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Limerick Poems: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Shelley Vessels

Shelley has taught at the middle school level for 10 years and has a master's degree in teaching English.

Limericks are a structured form of poetry that is fun to read, and they are also fun to write. In this lesson, you will learn the rules of a limerick and be able to read some for inspiration!

What is a Limerick?

A limerick is traditionally a five line poem with an AABBA rhyme scheme. You're probably wondering what all that means!

A rhyme scheme is a pattern of rhyming lines in poetry. In a limerick's AABBA rhyme scheme, the first, second, and fifth lines rhyme with each other, and the third and fourth lines rhyme with one another.

There is also a pattern of syllables in the rhyming lines. In the A lines, the lines usually have eight or nine syllables, and in the B lines, there are usually five or six syllables.

Lastly, and most importantly, limericks are supposed to be fun, silly, and witty! The limericks typically start out with an introduction to a person or character, and they end with a 'punch line.'

Are Limericks from Limerick, Ireland?

Well, actually no one knows the answer to that question. There are some limerick-style poems that are said to have come from France, while others from England and Ireland. What is believed to be true, however, is that they were originally part of games at social gatherings. Limericks became popularized by a man named Edward Lear (1812-1888).

Edward Lear Examples

Let's take a look at a couple of Edward Lear's silly poems:

1. ''There was an old man with a beard,

Who said, It is just as I feared!

Two owls and a hen,

Four larks and a wren,

Have all built their nests in my beard!''

Did you notice the AABBA rhyme scheme? Did you notice that the poem started with an introduction and ended with the punch line? Can you imagine a bearded man who housed birds in his facial hair? How silly!

2. ''There was a Young Lady whose chin,

Resembled the point of a pin;

So she had it made sharp,

And purchased a harp,

And played several tunes with her chin''

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