Definitely Limericks by Rory Ewins


Descartes was consuming roast yam
But pronounced that he’d rather have lamb.
When he tried spinach drink,
René ventured, “I think
That I am what I am what I am.”

I call this one “Cartesian Veganism”.

Amalgamate two different parts
And their separate nature departs.
You’ll find that it’s fine
To blend and combine,
But teasing apart’ll take smarts.

My husband likes shopping—according
To him, getting more is rewarding.
But enough is enough:
We’ve amassed too much stuff,
And our children accuse us of hoarding.

I’m ambitionless—couldn’t care less
If I finish this verse. No distress
Will result from my failure
To rhyme with... um... failure.
So, yeah. That’s about it.

There once was an amorous yeti
Who used as his lure amaretti:
Heard that one macaroon
Makes a yeti girl swoon,
So he knew pretty soon he’d get sweaty.

We expect, when elected to power,
That a president really should tower
Over others around,
But some leaders, we’ve found,
Are an eight-year-long amateur hour.

A professional cook got ’er wish
When a restaurant served up ’er dish
To a critic of note;
But the ignorant scrote
Said ’er efforts were amateurish.

Amazingly, no one has chosen
These words; with amazement I’m frozen.
My amazedness knows
No bounds; I suppose
(Amazedly) everyone’s dozin’.

It’s a feldspar, is amazonite;
A green one, apparently—right?
No, no, no: it’s a stone,
Not the person you phone
At some mammonish book-selling site.

Here’s a question that’s likely to vex you all:
How do you know you’re ambisexual?
Do you try it each way?
Or just wait for that day
When some either/authority checks you all?

Our ambit claim’s really quite reasonable:
New outfits—the old ones aren’t seasonable;
Better pay and conditions;
And ten new positions.
Yet the company acts like it’s treasonable!

In Australia, an ambit claim (previously, but now less often, an ambit) serves as the starting point for negotiations in an industrial dispute, setting the upper bounds of what’s being asked for.

An ambition of mine’s to design
A routine to extract all the wine
Of life from each day,
No matter how grey;
But if sometimes I falter, that’s fine.

It was probably far too ambitious
Of the doughtier long-ago fishes
To crawl from the seas
And walk among trees,
But the outcome was fairly propitious.

An ambo’s an ambulance driver
In Oz: if you’re barely alive, a
Good person to know,
As they rarely drive slow—
They’ll ensure you’re an Aussie survivor.

The amendments each Congressman cites
Are enshrined in the famed Bill of Rights:
To preserve a free press,
Enjoy legal redress,
And bear arms (to be ready for fights).

“Say bud, can you lend me a dime?”
“We ain’t harborin’ organized crime.”
“I like jello that’s pink!”
“All your color schemes stink.”
See, American English in rhyme.

“Hello friend, can you lend me ten cents?”
“Harbour organised crime? No defence.”
“I like jelly that’s blue!”
“What’s its colour to you?”
Not identical words, but same sense.

Columbus was wrong in his quest:
The Indies weren’t off to the west.
Later visitors learnt
That the Indians weren’t,
And that Native American’s best.

Amiens, dans le nord de la France,
Has une church of très, très grand expanse.
I could stay there all week—
C’est une ville magnifique!
(Do you parlez Franglais, par une chance?)

The amir of Morocco once swore
There’d be no more immoral amour.
“No whores! It’s an order!
Or you’re for the border!
Nor scoring of porn, or what for!”

Makes me feel like a damn ignoramus,
Looking up all these names: “Kingsley Amis”...
Hey, I recognise him
Yeah, he wrote Lucky Jim!
See, I knew I’d find somebody famous.

His dad, I guess, gave him a start in
His chosen career, by impartin’
A love of the word,
And perhaps the absurd:
“Call the next one Dead Babies, young Martin.”

I’m sure that Martin Amis came up with his titles without any help from Kingsley, but writing certainly ran in the family.

