Learn How to Write a Limerick This St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow, so pull out your green clothes and put on your thinking caps—it’s time to write some limericks!
Wondering how to get started with writing a limerick? We’ve got the perfect video featuring Nick from Imagine Learning to help—and it shares some important limerick rules:
*You can find the lyrics to the video down below.
What Is a Limerick?
A limerick is a funny, five-line poem. In a limerick, the first, second, and fifth lines are a bit longer (and all rhyme), and the third and fourth lines are shorter (and also rhyme with each other, not with the other lines)—this means it follows a rhyming scheme of A/A/B/B/A, with the B lines being shorter.
Limericks are great for introducing younger students to poems and poetry. With their rhyming scheme and fun nature, writing a limerick is easy and fun.
So why the connection between limericks and St. Patrick’s Day? Well, the history of the limerick poem is a bit murky, but the common thought is that it’s named after Limerick, Ireland—which means right now is a great time to have some fun with limericks!
Writing a Limerick with Young Kids
For younger students, focusing on the five lines and the rhyming scheme is a great way to introduce them to the limerick art form (and have some fun in the process!). With older students, don’t be afraid to dig into the structure of the poem.
We know that the first, second, and fifth lines are longer, and the third and fourth are shorter, but let’s talk number of syllables. According to The Saturday Evening Post (which runs an ongoing limerick contest):
A good guideline is to have 7–10 syllables in lines 1, 2, and 5, and 5–7 syllables in lines 3 and 4. Above all else, though, the lengths should be consistent among rhyming lines. And in nearly every case, ‘A’ lines are longer than ‘B’ lines.
Limericks also follow what’s known as an anapestic metric foot, which means every third syllable is stressed. Because of their greater number of syllables, in the first, second, and fifth lines, there are typically three stressed syllables, and in the third and fourth, only two.
And, don’t forget to make your limerick funny!
Now It’s Your Turn to Write a Limerick!
Now that you and your students understand the structure of a limerick, start writing! We’ve got some limerick examples for inspiration:
Want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
You have something clever to say?
Join in the fun,
Add in a pun,
And encourage your friends to play.
St. Patrick’s Day is coming up quick.
Grab a pen and write a limerick.
Be a rhyming rock star,
You’re sure to go far,
Especially if yours is slapstick!
Join in the fun by sharing your limericks on social media using the hashtag #ImagineLearningLimericks. We can’t wait to see what you and your students come up with!
Limerick Song Lyrics
Hello! How are you? I’m Nick.
Here to teach you a fun little trick.
To have a good time
When writing a rhyme,
Try writing your own limerick!
There are limericks of all different kinds.
So how do you write one that shines?
You’ll see that it’s cool
If you follow the rule:
A limerick is made of five lines.
So listen close to this song.
Lines one, two, and five are all long.
And in poems of this sort,
Make lines three and four short
And I promise you’ll never go wrong.
You need to be sure and contrive
To rhyme lines one, two, and five
Then do it once more
With lines three and four
And your limerick surely will thrive!
So let these pointers take hold
And if you’ll write as you were told
At the rainbow’s end
You’ll find there my friend
Your own limerick pot o’ gold!