Lockdown Limericks

By Julian Putley

Limericks. What fun! They can be clever, naughty or topical and should give the listener or reader a smile or even a good belly laugh.

A limerick is a five-line poem that follows a definite pattern. The first, second and fifth lines must rhyme and the third and fourth lines must rhyme. Simply put it will read like this AABBA. Then there are the stressed syllables – three in each of the first two lines as well as the last line and two stressed syllables in each of the third and fourth. Phew! That’s all the technical stuff.

OK, here’s an example:

Belafonte sang a song, ‘Yellow Bird’
A ditty that had to be heard
A bananaquit
That was ever so sweet
Was the star of the song, how absurd!

Another, a little risqué:

A young lady arrived from Colehill
She sat down on top a mole hill
The mole pokes his nose
Up, as far as it goes
Now the lady’s quite well but the mole’s ill

It was Edward Lear who made limericks famous in his Book of Nonsense published in 1846.

I have written three books of limericks and there are some golden rules. Limericks must be fun. They can be naughty, even risqué but not vulgar – and there’s a fine line here. A good limerick will also tell a story.

While the word limerick refers to the city or County of Limerick, Ireland, historians believe limerick poems originated in England in the early eighteenth century. The rhyme and rhythm structure of limericks are thought to have originated from a parlour game that always included the refrain, “Won’t you come to Limerick?” By the way, if you read the first line of a limerick that ends in Nantucket or even bucket, take a deep breath – it may become offensive.

Here’s a limerick that is borderline but is accepted because of its clever use of nearly rhyming words:

There was a young lady from Bude
Who came down the stairs in the nude
Her father said what- umm
A bloody great bottom
And smacked it as hard as he cude

There are tricks to creating a good limerick. Don’t fall into the trap of writing the lines before you have the rhyming words in your mind. There are rhyming word dictionaries available, but I have never used one. My trick is to go through the alphabet, starting from ‘a’ and listing all the rhyming words. There are also words with two sister consonants, so if you are looking for a rhyming word for ash then you will arrive at cash, but also crash will work too.

So here we are in the middle of a long and tedious lockdown. I have wiled away some hours coming up with relevant (I hope) limericks.

There was a young lady from Luz
Who would lie on the sand for a snooze
The pandemic said ‘no’
To your house you must go
So now she’s at home on the booze

The Algarve is known for its beaches
In summer eat some of its peaches
Sitting out in the sun
With juice that will run
Down your chin and have you in stitches

Today he felt like a fool
Left his mask out there by the pool
He was taken to task
For forgetting his mask
Now he knows it just wasn’t cool


Sometimes, in order to tell a complete story, more than one verse is necessary:

At last, it’s time for a jab
It’s a worry with the news from the lab
Should I vaccinate or
With Boris and his gift of the gab

Now I’ve just had my first injection
There are signs of possible rejection
The doubt still lingers
Cos I’ve grown six fingers
Not counting a raging infection


We asked our readers to be creative and send us their limericks. Here they are:

A nasty new virus called SARS
Has closed all our cafes and bars
As I sit home alone
And gaze at my phone
I wonder what life’s like on Mars

by Joseph K. Mulcahy

There was an old boy from Gillside
The sight of whom made baddies cry
He caused a lot of strife
For his poor old wife
So much that she broke down and cried

by Phillip Neate

I heard they ran out of the med
And are using seawater instead
It was just at the dawn
When I found a small prawn
In the med right next to my bed

by Anon

Help “Algarve Families in Need”
With your cash, support and speed
So that all families in the Algarve
Because of Covid would starve
Do better because of good deeds

by Chris Hogg

The was a young lady from Odiaxere
Who paid for everything in cash
She can’t go out for a meal
To avoid getting ill
But can’t wait to go out on the lash

by Chris Hogg

There was a young bowler from Cosham
Who took out his bowls to wash em!
His wife said Jack if you don’t put them back
I’ll jump off the table and squash em!

by Chris Hogg

There was a restaurateur in Lagos
Who business is under the cosh
Instead of getting frustrated
He’s had the whole place decorated
So when he opens again it will be posh

by Chris Hogg

The football pundit Gary Lineker
Had two injections of Astra Zeneca
Because of the Covid risk
He would only eat Walkers crisps
His favorite flavour was Salt & Vinegar

by Chris Hogg

There was a girl from West Ealing
Who tried to walk on the ceiling.
She very soon found
More luck on the ground
And now her wounds are all healing.

by John Mainwood

An eager young fella from Leeds
Once planted a packet of seeds.
The flowers all died
He cried and he cried
And now all he looks at are weeds.

by John Mainwood

There was a young lady from Luz,
Who had trouble paying her dues
It would all be okay
For this poor young lady
If she could only keep off the booze!

by Paul Neate

There was an old lady from Highfield,
Who was both happy and very well heeled,
When asked to lockdown,
She complied with a frown,
And now she can’t wait to unshield !

by Paul Neate

There was a young man from Nantucket ,
Who married a woman called Buckett,
After fifty years,
It ended in tears,
And the old man said ‘oh f..k it!’

by Paul Neate

There was a young mother from Luz.
Whose evenings were spent on the booze.
Now schools open again.
Home schoolings a pain.
Cheered exhausted young mother from Luz.!!!…..

by Sue Hollow

This terrible covid nineteen
Has made me feel like a sardine
Enclosed in a tin
Unable to grin
And hoping it’s only a dream

by Joseph K Mulcahy


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