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Life Among the Mormons, and Other Stuff

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Monday, February 1, 2010
Limericists of the World Unite! You Have Nothing to Lose but Your . . . uh . . . uh . . .

As I post this, the Deadline of Deadlines looms. Entries to the Third Annual LocalCommentary.com Groundhog Day Limerick Contest must arrive in my Inbox by 12:00 noon, Mountain Standard Time, tomorrow -- that is, February 2, Groundhog Day.

This year's limerick categories are American Fork, Utah; Groundhog Day; National Politics and Government; and Life Among the Mormons. Mix and match these themes as you please; prizes will be for the best limericks, irrespective of category -- as long as they fit into at least one of these categories, that is.

Details are here.

To inspire you -- not daunt you, I hope -- here are several past winners.

From the estimable Sam Beeson, a limerick writer of national renown, if such a thing is possible:

If the valley could tweak and then torque,
And the great Utah Lake could uncork,
And the cities between
Could never be seen,
We'd have Spanish/American Fork.

We can boast, we can yell, we can call!
We can sing, "A.F. High's best of all!"
But deep in our hearts
We ain't got the smarts,
'Cause our mascot's a Neanderthal.

In the great presidential campaign
Only those with the riches will reign.
If McDonald's gives money
To anyone, honey,
You can guess they'll McSponsor McCain.

In a world full of terror and treason
It is hard to find wisdom or reason
Why we laugh or we cry,
When we fully rely
On a groundhog to tell us the season.

In the first of these next two past winners, Utah poet Marilyn Nielson (nee Nelson) achieves a remarkable feat, using "Ahmadinejad" in verse, "and correctly, I might add":

Critics gripe with such glee---"Bush's chin is odd!
He's provincial! An oaf! Hardly been abroad!" --
That they quite lose their heads!
(But they don't wind up dead --
Grace not shown by their friend Ahmadinejad.)

Though the ordin'ry groundhog's not brawny,
Ere winter's cruel weather is gone, he
Finds holes mausolean.
Can you blame him for bein'
Resentful of Phil Punxsutawney?

One more winning blast from the past: local artist Sam Nielson's "Reasons for Relish in a Groundhog's Pessimism":

Long cold winters inflame the irascible;
Make post-rodent eclipses less passable.
Yet I personally dread
The congestion-filled head
That renders spring's coming "alas"-able.

As you see, the competition can be keen. The delight is in the well-turned verse issuing from your (probably figurative) pen, whether it wins or not.

If you need a little more last-minute inspiration . . . You know the old saw about imagining the audience in their underwear, if speaking makes you public nervous? Try imagining a boss, colleague, neighbor, spouse, or parent in a limerick.

If you need a lot more inspiration, here are about 160 limericks from an Atlantic contest. A few don't scan properly, but many are quite good, and some are gems.

Last and most likely least, here are some little verses I conjured on my own just now. I'm not saying they're good, but they're limericks . . .

There once was a prez named Obama.
His term was a grand spend-o-rama.
Soon the voters so fickle,
Resenting each nickle,
Cried, "Drown us in debt, sir? Yo' mama!"

A Mormon (or Latter-day Saint)
Is a Christian, though some say she ain't,
And the sort of a neighbor
Who'll joyfully labor
Green Jello with carrots to taint.

The feds now make loans and sell cars;
The economy's still seeing stars.
I care not how they spin it;
We must urgently limit
The proliferation of czars.

Twenty-four hours.

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