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How to Write a Limerick

Learn to Write a Limerick: A Simple Guide

Get ready to write a Limerick! May 12 is National Limerick Day, so it's a good time to learn to write one.

This silly type of poetry has been around for centuries. It's a fun way for children and adults to express their creativity and humor.

What's a Limerick?

Limericks are believed to have originated in the Irish town of Limerick (hence the name) in the 18th century. They quickly became popular throughout Ireland and beyond. Edward Lear, a famous English poet, further popularized the Limerick in the 19th century with his book "A Book of Nonsense." May 12 is his birthday, so that's how the date became National Limerick Day. 

The Structure of a Limerick

Before we write a Limerick, let's break down its structure:
  • Limericks are five-line poems.
  • The first, second, and fifth lines rhyme.
  • The third and fourth lines rhyme.
  • The first line usually introduces a person or place.
  • The middle of the poem sets up a silly story.
  • The end usually has a punchline or surprise twist.

How to Write a Limerick in 4 Easy Steps

Step 1: Choose your topic. Think of a person, place, or thing you want to write about. Maybe it's your pet, a favorite toy, or a family member. For example, we'll pick one of our latest toys as a subject:

There once was a caterpillar named Bill
Who loved to eat leaves and just chill
He took a big nap one day
In the long month of May
And woke up as a butterfly named Will.

Garden Environment Butterfly

Step 2: Brainstorm rhyming words. To start, pick words that are simple to rhyme. For example, if your poem is about a bus, start with the end of the word "-us." Then, work down the alphabet to find words that rhyme with it. You'll quickly find options like cuss, fuss, Gus, and more! Maybe you could write:

The name of our school bus is Gus.
And Gus could kick up a fuss!
Gus would drive us to class,
With remarkable sass,
And sometimes that old bus would cuss!

School Environment Blocks

3. Keep it silly! Limericks are supposed to be weird and even a little absurd. This means you can go a little wild and goofy with your poetry. 

An armadillo can roll down a hill,
By curling up into a pill.
If it slams into a rock,
It can go into shock,
And get a big dent in its shell!

desert environment blocks

4. Use simple language. Limericks are meant to be easy to understand and enjoyable for all ages, so don't use big, fancy words. For example, "Alligator" might be hard to rhyme three times! So try naming your alligator something easier:

There once was a gator named Dean,
Who ate frogs to keep himself lean.
He caught three in a row,
But they put on a show,
And Dean laughed so hard he turned green!

Swamp Environment Blocks

Time to rhyme with Limericks!

It's time to write your own Limerick! Remember, this type of poetry is about being silly and making people smile or groan. Let your imagination run amuck. See where it takes you! Here's one last example to inspire you:

The Dachshund is oft called a Weiner Dog
You'll seldom find a keener dog!
Though they burrow and dig,
They don't look like a pig,
So you'll never call them a Weiner Hog!

Neighborhood Environments