A Town in Ireland

There once was a limericking bloke
Who surpassed many other such folk
He’d fashion a rhyme
In excellent time
And end with a suitable joke

Immodest, maybe, but if the shoe fits, you’ve found an exemplary purveyor of footware. Loyal readers of the ’snail will know that I have a fondness for the limerick and a growing love of comic versifying. I’m a sitting duck, then, as opposed to a hen, for a project like the Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick Form, which aims to create one for every word in the English language, starting with Aa- to Ah-. Just hearing about this insane undertaking unlocked the sluice gates of my mind—particularly after this:

Take, for example, the definition of “acanthopterygii” ... a superorder or other category of teleost fishes containing originally all those having the anterior rays of the dorsal and anal fins stiff and spiny (as the basses, perches, and mackerels).... If you can condense this into just five lines with an AABBA rhyming pattern, please contact us! We’re having one hell of a time with this one.

I like a challenge...

The acanthopterygii fishes
Are good in all kinds of fish dishes
Their fins are quite spiny
They’re ever so briny
And honestly, they taste delicious

Once I was hooked, the rhymes kept reeling me in. I signed up and added a dozen more. It would be overkill to repeat them all here; so I will.

Historical Note: I’ve now copied all of these to another part of the site for easier updating and maintenance; some of these early versions are a bit rough around the edges.

If it is your especial dream
To question the things that don’t seem
So well understood
Just pull on your hood
And head for the fair Academe

There really is no point in waiting
If you have a lust that needs sating
Look for the red light
And the girls of the night
You’ll find them all accommodating

It’s hardly a musical crime
If the tunes that you play aren’t sublime
But I’ll really be pissed
If your accompanist
Finds it impossible to keep time

It may seem amusing and neat
To tackle this challenging feat
In extra-fast times
But all the best rhymes
Are those that you slowly accrete

The flammable gas called acetylene
Has hydro- and carbon, not metal, in
The flame’s a delight
It burns very bright
But the odour is rather unsettlin’

There once was a man from Dundee
Who hammered away at his knee
He gave it some whacks
With his almighty axe

Phew. That’s a lot of limer... Oh God. He’s not finished.

If you see something that’s adnascent
It means it’s growing up adjacent
To some other thing
Inert or living
About which it feels complacent

An Aussie bloke knows how to foight
An’ duck’n’doive with all ’is moight
’E’s dexterous and skilled
And never gets killed
You could say that ’e is adroit

Dutch advocaat is a liqueur
About whose contents I am sure
There’s lemon and eggs
And rum to add legs
And lay you flat out on the floor1

The folk of the stone age weren’t all thick;
Some of their tools were terrific.
They made them by dint
Of copper and flint
Throughout the age aeneolithic.

If under some museum glass
Is a beetle with bottom of brass
Don’t be coy about it
Come right out and shout it
“That bug’s got an aeneous arse!”2

Madagascar’s Aepyornis,3
The biggest bird ever was born is.
Its ten gallon eggs
And two metre legs
Like no other fowl that is gone is.

The fish in your tank think it’s great
When you add some air to their state
They feel elation
From water aeration
So don’t you just stand there—aerate!

A weather forecaster with plans, he
Thought “meteorologist” fancy
But knew he’d do better
To mimic belles-lettres
And say he worked in aeromancy

Some people think that it’s insane
To set foot in an aeroplane
It’s better, they’ve found,
To remain on the ground
And travel by bus, car or train

The noise that you usually give
When strangled until you don’t live
Is a choking sound
As you fall to the ground
A “ch-ch-ch-” affricative

“Aha!” you exclaim in surprise
When you cannot quite credit your eyes
It’s what you might say
At some curious display
Or when you are told something wise

1. Scots do actually pronounce “sure” as “shoo-r” and “floor” as “floo-r”, even if I don’t.
2. Aeneous: “brassy; brass-coloured (like some beetles).”
3. The Malagasy stress the final syllable in their island’s name (Madagas-car), which helps the first line scan properly.


The trouble is that limericking rapidly takes over your brain. I couldn’t stop thinking in AABBA, even at three o’clock in the morning. Which was when I came up with these non-lexicographical extras (warning: not suitable for the young or infirm):

A bishop and actress enamoured
One night got progressively hammered
They took off their clothes
From their frocks to their toes
’Til “I need a d-drink” he stammered

There once was a rhino who lucked
Upon a duck stuck in a duct
The rhino said “Mate,
Pull your beak through the grate,
’Cos if I use my horn then you’re fucked.”


As I drifted fitfully off to sleep, one last verse came to me:

Jesus, my mind is a mess
Of limerick poems endless
Will it ever stop
Churning out all this glop?

I’ll leave that one for you to guess.

Here’s what people said about this entry.

I should parenthetically note
That I’m not alone in this boat
The Funkwit, Paul Cowan
Is also here rowin’
Take a look at the ones that he wrote:


(Paul, if you pronounce your name “Cow-an” instead of “Co-wan”, please accept my grovelling apology.)

Added by Rory on a Friday in August.

Why of all the nefarious doins,
That you could be tryin' here, Ewins!
Instead of kow-towin'
You've mispronounced "Cowan"!
Now there be trouble a-brewins*.

* this would be a lot easier if your surname was "Ewing", you know.

Added by Paul on a Saturday in August.


If to the Funkwit you are goin’
There’s one thing that you should be knowin’
There’s more than one way
His surname to say
So pronounce it “Cow-an”, not “Co-wan”

Added by Rory on a Saturday in August.