Limerick Niyamagrahah

I just got an email from Kurma Dasa or Kurma Prabhu or The Limerick Poet Laureate of Australia as he is also known.  He asked me to post this to my blog, as he takes limerick writing very seriously (being The Limerick Poet Laureate of Australia and all).  In my opinion it smacks of being too attached to the limerick rules and regulations, but I guess you have to be strict in order to be good.
Here it is, Kurma’s limerick rules and regulations.  I’m sorry to spoil all the fun.

Harbol Devadeva dd,

In a bona-fide limerick, the stressed syllable for lines 1, 2 and 5 should
be the LAST syllable of each line. And keep the syllable number per line
strict (eg, 8-8-6-6-8), else it is pretty shoddy work.

So this:

There once was a girl from the ashram
Who’s gluten on a stick were the bomb
Hard working, not lazy
She lookd a bit crazy
When dressed like Devambo out of ‘nam

Would be better like this:

There once was a girl from Ashram
Who’s gluten-on-stick was ‘de bam’
Hard working, not lazy
She look’d a bit crazy
When dressed like Devambo from ‘Nam

and remember:

The limerick packs laughs anatomical
Into space that is quite economical;
The good ones I’ve seen
Are seldom so clean,
Whilst the clean ones are seldom so comical.

For more Limerick Rules, go to

As if any of us can handle more limerick rules.  
Lucky for me, Kurma Prabhu has agreed to judge the contest (but still submit your entries to me at  subject: contest), sparing me from any more limerick related emails from him and also releasing me from the awkward position of trying to figure out if I have to disqualify my mother-in-law’s awesome limerick because she is family. Betsy, I’m keeping you in the contest since there is an independent judge.
My dream has always been to have my inbox flooded with emails from Kurma Prabhu (Yamuna Devi, too…but she is off the grid…must keep fantasies a smidge realistic).  The emails would say things like, “No, but try adding two tablespoons of flour.”  Or, “I prefer using whole peppercorns, freshly ground. You’ll notice the difference.”  Maybe even, “You can omit the last ingredient entirely but don’t forget to sift!”  You know, answers to my cooking questions which arise throughout the course of the day but to whom I have no one to ask.  But instead of cooking emails, I am eliciting limerick emails.  
Life is so twisted.

And for those of you interested in being a wee bit subversive with your writing, check this out from Wikipedia:


There is a sub-genre of poems that take the twist and apply it to the limerick itself. These are sometimes called anti-limericks.

The following example, of unknown origin, subverts the structure of the true limerick by changing the number of syllables in the lines.

There was a young man from Japan
Whose limericks never would scan.
When asked why this was,
He answered “because
I always try to fit as many syllables into the last line as ever possibly I can.”

Some examples exploit the strict form of the limerick to lead the listener into expecting a particular conclusion (sometimes one that would be obscene or shocking), and then derive humour from cunningly avoiding the expected words. The following example, attributed to W.S. Gilbert, follows the meter of a limerick but deliberately breaks the rhyme scheme, in a parody of a limerick by Lear.

There was an old man of St. Bees,
Who was stung in the arm by a wasp;
When they asked, “Does it hurt?”
He replied, “No, it doesn’t,
But I thought all the while ‘t was a Hornet.”[5]


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