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What is a Limerick?


A limerick is often a funny poem with a strong beat. Limericks are very light hearted poems and can sometimes be utter nonsense. Limerick poems are great for kids to both read and write as they are short and funny.

The Structure of a Limerick Poem

A Limerick consists of five lines.

The first line of a limerick poem usually begins with 'There was a....' and ends with a name, person or place.

The last line of a limerick is normally a little farfetched or unusual.

A limerick should have a rhyme scheme of aabba:

This means lines 1,2 and 5 rhyme and lines 3 and 4 rhyme.

Also, lines 1,2 and 5 should have 7 – 10 syllables and lines 3 and 4 should have 5 – 7 syllables.

An example of a Limerick Poem by Famous Poet Edward Lear

'There was an old man with a beard
Who said, 'It is just as I feared,
Two owls and a hen
A lark and a wren
Have all built their nests in my beard!''


Why don't you try writing a limerick poem and enter it into one of our poetry competitions? If you need help with this we have a limerick workshop that you can use.

For information on poetry types other than a limerick visit our poetry glossary – poetry types.

Poetry Types

Acrostic Epigram Lyric Shakespearean Sonnet
Ballad Free verse Ottava rima Sonnet
Ballade Haiku Pantoum Tanka Poem
Blank verse Horatian Ode Pindaric Ode Terza rima
Cinquain Irregular Ode Riddle Tetractys
Diamante Kennings Rondeau Triolet
Echo Verse Kyrielle Senryu Tyburn
Epic Limerick Shape Poem  
 
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