Virtual life had to give way to real life for the last 3 days, so I will carry National Poetry Month three days into May in order to fulfill my stated purpose of a poem a day in celebration of poetry.
Today’s device from William Packard’s The Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices is (oh, dear)
- Limerick: Usually anonymous five-line light verse poem, generally with surprise or eccentric RHYMES, with first and second and fifth lines in anapestic trimeter [ . . / . . /. . / ], and with a rhyme scheme of a/a/b/b/a. Limericks often play on geographical or proper names, and commonly treat an outrageous subject irreverently.
Critical comment on the limerick tends to stress its anti-literary pedigree; thus Arnold Bennett said, “All I have to say about limericks is that the best ones are entirely unprintable.” George Bernard Shaw commented, “They are most unfit for publication. They must be left for oral tradition.” Film director Mike Nichols, commenting on a limerick contest he was once asked to judge said, “It was easy. We just threw out the dirty limericks and gave the prize to the one that was left.”
Commenting on the technical effect of a limerick, Morris Bishop wrote in The New York Times Book Review: “The structure should be a rise from the commonplace reality of line one to logical madness in line five.”
Okay. This limerick is not going to be “dirty.” I am not going to resort to degrading either sex, as so many limericks do. So, having said that, let’s see what we have left: I need an outrageous subject (“I’ll take politics for $100, Alex”) which I will treat irreverently (you betcha!), and start with the ordinary, but finish with a flourish of “logical madness” (I am not 100% certain I know what that is, but I’m pretty sure it speaks to my condition). And I have to do it in five lines with that familiar meter and rhyme scheme. And, finally, do me a favor, pretend this is anonymous, okay? Here goes.
There once was a newsman named Murrow
who beat mad McCarthy right thorough.
What would he say
if he could see “news” today:
Politicians work at the News Bureau?
Best I could do on short notice, folks. See you tomorrow, and thanks for reading!