Limericks are usually five-line poems which follow a rhyme scheme of AABBA (for those who don’t know, that means the first, second, and fifth lines rhyme with one another, and the third and fourth lines rhyme). On top of that, limericks are almost always either funny or crude (often both), although to be fair, humor is in the ear of the listener, so don’t take this guideline too seriously.
Here’s an example for you with the rhyming pattern identified:
Once I found fish in the sky (A)
Who bubbled as they floated by, (A)
But the second I blinked (B)
They swam down the sink (B)
With garbage disposal on ‘high. (A)
Very often, the third and fourth lines of a limerick are shorter than the others, and they’re commonly written in anapestic meter (check out my next article to learn what that means), but as with all things artistic, these are details which are wide open to interpretation.
Limericks are a lot of fun to write, though, and can be sickeningly catchy, so give this form a try! Even if this isn’t the first you’ve heard of limericks, it may still be the first you’ve heard them explained, so try your hand at one. You might just fall in love with them!
A very big thank you to @joreggeltszki for the wonderful limerick example. For more examples of poems written using this form search the hashtag #limerick on Instagram, or visit our community here.