Definitely Limericks

I wrote these for the Omnificent English Dictionary in English Form, a magnificent, ambitious, and slightly insane attempt to write a limerick for every word in the English language, one letter group at a time. You can see my additions and revisions there, but I like to keep them here as well; the menu below leads to permanent pages for each letter group. You can also see some co-written pieces, an area especially aimed at OEDILFers, and a page of limerick biographies of famous artists. One of these limericks, and a video of me reading it, featured in an AP article about the OEDILF at the end of 2017, and briefly on the Washington Post and New York Times sites. Two featured in The RSPB Anthology of Wildlife Poetry, edited by Celia Warren (A&C Black, 2011).

I’m a humble hermaphrodite, ma’am:
An increasingly rare giant clam.
For a bivalve, I’m big,
But I’m harmless, you dig?
I won’t clamp you. That ain’t what I am.

The killer clam of legend appears to be a myth: giant clams close their shells too slowly and incompletely to pose a real threat to divers, and there are no confirmed cases of death by giant clam. We’re a threat to them, though: overfishing of giant clams, for food and for their supposed aphrodisiac properties, has pushed them to extinction in some parts of the world.

I heard mah wee hedgehog opine,
“Ah cuid handle a porcupine fine,
Bit nae an echidna.”
Mah prickly pal didna
Like monotremes. “Tae sharp a spine.”

This wee beastie (who clearly lives on the Isle of Arran or some such) disnae ken that echidnas were once known as porcupines, as well as anteaters, porcupine anteaters, spiny anteaters, and—jings!—hedgehogs. Australia’s endemic fauna were often named by British settlers for animals from Europe and the Americas.

Having saved almost nothing by fifty,
I have fifteen years left to be thrifty:
Having one of those pensions
That everyone mentions
To pay for baked beans would be nifty.

My bruvver loves violence: he cuts
Through his foes with a kick to the nuts,
A few blows to the head
And some stab-wounds. Mum said,
“Our boy Nigel enjoys blood ’n’ guts.”

I’m full as a goog in Bilbao,
Eatin’ pintxos while bar-hoppin’. How
’Bout that shiny ol’ Guggenheim!
’Sfabulous lookin’. I’m
Due más cerveza ’bout now...

Frank Gehry’s extraordinary titanium-clad design for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao immediately made it one of Europe’s most famous buildings, and put the biggest city of the Basque Country squarely on the tourist map. Pintxos (the Basque spelling; in Spanish, pinchos), named for the toothpicks that hold them together, are the local tapas served in bars for a euro or two apiece. They’re often elaborately designed and almost always delicious—the perfect excuse to keep drinking beer.

Goog, pronounced like the Gugg, is Australian slang for an egg. Aussie tourists (like mi hermano y yo) who are “full as a goog” are either full of food or drunk—or both.

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