The ammonites swam in the sea
Around four hundred million B.C.
’Til their elegant shells
Settled under the swells;
Now they’re fossilized mollusc debris.

Amnesiac? Me? Utter rot!
You may think that I am, but I’m not.
Why, I even remember
Way back to September!
(What joke went in here? I forgot.)

A junta decided it rational
To take a few cues from a passional,
Granting amnesty to
All those prisoners who
Were attracting support international.

A passional is a book of the sufferings of saints and martyrs.

When a Roman was looking to store
A selection of liquids galore,
He had just the idea:
He’d march to IKEA
For amphorae sold as “Amfårr”.

My amplifier handled The Cramps
With ease: they all sounded like champs.
So for hour on hour,
I cranked up the power,
And gave it a few extra amps.

Some Amraphel bloke in a crown
Had it in for his neighbouring town:
Reckoned people in Sodom
Were “creepy, so sod ’em”,
And slaughtered ’em, with their pants down.

Inspired by Paul Cowan. Amraphel appears in some book called Genesis and was king of some place called Shinar; apparently he invaded some neighbouring lands with some other guy and destroyed Sodom, some time before some deity rained brimstone and fire upon it.

My amygdala messes with me
By incessantly making me see
Little things as a threat.
I don’t think they are, yet
Get upset by its urges to flee.

A complex structure of cells in the middle of the brain, the amygdala is primarily involved in the processing of emotions and memories associated with fear. It preempts the prefrontal cortex, which regulates our thoughts, actions and emotions, in moments of stress, leading to anxious or angry responses.

An eager anago fan squeals
When they find it in Japanese meals:
Don’t know where, don’t know when,
But know “Eel meat again!”
Greets the flesh of these saltwater eels.

Harder to find on Japanese menus than freshwater eel (unagi), saltwater eels or anago, usually white-spotted conger eels, have a softer, lighter taste.

Take a word, phrase, or sentence, and then
Rearrange it again and again:
If sold a wry pun,
Reply, “Wordplay is fun!”
Young protege, go get your pen!

This was inspired by Alan Meyer’s definition of anagram, reworking the punchline I contributed to it.

It was covered with lights—how they strobed!
And like angels they were, all enrobed.
It was too much to bear!
We were raptured in prayer...
Well, until we were anally probed.

“It was like an attack with a rock;
Or setting our phasers to shock.
We wounded his pride.”
Unconvinced, Kirk replied,
“That’s too... analogical, Spock.”

Analogy’s hard to explain
In the space of a five-line refrain;
It’s like having to show
Every fact that you know
In a quarter of half a quatrain.

Tell ya something that isn’t so fun:
Writing poems in anapest, son.
I don’t like ’em at all,
And they make my skin crawl,
So I try not to write even one.

He’s a sensitive youngster—and how.
Once was stung by a wasp—holy cow!
So allergic was he,
That he died, almost... See?
He’s in anaphylactic shock now.

Anastasia, the Tsar’s youngest daughter,
Was thought to have hid from the slaughter
By some who would rather
She’d ruled like her father.
My theory? The Bolsheviks caught ’er.

The official line is that the daughter of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia died when the Bolsheviks executed his family in 1918, but various people claimed her identity over following decades, fuelling Unsolved Mysteries documentaries from here to Minsk.

Saint Andrew, oor bonny apostle:
Och aye, he’s an icon colossal.
But wha’s tha’, the noo?
Andy’s their patron too?
How can whisky and vodka both jostle?

Andrew, one of the twelve apostles, is the patron saint of Scotland and Russia.

This adorable puppy will chew rolls
Of soft bathroom tissues, and strew rolls
All over: the brand Rex
Embodies is Andrex
In Britain, to advertise loo rolls.

The Andrex Puppy, a golden Labrador, has been the face of the Andrex brand of toilet paper in Britain since 1972. The company was founded in 1942, and since 1995 has been owned by Kimberly-Clark. In Australia, where equivalent products are sold under the Kleenex brand, the puppy is known as the Kleenex Puppy.

