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How to write Lyrical Limericks & Poems That Pay
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 The secrets of success in writing verse that serves a purpose.

  700 Limericks & How to Write Them 

Popular download version also available.

ISBN 978-1-4452-6266-6 (Order online or from your local bookstore)

What is a Limerick?
The definition of a limerick is a single verse poem of five lines rhyming AABBA with a set rhythmical pattern.
 More details here:

Can you give me an example of a limerick?

?A man with a hole in his head
Decided to stay safe in bed.
He sat in the gloom
From morning till noon
?And now I feel better,? he said.?

From ?700 Limericks and How to Write Them? Them by William Clark. Popular Download version also available. Download  Details below.

Do you know any good limericks?
There are lots of limericks to read here:

Do limericks come from Ireland?
There is a place in Ireland called ?Limerick? and it has been guessed that this is the source of this popular verse form but it is not proven. William Clark, has a new theory to be published soon.

Are there limericks on Facebook?
Yes, try this link  Clean Limericks

Are limerick poems suitable for children?
Yes, they are very good for learning about how poetry works and how to write your own. There are dirty limericks where some people like to be rude and offensive but most parents think kids should avoid these. Clean Limericks for all Occasions is suitable for children and available as a down load for Kindle, iPad and other mobile devices. See above right.

Do limericks count as poetry?
There is no precise definition of what constitutes poetry so it is OK to call a limerick a poem. Most people regard the limerick as a piece of silly verse but William Clark has demonstrated that it is very versatile and can be used for serious subjects. They are very good for romantic verse and St Valentine's Day cards and messages. 

Should non-creative children be asked to write their own limericks?
Some would argue that all children are potentially creative and so having a go won't do any harm. You never know, they might have a latent talent that only requires a little push to get going. Writing a limerick can lead to real poetry and song lyrics. You never know till you try.

Who has written the most limericks?
William Clark has written nearly a thousand but no doubt others have surpassed that. It is quality that counts not quantity.

How would you write a limerick with a theme?
Decide on the theme. If the theme word is awkward to rhyme do not have it at the end of the line or you will have to be very inventive.

Say the theme is cats:

There was a young man with a cat
That grew most enormously fat.
When sat on his bed
It crouched on his head
Till everyone thought it a hat!

If the theme is hippopotamus it might be wiser to shorten it to hippo or use it before the line end:

Hippopotamus males are quite large;
At speed through the water they barge.
It pays at the sound
To not be around.
If you move they will probably charge!

Who made limericks famous?
Edward Lear published his ?A Book of Nonsense?, in the reign of Queen Victoria, that was filled with funny limerick verse. It became very popular.

Are limericks from Limerick?
Some people believe this is the case but William Clark disputes it.

Why are limericks often dirty or rude?
They do not have to be but they were popular in rough taverns and ale houses in Britain in past times. The people were coarse and found rudeness funny especially as religious people were easily offended.

Is a Haiku a kind of limerick?
No, a haiku is a type of specialized short poem from Japan and completely different from a limerick. See: or

What makes you like a limerick?
The rhythm and rhyme with the irregular third and fourth lines followed by a punchline seems to tickle the human mind. The punch line is often very funny and surprising.

How can you be sure a limerick works?
To check a limerick download this free Limerick Checker from:

How many lines are in a limerick?
Five lines in a true limerick. The third and fourth could be seen as a single line with an internal rhyme. That was the way Edward Lear wrote them.

How can you write a limerick poem?
Study a few examples and grasp the rhythm then practice. Good advice can be found here:
700 Limericks & How To Write Them

What is the form of a limerick?
Five lines rhyming AABBA. See:

What is the rhyme scheme of the limerick?

Why is the rhyme scheme of the limerick AABBA?
The simplest answer is that it just is. If you like maths you might like to read the self-similar-syncopations-fibonacci
 theories of Kevin Jones

Is Limerick always spelled with a capital?
If it refers to the place name of Limerick in Ireland, yes. The poetic verse form of limerick is not capitalized.

What is the origin of the limerick?
This is not known for definite but they have been in print from the 1800s. The name is usually believed to be from the City or County of Limerick in Ireland.

Do you think that limericks qualify as poetry?
They are usually not serious and so many people dismiss them as nonsense but they can be used for serious subjects and so deserve to be called poetry. Some examples of poetic limericks: 

Where can I find some good limericks ?
Here: 700 Limericks & How To Write Them

When is National Limerick Day?
May 12th, the date of Edward Lear's birthday.

Do limericks always have to be silly?
No, they often are and the limerick form is very good for nonsense rhymes but they are also used for romantic verse and William Clark uses them for serious and romantic verse:

Let love like a lotus unfold;
Be mine to have and to hold.
When I look at you
I know you are true:
A hallmark is found on pure gold!

