As with the pun, appreciation of the limerick is a cultivated taste. I’m still working on it, very intermittently.

Ernest W. Lefever has put together a little collection of 230 of them in Liberating the Limerick (Hamilton Books). There is, for instance, this:

       The fabulous Wizard of Oz
       Retired from his business becoz
          What with up-to-date science
          To most of his clients
       He wasn’t the Wizard he woz.

And this:

       There was a faith-healer from Deal
       Who said: “Though my pain isn’t real
          If I sit on a pin,
          And it punctures my skin
       I dislike what I fancy I feel.”

And this:

       The Devil, who plays a large part,
       Has tricked his way into your heart
          By simple insistence
          On his non-existence,
       Which really is devilish smart.

Limericks have a bad reputation—or, in the view of some, a good reputation—for being naughty. For instance:

       A bather whose garments were strewed
       On the beach where she bathed in the nude
          Saw a man come along
          And, unless I’m quite wrong,
       You expected this line to be lewd.

There’s a whole book of them where those came from. Probably Lefever did not include this by W. H. Auden because it isn’t a true limerick, but I can’t resist passing it along:

       To the man in the street, who, I’m sorry to say,
       Is a keen observer of life,
       The word intellectual suggests right away
       A man who’s untrue to his wife.

I promise. That’s it for light verse in this space. At least for a while.


In addition to which :

Massachusetts demanded that Catholic Charities place adoptive children with same-sex couples, and, in response, Catholic Charities opted out of the important work of adoption. In the June/July issue of First Things , Gregory Popcak explains what went wrong and why it is both courageous and compassionate to insist that adoptive children have both a mother and a father. Isn’t it time for you to subscribe to First Things ?

Articles by Richard John Neuhaus

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