Definitely Limericks by Rory Ewins


Many meanings of feak were once heard:
To twitch; wipe the beak of; a third
Was to thrash; curl of hair;
And a slattern. A rare
(Frickin’ fictional-sounding, now) word.

In the sense of beat or thrash, as well as in the sense of a sluttish or idle person, feak was a variant of feague. In the sense of twitch (also as feek), it meant either to jerk or pull something sharply or to be twitchy, anxious or fidgety. The beak-wiping sense was a term from falconry. As for the sense of a dangling curl of hair, we can only wonder what Longfellow would have made of it.

In the darkness, I’m frightened to hear
That a night-time intruder is near.
I’m awake in my bed,
Simply quaking with dread.
I would rather be dead, have no fear.

All we had was a small tin of salmon
Last week; now a hearty roast gammon
Is gracing our table.
Eat well while you’re able:
Life’s often, I find, feast or famine.

My beta is feature-complete:
All the features are there, which is neat,
But there’s still a few bugs.
I would greet those with shrugs:
Pretty much, the app’s working a treat.

I wanted to email my teacher,
But had no computer to reach ’er.
Though it may not be smart
Or state-of-the-art,
By dumb luck my old phone has this feature.

In the late 1970s, feature phone meant a phone enhanced with computer technology. By 1999 it meant a cutting-edge mobile with features such as Internet access and music playback. Now such phones are the cheaper, old-fashioned models used by those who can’t afford or don’t want a smartphone—hence, dumbphones.

US federal agents like seizin’
Purloined US secrets. The reason?
Enforcing the law
Is their thing; one might draw
The conclusion they bristle at treason.

The United States government’s made
Itself clear: granting federal aid
For emergency reasons
Is fine, but “ski season’s
Been lackluster” claims won’t be paid.

Said a land to its neighbours, “Surprise!
Here’s a grand idea: federalise!
Let’s expand with our mates
While rebranding as states,
Each commanding less sovereignty... guys?”

An American fugitive ought
Not attempt to escape: he’ll get caught
By a federal marshal.
They’re always impartial,
Ensuring that crime comes to naught.

The US Marshals Service, the country’s first federal law enforcement agency, consists of US Marshals in charge of almost a hundred districts and thousands of Deputy Marshals. Federal marshals protect judges, attorneys, witnesses and jurors in and out of court, transport prisoners, apprehend fugitives, execute arrest warrants, and seize illegally procured assets.

Traders shorting the dollar—the nerve!
Call the guys at the Federal Reserve.
They’ll buy more—or they’ll sell—
To be frank, I can’t tell.
I give banking and finance a swerve.

At the time the Australian nation
Was forming, we saw the creation
Of a style of house
We still reckon is grouse—
One that’s known as, today, Federation.

Australian architecture of the late Victorian and Edwardian period, from around 1890 to the start of the First World War, saw the dominance of various styles now grouped together as Federation architecture. Residential Federation houses featured asymmetric gables, tall chimneys, fretwork, verandahs and high ceilings. The style saw a revival in the 1990s, and original Federation homes remain much sought after.

I give you permission. Feel free.
Go ahead. You can do it. You see,
I allow it. That’s right:
You are granted this sight
Of a glimpse of all-powerful Me.

Female-friendly? The Internet’s not.
Look at Twitter: a difficult spot
For a straight-talking female,
Because, as we see, male
Incursions occur there a lot.

Gynaecologists these days show meekness
With patients: they speak with obliqueness.
But doctors of old
Were misogynist! Bold!
“Women’s troubles!” they’d scold, “Female weakness!”

I compose with a feminine cadence,
But to rhyme in a similar way dents
My confidence; mainly,
I find it ungainly
To rhyme with archaic words’ aidance.

A feminine or female cadence in music is where the chords concluding a movement or phrase consist of a stronger chord followed by a lesser chord; in poetry, a similar effect is to rhyme on a stressed syllable followed by one or more unstressed syllables, known as a feminine rhyme.

“Why, feminine hygiene’s a breeze,”
Claims my sister, “And handled with ease.
When I’m getting my cramp on,
I whip out a tampon
And guide it up here, past my knees.”

I think she underestimates the full range of women’s experience in this department.

In a limerick, femininization
Causes anapest-busting frustration.
It’d be so much neater
To express “making sweeter
Or softer” as feminization.

The good news is that you can use the shorter term, as it’s now preferred. The bad news is that either has pretty sexist overtones.

This man-about-town’s finest features
Were his femorals, viz., knee-length breeches
Much-worn in past days.
Yes, his Renaissance ways
Made him one of L.A.’s oddest creatures.

If you’re punk-ish and hippy-ish, checkin’
Out livin’ in Byron, and reckon
The planet’s in peril,
Then bein’ a feral
Is possibly startin’ to beckon.

The Australian counter-cultural feral movement, strongly associated with radical environmentalism, emerged in the 1980s and flourished in the 1990s. Feral values, beliefs, and styles of dress partially stem from the earlier hippy and punk movements. Ferals are known for their communal living, whether in city squats or in country towns like Byron Bay in New South Wales.

Should the market for metals get tighter,
For two ones, the future is brighter;
The alloy consumin’ ’em—
Makes your stuff harder or lighter.

Alloys of iron and aluminum (sorry, I’ll revert to my normal accent... aluminium) have various industrial uses, including in the manufacture of car parts and rail tracks. Although more brittle than aluminium, they’re lighter than iron.

Mate, I know you can get a bit testy
About me blue cheeses (“They’re festy!”
You cry, meaning gross),
But you ain’t even close:
Blues are fragrant, delicious, and zesty.

Were feudal lords fairly sadistic?
I’d say that’s a little simplistic,
But peasants and vassals
Endured many hassles
When Europe became feudalistic.

Fast-forwarding tapes used to take
Far too long, and could cause them to break.
Press FF on your deck
And you’d mutter, “Oh, heck,”
Or as kids say today, “FFS.”

In citations, most page ranges go
From a start point to end point (as so:
1–3). “1ff.”
Means there’s still a lot lef’,
Which the pages that follow will show.

FGN bonds, FGN currencies: what’s
With these foreigners calling the shots?
All those FGN guys yelling
’Bout buying and selling
Securities—don’t they have lots?

For Him Magazine (FHM),
UK women know, isn’t for them.
The British man’s lifestyle
Contrasts with his wife’s style:
There’s rather more ogling. (Ahem.)

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