How many syllables in limericks
Thirty four to thirty nine depending on whether or not the ending of the rhyming words are male or female). ?There was a young man with a bat? or ?There was a young man who was batting?. 

In the first line there are eight syllables and in the alternative there are nine. Three lines of eight equals twenty four plus two of five equals ten. This gives thirty four. With all female endings thirty nine. With Three female and two male we get thirty seven Three male and two female equals thirty six.

It is also possible to add unstressed syllables without destroying the rhythm: ?There were always young men with a bat.? The first stress on the syllable ?al?.

How many lines in a limerick?
Usually five but sometimes the third and fourth lines are written as one with an internal rhyme.

What are the similarities between free verse poetry and limericks?
Not many. Limericks have a very definite structure or form with rhythm and rhyme but free verse is, as its name implies, formless. Both are usually arranged in lines which is about the only similarity.

Are there romantic limericks that are not sexual?
Yes, William Clark has written many that express the joy of romantic, platonic love.

Deep in my heart glows an ember,
A lingering kiss from December.
Just give it a blow,
A blazing will grow,
And we'll kindle a love to remember!

More can be found here:

Do limericks have to have "Nantucket" in them to be real limericks?
Most certainly not. The best limericks are clean, funny and often romantic.

Is there a food limerick that rhymes with willie?

There was a bright fellow called Willie
Was fed by his lady friend, Millie.
She baked him a cake
That made his gut ache,
Now wasn't that terribly silly?

Does anyone know of some original limericks?

What are some examples of limericks?
See above.

Does a limerick have to have a certain number of syllables per line?
There is a definite standard but it can be varied if the lines sound good. Genius makes its own rules. See above.

Where can I find some cool limericks?
See 700 Limericks & How To Write Them

Can anyone help me write limericks?
See above.
Can you recommend a Limerick video?
Try this video channel

Are humorous limericks considered poetry?
Why not? The subject of a poem can be anything you can think of. It probably wouldn't be considered as serious poetry of course but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Where can I find Christmas limericks?
Clean Limericks for all Occasions has a good selection.

Are there limericks about Easter?
The spring holiday is celebrated in verse: see above.

Has anyone written clean limericks about flowers?
You can try Flower Limerick Poems for some really good ones.

Can I find a limerick about food?
Take your fill from Food Limerick Poems

Is there a limerick about a cowboy hat?
Try felt cowboy hat limerick

Are limericks copyright?
Yes, you should have the copyright holders permission before publishing them.

Some useful links:
U.S. Copyright Office:
Copyright myths:
The Copyright Licensing Agency:

I need some limericks for a project

Where can I find funny or quirky birthday limericks?

Can someone help me write limericks?
There are a lot of tips here: 700 Limericks & How To Write Them

Are there any limericks in Shakespeare?
Othello, Act II Scene III, has:

?And let me the canakin clink, clink;
And let me the canakin clink
A soldier?s a man;
A life?s but a span;
Why, then, let a soldier drink.?

This is close to standard limerick form.

How can I publicize my brilliant limericks?
Start your own website or blog. You could also consider an e-book. Other people might not think them so brilliant! Unless you are very famous publishers are unlikely to be interested.

Would a girl be impressed if I wrote her a lot of dirty limericks?
Best to stick to romantic or funny ones if you are unsure as you might offend her. Most girls like to be appreciated for themselves and a poem or limerick can express your liking for them.

Example of limericks about love?

See here:

I'm looking for a book of limericks and poems?
700 Limericks & How To Write Them

Is there anything I could do with my limericks?
Share them with friends, publish on a blog or e-book, enter competitions.

Example of a limerick by a famous author?
Here is a limerick by Edward Lear from his ?A Book of Nonsense?:

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, "It is just as I feared!--
Two Owls and a Hen, four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard."

Any Limericks about St. Patricks Day?

Se above: Clean Limericks for all  Occasions

Is there a limericks about a dog?
Well there is now...

My puppy grew into a dog
Then jumped up and over a log.
He raced down the road
Without Highway Code,
And ran himself over in fog!

Is there a limerick about a cat?

My pussy is getting quite snotty,
And often she's being quite haughty.
To be fit to be seen
She's needing a clean.
Should I start with her nose or her botty?

What is a slimerick?
This is a type of extended limerick with shortened lines.

Can you progess from limericks to lyrics?
Yes. Here is one written by myself. Remember 50 States is a song celebrating the USA. Great fun for group singing.

  Copyright 2011 William Clark


700 Limericks & How To Write Them  700 Limericks & How to Write Them 

ISBN 978-1-4452-6266-6 (Order online or from your local bookstore)

 Popular download version also available.

William Clark the programmer of the Limerick Checker is a published and broadcast poet.


Copyright W.Clark 2009
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