The joker in the pack—top ten limericks

Poetry Editor Philip Harvey writes:

Walter de la Mare invented a form he called the double limerick. The basic expectations of a limerick are: naughtiness, concision, maybe a touch of taboo, being in on the joke, and the joke resulting in a blast of laughter, a chuckle, or at least a smile.

Many entrants took on serious current affairs issues, with poems that end up moralising. With the limerick, the message goes with a lightness of touch. The drought was a popular theme with the poets and it is observable how the funny ones got the message across much better. Perhaps the limerick just is the most frivolous and brittle of English forms, the joker in the pack. Whatever, the judges' expectations were met more often when wit or playfulness capped off the effects.

Congratulations to our winner, Ursula Stephens, who will receive a case of wine from Sevenhill Cellars.


On a Human Rights Note
In a cage in Guantanamo bay
David Hicks sees his life slip away.
Here’s my chance (in a poem)
To plead "Bring him home",
Cry Howard and Ruddock, “No way!”

Ursula Stephens, NSW


The bane of the bush called El Nino
Is the talk over hot cappucino
Will it rain? Farmers bet
It's a rural roulette
Now city folk join 'em in the casino.

Paul Osborne, QLD


A keen whale-watcher called Margaret
Scored two blues as soon as she started
She saw minkes galore
Killer whales by the score
But her sperm count was way below target.

Gavan Breen, NT





In drought the farmers prayed for rain
Instead got a pollie in a plane
He promised aid
And more again
They’re expert with that old refrain.

Tony Smith, NSW






Our energy future
The carbon cycle can no longer be relied on
'cause it's warming up the planet we reside on.
To be saved by nuclear fission
is our noble leader's mission.
But rogue reactors are the places we'll be fried on!

Mike Foale, QLD


In the great, old town of Sydney
There was a young girl named Mindy
Who walked the streets singing
And with her wide hips swinging
She knocked out a kid in Kindy.

Baini, NSW


What if Christ was one of us?
A nature-bashing, human-hating, plain old evil anarchist,
He would travel the world plundering and pillaging,
Wishing and hoping that God is forgiving ...
Because after all, there's a little Christ in all of us.

Hugues de Robillard, VIC




Drought breaking
In Australia where it hardly rains
They tip the wine glut down the drains
A thaumaturge oughta
Turn Riesling to water
Sure! We’d make him a god for his pains.

Tony Smith, NSW


If the lifting of spirits a little higher
Through ordination you should desire
It is not virtue
That befits you
But a male appendage that you require.

Tony Smith, NSW


There was a young lady from Melbourne
Whose friends thought was extremely well born
But one day she let fly
With words fit to die
Which convinced those friends she was Hell borne.

Helen Edmonds, VIC


When sipping a fine red one day,
A veteran imbiber did say,
“I have searched the world over,
from Tassie to Dover,
but Clare Valley’s the one place to stay.”

Kevin Crotty, VIC


A red-headed rhymer from Rome
For bad verses was tossed out of home.
Having no moral fibre,
He jumped in the Tiber,
And floated away on the foam.

Anne Benjamin, NSW



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Existing comments

Thanks for publishing the limerick. I had great fun writing it. Senator Stephens' poem is a ripper.

Paul Osborne | 12 December 2006  

Loved every Limerick printed, what clever folk read Eureka Street.
A happy,blessed and safe festive season to all readers,editors and writers.

Rosemary Keenan | 12 December 2006  

You poets who squander your talent on
poor limericks: leave royal Avalon.
Cracked meters, bad rhyme
and tortured words climb
no higher than tadpoles in Dandenong

Dan McGonnigal | 13 December 2006  

With Limericks a joke is intended
not politics, drought or heart benders
If this is the start
of some querolous art
Where we moralise long
over some perceived wrong
Give me more of Downer's suspenders

Patricia McCormack | 15 December 2006  

Sorry, but I think the limerick you published anonymously in Walking the Street a few weeks ago was better than half the ones you've published here. It was a real limerick, with the proper rhythm. No complaints about your choice of winner, though.

Gavan Breen | 19 December 2006  

i love so much your limericks it is so beautiful

dyrin sheen b.peterson | 10 March 2008  

Are you kidding? No, really! Are you KIDDING?! They're the worst limericks I have ever seen!

Iona | 30 April 2013  

I'll say to you just what I think As I smolder here right on the brink Of total frustration It's gross mutilation The fact is your limericks stink

Ronald E. Faoro | 04 October 2013  

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