THREE TRICK LIMMERICK (with introduction)


Ah, is there any form of Poetry easier for a lazy Poet to spout out on a laid-back Sunday afternoon than the humble Limerick? Perhaps it’s just the diluted Irish Blood trickling through my veins, but that old 5 Line/AABBA rhyme scheme just seems to write itself once you’ve introduced your Subject Matter into the First Line, reduced, of course, to the sing-song 8 or 9 syllables required by Tradition.

The Second Line is generally a further development of the Subject Matter introduced in the First Line, forming a rhythmic & Rhymic Couplet. A classic example is the old favourite; “There was a young man from Nantucket/ Who married a girl with a bucket..” etc.

Going all Hegelian here, if the opening couplet is the Thesis, then lines 3 & 4 are Antithesis, and it is here that complications, logical corollaries and plot developments from the initial Proposition arise. By shortening these two lines length to 5 – 6 syllables each, a sense of Urgency is engendered that propels the Limerick to the inevitable Synthesis of the Fifth Line where the plot lines come together and resolve. The return in the Fifth to the longer line length of the opening lines, also gives the Listener a satisfactory sensation of both rhythmic and thematic closure. The humour of the Fifth often takes the form of wry understatement, or an Anti-Climactic Conclusion, perhaps undermining the pretensions of the protagonists, an in-joke shared between Reader & Limericist at their expense. The revolutionary potential of this form of seditious subtext is obvious and was often exploited by Feudal Poets to undermine the Medieval Paradigm.  Feudal Tyrants as a result greatly feared the Power of Satiric Poetry, and at times the Limerick was banned. Such Prohibitions, naturally enough, only made the Limerick more popular

From these few preliminary words, the thoughtful reader will no doubt swiftly come to the realisation that the much despised and disparaged Limerick, is as complex and disciplined a minimalist poetic form as the much over-rated Haiku.

Indeed, the Limerick may prove to be more versatile, for example, how often have you heard a Haiku that made you laugh?

No, Haiku are always full of themselves, pompous and Po-faced,

while the Limerick, tho generally light-hearted, is also a comfortable vessel for Satire, and the Laughter of Satire, is after all, naught but a Shield against the Tears of Tragedy.



There was a young soldier called Stan,

Who went to Afghanistan,

He took so much Smak

That when he got back,

He went straight on the Methadone plan.


Stan thought about things for awhile,

And then with a shrug and a smile,

He used his contacts

To import lots more Smak,

(Well, that’s what they said at his Trial).


So Stan hired a Lawyer from Hell,

His court case was going real well,

Till the Cops played the Tapes,

And now he gets raped

Every night in his Prison Cell.

Afghani Opium Fields next to Britain’s “Camp Bastion”





The Reverend Hellfire is a practised Performance Poet,

President of the Kurilpa Institute of Creativity Inc.,

and an Ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanism

AND the Church of the Universe.

Cheap at the Price.



~ by reverendhellfire on May 21, 2017.

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