Definitely Limericks by Rory Ewins


For technical reasons, these limericks are also part of the main OEDILF database, despite being outside the main letter range.

The city of Limerick’s renown
Is its comical poetry crown:
Nowhere else has a verse
As amusing and terse
To its name—there’s no haiku-based town.

“The limerick life is for me!”
Said he, anapestically.
“This particular verse
Took a turn for the worse,
But there’s plenty more fish in the sea.”

“I would normally say an-uh-PEST
-ik-lee, see? Also, LIM-rick. The rest
Is just filler as well,
As I’m sure you could tell.
Should I maybe give up? Nay, I jest!”

“With an amphibrach, that’s how yours starts,”
Say his editors. “Your verse departs
From the true limerick form.”
With his face getting warm,
He flips ’em two fingers, and farts.

There was Al, with a snappy retort,
And then Sergio, Dave, Jack, Don, Mort,
And the Maddest of all,
Harvey Kurtzman. A small
Artist sample... what, me worry? [Snort]

The cartoonists of Mad magazine at its peak—Sergio Aragonés, Dave Berg, Jack Davis, Mort Drucker, Al Jaffee, Don Martin and Spy vs. Spy artist Antonio Prohías—brought endless joy to generations of American (and beyond) kids and young adults. Mad was launched as a comic book in 1952 under the editorship of Harvey Kurtzman, working alongside fellow artists Jack Davis, Wally Wood, Will Elder and John Severin; the comic book converted to magazine format in 1955, and Kurtzman left the following year. The other artists mentioned in the verse above—along with Davis—were mainstays of its glory years in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, when its covers were regularly graced by gap-toothed mascot Alfred E. Neuman and his catchphrase, “What, me worry?”

The number to phone in a fix?
999, here in Britain. Don’t mix
Up your up and your down,
Or the upright will frown:
You’ll be calling the Beast, 666.

Can’t find thy nearest beast? Let thy fingers do the walking! Thou shalt find him in the Yellow Pages under “Buying and Selling”.

Fresh images, still, as they stun
Us with thoughts of the lives left undone;
Hard, still, to remember
That splintered September:

Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four was so great
That readers for years would await
The year 1984
To discover if more
Than surveillance would end up our fate.

One of only two years defined as words in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Life was better, or, well, seemed more fun,
Before total state rule had begun.
Now it’s all so 19-
84-ish: I mean,
When did Britain become Airstrip One?

One day after 1992
Was the date the prospective EU
Joined together as one
Single market—what fun!
Thereafter, prosperity grew.

The other of two words based on years in the Oxford English Dictionary; in the 1980s and early 1990s, 1992 signified the deadline for the establishment of a single European market in what was then the European Economic Community. It was also the year when the Treaty on European Union, the foundation treaty of the EU, was signed in Maastricht. The single market came into force on 1 January 1993, ten months before the European Union itself.

0800 phone numbers to call
British businesses? No charge at all.
Yes, they’re free, so get ringing
Those marketers, singing,
“My telephone bill remains small!”

When a number starts 0898,
You’ll be charged at a premium rate
If you’re calling in Britain,
So don’t get too smitten
When phoning that sex-chat line, mate.

Has a crank call in Britain appalled you?
An anonymous message enthralled you?
When the phone call is done,
Ring 1471,
And you’ll hear the last number that called you.

What does $ mean? Why, it means “peso”
Down Latin America way, so
When know-it-alls holler
“That symbol means ‘dollar’!”
Say, “Not so, señor, ’cos I say so.”

American women called Rory
Must wonder about their name’s story:
From the Irish “red king”,
It’s a masculine thing,
Draped in Gaelic twelfth-century glory.

Although unisex in America, the name Rory is firmly male in Britain and Ireland. The anglicised version of the Irish Ruairí, Ruaidrí, Ruaidhrí or Ruaidhrígh, Scottish Ruairidh or Manx Raureederives from the Gaelic words rua (red-haired) and (king), after the High King of Ireland at the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion, Ruaidrí mac Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair (c.‚ÄČ1116–1198), anglicised as Rory O’Conor.

“Semicolons? For pussies,” said Kurt.
“Just avoid ’em. It really can’t hurt.
Be staccato. Like Ernest.
That man woulda furnaced
The lot of ’em. Burned ’em. To dirt.”

Strictly speaking, Hemingway would have burned ’em to ash, but who am I to argue.

It’s ’06, and the sixth day of June,
So surely the time’s opportune
For the Beast to arise
And rain fire from the skies—
Either his or our number’s up soon.

I’ve a mark on my hand and my head,
And I now understand what John said:
Choosing mottos, the trick’s
To avoid “666”—
It’s a woeful tattoo when you’re dead.

It’s terrible, rugged and wild,
And rural, domestic and mild.
If I have to explain, ya
Should visit Tasmania,
The island I loved as a child.

The smallest Australian state is one of the most diverse in landscape, ranging from temperate rainforest to rugged mountains to long white beaches. Originally the British convict colony of Van Diemen’s Land, and once the “Apple Isle” supplying the Empire, “Tassie” is now a destination for eco-tourists and mainlanders escaping the rat race. While they may think they’re only an hour’s flight from Melbourne, they’re almost in another country altogether.

If you can’t see the wood (flippin’ tree),
Get up high, like a bird flying free:
Unencumbered now, you
Have an all-around view:
It’s 360-degree.

Ideally, I would format this one like this.

For drawing this Elsinore stencil,
Young Hamlet is sat on the fence—he’ll
Now have to choose, see:
Will he use a 2B?
Or not 2B? That is the pencil.

Had an embryo transferred? Now, wait—
To be clearer, a 2ww. Great:
After all this time trying,
You spend two weeks dying
To know if you’re fashionably late.

An abbreviation from online infertility forums of “two week wait”, referring to the waiting period after IVF treatment until the earliest date when a pregnancy test is likely to be accurate.

The Brazilian tropical weevil,
The zyzzyva, truly is evil—
Um, oval. It’s said
That it’s typically red.
This completes my last-entry retrieval.

Since 2017 (when it usurped zythum), the last entry in the Oxford English Dictionary has been Zyzzyva (ZIZ-ziv-uh), a genus of South American tropical weevils or, when uncapitalised, a weevil of that genus. This isn’t actually the OEDILF’s last entry by alphabetical order, but it’s probably mine.

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