If you listen up now, I’ll explain:
She’s a woman from legends arcane;
And an evergreen shrub;
And a star system, bub.
That’s Andromeda. (Phew, what a strain.)

Ask a Scotsman with tartany hat
’Bout the noumbers, and where tae start at,
And he’ll say (for a bevvie
Of Belhaven heavy),
“Och, ane is the one fer a’ that.”

Angelica: flavoursome root;
In a herbal concoction, will suit
Most medicinal needs—
Not your typical weeds.
And it’s good eaten candied, to boot.

The number of angels within
The bounds of the head of a pin?
Heaven knows the amount,
But I’m willing to count.
Lord, I spotted one dancing. You win!

Those aren’t angels, my child, they’re Staphylococcus aureus.

When you anglicize, don’t go too far:
Keep appearances much as they are.
Don’t wear without care
The St George’s Cross where
Angry anglophobes might bomb your car.

In Bayeux, the museum has stacks on
The fate of the brave Anglo-Saxon:
How Harold was killed,
And the future was Willed.
The tapestry has all the facts on.

An angry old drunk was so pissed
That he swung at a punk, though he missed.
As he fell to the gutter,
He yelled like a nutter,
“Yer friend there is next on my list!”

Angry Penguins? A couple of words
From a game title? Like Angry Birds?
No, Oz artists and writers:
Pugnacious young fighters
Of ’40s establishment herds.

Angry Penguins, founded in 1940 by editor Max Harris (1921–1995) and three fellow Adelaide poets, was an Australian modernist literary journal which gave its name to an avant-garde literary and artistic movement, including such artists as Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker and Joy Hester. Traditionalists hated it, not least for including work by foreign weirdos like Dylan Thomas and Gabriel García Márquez. In 1944 the journal was brought down by a famous literary hoax when two of its opponents invented and submitted a set of poems by “Ern Malley”; when Harris featured them he was tried and convicted for publishing obscenity. (One of Malley’s poems dealt with abortion, and another used the word incestuous. The good ol’ days, eh.)

Ern Malley wrote poems that spoke
To the Penguins: “A wonderful bloke!
‘Umbelliferous dark’:
What a phrase!” For a lark,
Harris published ’em: “Malley’s no joke.”

Harris went on to run a bookshop in Adelaide with his friend Mary Martin, going on to expand her namesake shop into a chain across Australia and Hong Kong. He also founded and co-edited the Australian Book Review and wrote columns for The Australian.

What kitchen-sink drama! That pan—
He just hurled it the bedsit’s whole span!
And now our man Jimmy
Is looking all grim; he
Says, “Damn, I’m an angry young man!”

Jimmy Porter, from John Osborne’s 1956 play Look Back in Anger.

Every animal found in the zoo
Ambled onto the ark two-by-two:
Two impalas, who leapt;
Two iguanas who crept;
Two guanacos, two gnats, and two gnu.

Animal husbandry? Yes,
It’s a valid position, I guess.
Looking after a beast
Is a kindness, at least;
But divorcing ’em—man, what a mess.

If Donald could only have waited
Until all his rage had abated,
He’d stop with the quacks
And start to relax;
But no, he’s just too animated.

Tuning into your local kids’ station,
You’re likely to see animation:
From stop-motion clay
To Japan’s anime,
There’s many a moving creation.

An animatron is a puppet
That moves automatically. Yup, it
Looks pretty demonic,
That animatronic...
It’s meant to look lifelike, you muppet.

We have the Egyptians to thank
For the symbol we know as the ankh.
A loop on a cross
Mightn’t be a great loss,
But it looked good on pharaohs of rank.

The ankylosaur was all spiky,
They reckon, and bony, by crikey,
With armour that plated
His hide: he was fated
To have a cantankerous psyche.

