.

    Also, just a couple of added words to your effort would make yours fit the ‘classic’ formal form:
    The YouTube is quite an addiction,
    Almost worse than the current fan fiction
    Though most people talk,
    While some like to stalk,
    Some others should work on their diction.

    Thanks for a bit of fun.

Leave a Comment