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Oomph! Culture Series: How To Write Your Own Limericks

During unprecedented times, Oomph! are keen to support with stimulating and varied content for older adults. As part of this, we are releasing resources based on our Oomph! skills workshops. These resources, and more, will be uploaded to our Wellbeing Resources Hub.

The second topic in our Culture mini-series is: How To Write Your Own Limericks. 

Robert Frost said, “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought, and the thought has found words”. Jack McKechnie, one of our expert Regional Wellbeing Coordinators,  tells us how we can write our own limericks…

What is a limerick?

Limericks are funny or unusual poems which consist of 5 lines – they are short, rhyme, and have a bouncy rhythm. They stimulate the soul by encouraging laughter and providing a creative outlet. There is even a National Limerick Day, held every year on May 12th, which celebrates Edward Lear, the man who made the short poems popular.

Follow the next steps to practice and create your own.

Have a go!

To create a limerick, you need to follow an “AABBA” rhyme scheme. This means that lines 1, 2 and 5 rhyme. Lines 3 and 4 also rhyme.

You can also keep each line to a certain number of syllables to create a nice poetic flow. Lines 1, 2 & 5 would have between 8 and 9 syllables, whilst lines 3 & 4 would have between 5 and 6 syllables.

Have a look at the example below:

A – There once was a man from Peru,
A – Who dreamt that he swallowed a shoe,
B – He woke up in a fright,
B – In the mid of the night,
A – To learn that his dream had come true!

  1. Start by choosing your subject, this can be anything you want!
  2. Then, write down some ideas for your first line.
  3. Make a list of words that rhyme with your first line to inspire your second and fifth lines.
  4. Write your second line.
  5. Write down your third and fourth lines. These need to rhyme with each other!
  6. Finish off the limerick with your fifth line (remember this should rhyme with your first and second lines!).
  7. Test it out loud and see how it sounds… Then share!

Make It Meaningful

Why not create limericks based on your interests or your own funny experiences? Have a think about some lighthearted and humorous moments in your life which could be a great starting point!