Px3: There once was a man from Nantucket…

Oh dear readers, it has come to this: the section on metre where Stephen Fry leads us coyly into writing limericks. He disguises it, of course, by teaching us about amphibrachic trimeter and catalectic amphibrachic dimeter, which are the external and internal lines of a limerick – all very academic, you see.  But the end result is still a limerick. And of course, he invites us to try our hand at it.

Which is, of course, appropriate, given that I am on Nantucket, and, well….

A minister not from Nantucket
Sat pond’ring a half-full green bucket
Is it compost or not?
Is it food left to rot?
The smell, though, she must now obstruct it.

Okay, so the real challenge is not in writing a limerick, it’s in rhyming with “Nantucket” without using the F word.

I’ve been pondering, though, why limericks seem like a humorous form; I mean, I can’t imagine writing a serious poem in limerick form. I tried – I thought maybe I’d write a call to worship that is a limerick for Easter/April Fools Day, but serious words feel just plain wrong. Here’s a sample of something from the dogpile:

We enter this welcoming space
and rest our souls, tired of the race;
We come seeking truth,
Whether elder or youth.
Come, worship now,  here in this place.

See? It’s just…off. It feels like I’m either mocking the liturgy or am just really bad at this.  But either way, there’s something about the limerick form that wants to illustrate light, humorous ideas, not statements of sacred import.

The work continues…

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