Duke William decided—for kicks—
That he’d give Harold’s army some licks
(Dunno why—maybe bored)
In the year of our Lord
Anno Domini 1066.

There’s one thing all anonyms know:
Beware of the spotlight’s hot glow.
They’re always anonymous;
That, or pseudonymous.
(My anonym’s “fast escargot”.)

Said the doc to his mate, “It’s because, Mick,
You’ve got no sense of smell: you’re anosmic.
You can’t sniff a whiff;
Why, it’s almost as if
The receptors are blocked in your schnoz, Mick.”

Watch out for my brother: he’ll grill ya
Some bits of a cow that’ll kill ya.
Take a shooftee at that—
Bloody loaded with fat.
(Mate, chuck us anotherie, will ya?)

I’m afraid that a goose has got loose
Near our gooseberry bush. I deduce
That the anserine fool
Won’t go quietly: you’ll
Find him answerin’ “HONK!” (goose abuse).

anserine: 1. goose-like; 2. silly-goose-like

What a wonderful beast is the ant!
Those who call it a pest should recant.
Lifting ten times its weight—
Don’t you reckon that’s great?
And just look at it dragging that plant!

The tyger burns ever so bright
In the forests and deeps of the night.
Should your hand seize the fire,
Ease your grasp, or expire:
Don’t antagonize him—tygers bite.

With apologies to Mr Blake.

The Antarctic’s impossibly white,
And its polar snow’s ever so bright
In December—all day,
So I’ve heard people say.
In midwinter, it’s always midnight.

So tiny and cute, antechinus!
If we look really close, we can fin’ us
The teensiest pouch,
With her joey, an’... ouch!
An’ he kin’a snuck up from behin’ us.

If you’re reading some poets for fun,
Pick the best of their works, one by one,
Give the whole lot an edit,
And then, to your credit,
You’ll be an anthologist, son.

Almost any event vaguely topical,
As often as not, is anthropical,
Or human-related;
If Man leaves you sated,
Move somewhere deserted and tropical.

Goliath Gregorius Grape
Was the size and the form of an ape.
His every scintilla
Suggested gorilla:
The guy was an anthropoid shape.

One who anthropomorphizes tries
To perceive things through too-human eyes.
Did you think that car smiled?
Think your dog is your child?
Sorry, neither one’s us in disguise.

When Neptune’s pet octopus died,
The god cursed the seas: “Woe betide
Any man who won’t hearken
My grief for poor Kraken,”
He anthropopathetically cried.

Neptune anthropopathically felt
Each emotion that humans are dealt
By the loss of a pet:
Desolation, regret...
And disgust (as by now, Kraken smelt).

Our aunt of a hundred and one
Banned our antics before they’d begun.
She dismissed any chat—
Anti-this, anti-that,
Anti-bliss, anti-brat, anti-fun!

Shove your landscapes, you boring old fart—
I’m Dada! R. Mutt! Anti-art!
It’s the end of the old—
It’s exciting! It’s bold!
Here, I’ll sign this urinal, to start.

This uses the UK pronunciation of yoo-RY-nul (is something I never thought I’d have to write).

“Went to uni?” the working-men jeer.
“Couldn’t hack a blue-collar career?
Think you’re better than us?
We all reckon you’re sus.
Yeah, we’re anti-degree around here.”

Anti-globalization impressed her?
A night in the cells will soon test her
Commitment to fairness
And global awareness:
No Logo’s a no-go—arrest her!

Antihuman? How could you—you beast!
Please consider our good points, at least.
We’re industrious, smart,
And we’ve made some nice art—
You would miss us if we were deceased.

Comrade Engels devoutly maintains,
“You have nothing to lose but your chains!”
He’s an anti-imperialist
Marxist materialist,
Loosening monarchies’ reins.

A spectre is haunting Europe! The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Fred Engels promises to be one of the monster hits of 1848: packed full of revolutionary writing and quotable quotes, this outgrowth of dialectical materialism will set your ruling classes atremble! Proletarian masses, pre-order your copy now from, and get ready to rattle those chains!

