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).

Said the white guy, “That dude’s Larry Graham?
What a loser.” When I replied, “Dayum,”
He said, “Hey, I’m no racist
I just can’t stand a bassist.
I hate all bass guitars.” “So don’t play ’em.”

Larry Graham (b. 1946), of the funk band Sly and the Family Stone, is one of the most famous bass guitarists in rock, known for his distinctive slapping technique. Other musical genres can feature different kinds of bassists, playing the double bass, keyboard bass, or tuba.

“Don’t tackle a wombat, you fool,”
Said my uncle, “My number one rule.
Those burrowin’ badgers
Will aim for your nadgers,
And doublin’ up groanin’ ain’t cool.”

When the British first arrived in Tasmania, they named some of its wildlife for similar-looking animals from the old world, calling echidnas hedgehogs, thylacines Tasmanian tigers and wombats badgers. Adult wombats can grow up to a metre long and 20 to 35 kilograms, twice the size of a European badger, so watch where they aim their feet.

A government minister heads
A department, and constantly dreads
Messing up, losing face
And some voters, in case
The prime minister tears him to shreds.

Or her—ministerial woes are equal-opportunity.

This net used by fisheries kills
By entangling fish by their gills.
It hangs like a wall,
Trapping large fish and small
Turtles, dolphins, and others it stills.

Gill nets are ancient in origin, and so effective that their use is now closely monitored. After the introduction of cheap synthetic fibres in the 1960s commercial fishing fleets increasingly engaged in gillnetting, most notably to target tuna. The nets’ netting can be adjusted to allow undersized fish to pass through, but larger animals can still get trapped, and many turtles, dolphins, whales, seals, manatees and dugongs die in them.

To New Zealanders, Godzone is home:
God’s own country of bountiful loam,
A magnificent sweep
Of volcanoes and sheep.
Heaven knows why a Kiwi would roam.

Over 40% of New Zealand’s 4.9 million people declared themselves non-religious at the 2018 census, making Godzone one of the least religious countries in the developed world. Almost 90% of its population live in urban areas, and over half a million New Zealanders live overseas.

My Great-Aunt Glacinda grew faint
At the glimpse of a door with gloss paint.
“My dear Matt, it’s too shiny!”
Oh mate, she’s so whiny:
The Trump Tower lobby it ain’t.

In this dictionary entry of mine,
I have gloss meaning “lustre or shine”.
In the margins, a gloss
Will help those at a loss—
You thought “phony appearance”? That’s fine.

The sense of gloss as shiny surface soon led to figurative senses of superficiality and falseness. A gloss is also a word inserted in the margins or between lines to explain a more difficult word, or the explanation given for a word in a dictionary or glossary. This note is a gloss gloss.

Have a look at this word that I’ve gotten.
The British now reckon it’s rotten,
But Aussies and Yanks
Are still fond of it, thanks.
We’ve still got gotten’s back, not forgotten.

It’s a golden age. Everything’s good.
Our society works as it should.
Life is peaceful and rich.
It’s one son-of-a-bitch
Of a dream: wish it had been, or could.

When chancing the waters of Venice,
Avoid gondoliers such as Denis.
He’s managed to fondle a
Few in his gondola:
His fancy canal boat’s a menace.

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