Limericks were popularized by the artist Edward Lear (1812 – 1888), and they’re known for being grim and funny. I wrote the limericks below, and my favorites are The Big Crocodile and An Enormous Snake.
An Ant in a Shoe
There once was an ant in a shoe
Who said I’ve got nothing to do
Then a man came along
And he put his shoes on
Now that ant’s nothing more than a goo.
A man lived in Ecuador’s Embassy
In London by the Thames and the sea
Now no one’s sure where he’ll go
But there’s one thing we all know
Where ever he’s next is rent free.
There once was a beaver named Weaver
Who met a young furrier named Cheever
He said your tail’s like a paddle
But it would make a nice saddle
So he chopped off his tail with a cleaver.
The Big Crocodile
There once was a big crocodile
Who lived on the banks of the Nile
He said I love to munch and to crunch
And eat children for lunch
It’s the youth that make living worthwhile.
The Black Hole, Messier 87
There once were supermassive black holes
Whose hearts were darker than coal
Some folk found them odd
And tied them to God
Hoping they’d shine light on the soul.
The Boll Weevil
There once was a cotton boll weevil
Whom all the farmers called evil
When it ate all their cotton
They called the bug rotten
And sprayed Aldrin until it weren’t legal.
There once was a place called Bordeaux
With lamplighters who set streets aglow
Every dark night
They’d bring on the light
And in so doing they’d cast a shadow.
There once was a woman who ran
Whom some people said might be a man
They said decrease your hormone
Or else we will have you banned.
There once were a sister and brother
Whose antics annoyed their poor mother
She said Now you had better behave
Or I’ll send you both to your grave
A phrase she recalled from her mother.
There once was a Chilean named Bean
Whom a cook tried to force through a screen
She said You’ll make a fine hash
Once you’re smashed and you’re mashed
But her words were drowned out by his scream.
The Covetous Queen
There once was a covetous queen
Who wanted everything that she’d seen
She hounded the court
Until they gave their support
To render her blind as a bean.
The Dead Shot
There once was a corpse on a cot
Whose body did nothing but rot
One day a distiller moved in
He added yeast like for gin
And said I’ll name my new drink the Dead Shot.
A Doctor Named Chris
There once was a doctor named Chris
Whose surgeries went always amiss.
He said with a shake of his head
I’ve left another one dead
The families will have to get used to this.
An Enormous Snake
There once was an enormous snake
Who ate children who passed by the lake
He said if they weren’t so good raw
I’d still fill my craw
I’d just have to learn how to bake!
The Fisherman’s Wife
There once was a fisherman’s wife
Who caught a fish in the prime of its life
She said with a grin
I’ll not see you again
And she cut off its head with a knife.
There once was a deadly disease
Who traveled far and wide on a sneeze
It said Don’t wash your hands
For there are many fine lands
That I am still very anxious to see.
The Lumberjack and the Trees
There once was a grove of old trees
Who grew tall living life by the seas
Along came a strong lumberjack
Who took them down with a whack
And left stumps as tall as your knees.
The Mad Man
There once was a mad man named Jim
Who hurt everyone close to him
After he found a wife
He took her life
You can’t trust a mad man my friend.
A Man Named Ajmal
There once was a man named Ajmal
Who couldn’t be trusted at all
He said to a girl who was near
Won’t you come here my dear?
Then he bashed in her head with a maul.
A Man With No Legs
There once was a man with no legs
Who dearly loved to eat eggs
He said Give me ten hens
And I’ll never be hungry again
But they gave him no hens now he begs.
Notre-Dame de Paris
There once was a cathedral in France
Recognized by all at a glance
One day it was consumed by a fire
And down fell its spire
It shall be rebuilt and elegantly enhanced.
The Orange Cantaloupe
There once was an orange cantaloupe
Who said in a voice full of hope
Oh please do not pare me
Oh please will you spare me?
To which the fine family said Nope.
There once was a planet called Earth
The only on which there’d been birth
Its residents there
Breathed water and air
And never understood what life’s worth.
There once was a king’s wicked son
Who thought cruelty was nothing but fun
One day a thing made him sad,
And he felt so confused and so mad,
That he torched a convent of nuns.
There once was a princess named Mary
Who was frightened of anything scary
One day a lion came by
And he made the girl cry
And then he left nothing to bury.
There once was a cruel queen and king
Who forced a man to dance and to sing
Once the man was too sick to leave bed
So the royalty cut off his head
There’s always a reason to sing.
A Sarcastic Girl
There once was a sarcastic girl
Who refused to give sincerity a whirl
She said, I’m sure sincerity’s great,
Just so clear, open, and straight
For it I’d trade diamonds and pearls.
The Scorpion in the Shower
A scorpion once lived in a shower
Lying still there for many an hour
When along came a bare-ankled girl
Who turned the tap with a twirl
Now she beds in a grave with white flowers.
The Sheep Herder’s Daughter
There once was a sheep herder’s daughter
Who hated to see the sheep slaughtered
She said Oh please spare the ewe
But her father sliced it in two
So she drowned herself deep in dark water.
A Sleepless Night
One night a girl couldn’t sleep
She tossed and she turned in her sheets
She lay awake in her bed
Her hands by her head
And heard her ancient house creak.
There once was a bad educator
Whose style made the students all hate her
She was vulgar and mean
And very often obscene
She thought her harsh words made her greater.
The Termagant Wife
There once was a termagant wife
Who jabbed her husband with a dull knife
She said I must have been crazy
To have married someone so lazy
To which he agreed, You have been all of your life.
A golfer once won at the Masters
Then met with private disasters
He hurt his wife and his spine
He lost his luster and shine
Then returned to please the forecasters.
There once was a blonde president
Who always seemed unsoundly bent
His comments on Twitter
Felt sniveling and bitter
And his words too vulgar for print.
An Unusual Fellow
A man with two hearts and two heads
Said to the other If I die are you dead?
The other said Well probably
But maybe just wobbly
Though I’d rather you live longer instead.
There once was a violinist named May
Who practiced her songs night and day
One day a thief stole her violin
And she said, Lord above that’s a sin,
Why is it that You’re hindering my way?
The Voiceless Owl
There once was a voiceless owl
Who thought it made him less of a fowl
He said Oh if I were not mute
Then I would do nothing but hoot
I’d give my wings to utter a vowel.
The Young Mallard
There once was a young mallard duck
Who couldn’t say quack so said cluck
The chickens just loved him
The ducks all just snubbed him
And the woodsman took him home to be plucked.