All yer learnin’ means nothin’ to me.
I’m an anti-intellectual, see?
All yer theatre and art—
Think yer so bloody smart!
Well, a hard knockin’ beats a degree.

The antilibertarian view
Is that rulers know better than you:
Your rights and free will
Take particular skill
To subvert, undermine and undo.

When Dracula looks for a wife
He eternally runs into strife:
A kiss on the neck
Leaves his darling a wreck.
The undead are just too antilife.

It induces a cranial fug,
So avoid the falciparum bug
By swilling a pill
That’ll hinder or kill
It—an antimalarial drug.

Falciparum is the most severe form of malaria. Unfortunately, antimalarials aren’t as good at killing or preventing it as one would like.

I can’t measure in metric! It’s hard
To divide by a hundred. Discard
All my furlongs and inches?
Untraditional grinches!
Keep your metres, kid—I’ll take a yard.

You say yard and I think of a garden.
I’m sorry, I do beg your pardon:
I reckon it’s neater
To work with a metre.
Let’s measure how attitudes harden!

He’s old-fashioned, or worse, antimodern:
Goes hunting in fields that are sodden;
Seeks olden-day glories;
Hates more than four storeys;
Keeps working-class people downtrodden.

Antipolitics: Death to all spin,
To all hucksters in government, sin-
peddling lobbyists, fools
With their asinine rules,
And all parties—until my lot win.

Most antipollution-type laws
Are destined to founder, because
Most polluters have lawyers
Whose typical ploy is
To find every loophole-type clause.

Antisatellite systems destroy
What the world spent a lot to deploy.
All the sputniks that spout
All those sitcoms throughout
All our nights, fallen silent. Enjoy!

Anti-Semitism: Here, wear this star;
Now get into that railway car
(On the double! Mach schnell!),
And we’ll send you to hell,
Just because of how Jewish you are.

Line four refers, of course, to the hell-on-earth of the Nazi concentration camps, where anyone even the slightest bit Jewish was sent.

Life’s prosaic, we say, not poetical;
Most theories are too hypothetical,
And models elude us.
The empirical’s glued us
To lab work: we’re anti-theoretical.

I’m antiuniversity, me.
Being certain is difficult, see,
Since I wandered their cloisters
And ate of their oysters
Of wisdom: I doubt, they agree.

Antiwar? Good for you, son! Hear, hear!
Let’s avoid any bloodshed this year.
Let’s all lay down our arms—
Trade our swords in for farms!
Though I hear Cromwell’s troops are quite near...

Asked a friend, “Hey, dude, wanna catch Ant-Man?”
“Sounds marvelous, bro, but I can’t, man.
Got a bad fear of shrinking,
So super-guys blinking
To atom-size sounds way too scant, man.”

This Marvel Comics superhero, introduced in 1962, has appeared in several films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, starting in 2015 with Ant-Man.


An antre’s a cavern or cave.
To enter, you’ll have to be brave:
An ogre resides
In its sombre insides.
You’ll be cantering into your grave.

Anubis, Egyptian divine:
Like a man, but on top of his spine
Was a jackal-like head.
He would lead off the dead
To Osiris, their fate to assign.

Transgressing the norms of society
Can fill you with nervous anxiety.
If you don’t want to get
An undignified sweat,
You should always behave with propriety.

At 9:10, the judge glared at the dock:
“Where’s the bloody defendant, eh, cock?”
“Your honour, it’s funny—
He’s still on the dunny.
He’ll be done any tick of the clock.”

If you fear that your visit will send
The wrong message, don’t worry, my friend.
You can come anytime:
Just commit any crime.
In the big house, you’ll never offend.

“Anyways,” says the Cap’n, “Right now,
I’ll be headin’ some place ’round Macau.
Long as no-one objects,
We’ll be goin’ there next,
Anywheres, anywise, anyhow.”

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