A limerick is short, but not simple. As you will find when you try to write one.

Look at this example and work out the characteristics of a limerick.


There was a young man from Nanjing

Who desperately wished he could sing.

He howled through the night

Til his neighbour took fright

And shot that poor man from Nanjing.



Here are two more examples by the man who invented limericks, calling his poetry ‘nonsense poetry’. It’s the most beautiful nonsense you will ever hear, though (he wrote ‘The Jumblies’ and ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’). His name was Edward Lear.


There was an Old Person of Buda

Whose conduct grew ruder and ruder.

Til at last with a hammer

They silenced his clamour

By smashing that Person of Buda.

There was an Old Man on some rocks

Who shut his wife up in a box.

When she said “Let me out!”

He exclaimed, “Without doubt,

You will pass all your life in that box!”

Poetry Writing

Now you try. Yes, write your own limerick. It should follow the rhyme and rhythm scheme in the examples we have discussed, it should be sharp and simply stated and, above all, it should be funny!

In this section, as with all the others, please feel free to add comments below. Here, write about what you think about limericks and how to write them, and about the limerick attempts of your classmates.

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