Fun & Easy English with Poems: THE LIMERICK


Hello. I’m Gill at engVid, and today we have
a lesson on a particular type of comic poem, which is called a limerick. Okay? So, these
are some examples of limericks, and they’re a very popular form of poem. They’re usually
very simple; they’re not, like, difficult poetry that’s hard to understand. They usually
tell a story and it’s usually quite funny; sometimes it’s a bit crazy, kind of what you
call nonsense poetry. It doesn’t really make sense, but it’s funny anyway. So, okay. So, to begin with the first example, it’s
a nursery rhyme, which is the kind of poem that children learn and listen to as they’re
children in the nursery where they’re… When people used to have big houses, they would
have one room which was called the nursery and they put their children in there, and
they might have somebody to look after the children, like a nanny or a nurse. And…
As well as the mother and father, the children would have other people to help to look after
them and bring them up, and make food for them, and so on. That’s if they were rich. But also children of all sorts. I remember,
as a child, hearing nursery rhymes, and my mother especially telling me nursery rhymes.
And the fun thing about them is that they have a rhythm and a rhyme, so there’s a pattern,
which children enjoy hearing the pattern of the rhythm and the rhyming of the ends of
the lines. So, here’s a nursery rhyme which you may have heard. Perhaps you have a version
of it in your own language, if English isn’t your first language. So, some of the words
don’t really make sense because they’re more to do with imitating the sound of a clock
ticking. So, here we go: Hickory dickory dock
The mouse ran up the clock The clock struck one
The mouse ran down Hickory dickory dock. So, it’s… It’s a clock, there’s a mouse.
The mouse goes up the clock, the clock chimes one: “Dong”, and because of that, the mouse
is frightened and runs down again. And then that’s it – that’s all that happens, but it’s
quite fun for children to hear that. So, you can see that there’s a pattern, there: “dock”
and “clock” rhyme, and then we have “dock” again. So, if we use a sort of letter form
of rhyme scheme, you can label that A, like that. That’s rhyme A. And then one is… Doesn’t
rhyme, so that’s B. “One” and… Usually… Usually the third and fourth lines rhyme.
These don’t exactly rhyme, but they’re a little bit similar. “One” and “down”, and it’s sort
of what’s called a half rhyme. So, it’s a kind of… You could call it B again, really,
or B with a little one on it just to show it’s slightly different. But, anyway, this
is… This sort of shows what the pattern is: A, A, B, B, A is the rhyme pattern for
a limerick. And, also, the first two lines and the fifth
lines are usually a bit longer than the lines three and four. So: “Hickory dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the clock” so that’s, like, three strong beats. “Hickory dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the clock”. But then we’ve got: “The clock struck one”, so that’s only
two strong beats. “The clock struck one, The mouse ran down, Hickory dickory dock”. So,
it’s that sort of rhythm; 3, 3, 2, 2, 3. So, that
kind of pattern of rhythm and rhyme you find in most limericks. Okay? So, I hope you… I mean, “Hickory dickory
dock”, that’s just imitating the sound of the clock. So, don’t worry about: “What are
those words? What do they mean?” They don’t really mean anything, but the mouse-little
animal-ran up the clock – it’s a clock up on the wall, so… Or it’s a clock… Big,
tall clock that stands on the floor, so a mouse could run up it. “The clock struck one”. “To strike”… “To
strike” is when the clock chimes. To strike; to chime. If it goes: “Ding” or “Bong”, anything
like that, one sound to show that it’s one o’clock; it just makes one single sound for
one o’clock. “The clock struck one”. Usually strikes because it’s hitting something inside
to make that sound. “The mouse ran down, Hickory dickory dock”. So that’s… That’s it. Okay.
So, that illustrates the pattern. And then we have an example from the 19th
century. If you’ve seen another lesson that I did called: “The Owl and the Pussycat”,
you might remember the name of the poet, Edward Lear, who wrote a lot of funny poetry. He
wrote a lot of limericks and other funny, sort of nonsense poetry, which it is quite…
Quite strange, but entertaining. So, this one also you’ll see it fits the pattern, and
this is about an old man with a big, long beard. And in the 19th century, in the U.K.,
in Britain, a lot of men had long beards; it was the fashion in those days for men to
have very long beards. Sometimes they would be shorter beards, but sometimes they would
have a beard right down to here. So, this is about one of those men. So: There was an old man with a beard
Who said “It is just as I feared!” (I’ll explain that word in a minute).
Two owls and a hen, (these are birds; owl and a hen, they’re birds).
Two owls and a hen, Four larks and a wren, (those are also birds
– lark, wren). Have all built their nests in my beard! Okay, so let me just explain the maybe unfamiliar
words. “The old man has a beard, He said ‘It is just as I feared!'” He was worried that
something might happen. Fear. To fear or to be… To be afraid of something. He had a
fear that something would happen; he was afraid that something would happen. And you can see
that it’s nonsense, really, because who would be afraid that birds would start to live in
somebody’s beard? Okay. Anyway. “Two owls and a hen, Four larks and a wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!” So, the nest… The bird’s nest is what they build
when they lay eggs. So, if… If the bird lays its eggs, it needs to have a nest, usually
made of little twigs, and leaves, and things put together. And the birds often build the
nests themselves. So, they built their nests in my beard. So, how many is that? Two owls and a hen,
that’s three birds; four larks and a wren, that’s another five birds, so that’s eight.
Eight birds have all built their nests in my beard. So, he’s got eight nests in his
beard, and maybe each nest contains at least three eggs… So, shall we say an average
of four eggs? I’ve drawn five eggs, here. If we say an average of four eggs per nest…
Four times eight – 32. So, when those eggs… When the little baby
birds come out of the eggs, can you imagine what it would be like? So when you start to
think logically: “What is going to happen next?” It’s not just, you know, some… It’s
not even just eight birds; it’s eight nests and lots of eggs, maybe 32 eggs, which are
going to come out. They’re going to hatch. If the egg hatches, it breaks, and the little
baby bird comes out of it. So, that would be quite a… Something to watch. Okay. So, you can see what a sort of nonsense poem
it is; it’s just not possible that that could happen, but it’s funny. It’s just funny. So,
that different kinds of birds would just build their nests in his beard. Okay. So, if you
haven’t seen my other lesson with Edward Lear, “The Owl and the Pussycat”, he seemed to like
to mention owls for some reason. So, have a look at “The Owl and the Pussycat” poem,
if you haven’t already seen it. Okay. And then, finally, we have an example of a
limerick which actually breaks one of the rules; the rule of the rhythm and the… The
idea of having three strong beats, and two strong beats, depending on which line it is.
And those beats… This word “scan” is about that. “To scan”, it means it has to have the
correct rhythm; it can’t sort of go wrong. It has to have a strong beat on a regular…
On a regular basis. So, if it doesn’t scan… If a poem doesn’t scan, it doesn’t really
sound right. It needs to have the right rhythm. Okay. So, this limerick, it actually only breaks
the rule in the last line. So, it follows the rule for the first four lines. It follows
the rhyming rule and the rhythm rule, but it’s just in the last line that it goes wrong,
but it’s quite funny the way it does that. So: There was a young man from Japan
Whose limericks never would scan. And when they asked why, (“they” being just
other people; when people asked why). He said ‘I do try!’ (So up to here it’s all
fine, but then we’ve got the last line, here). But when I get to the last line I try to
fit in as many words as I possibly can. So, even… That does rhyme with “scan” and
“Japan”, but you can see how it’s far too long to fit the usual rule of the rhythm.
But it’s funny because the subject is that he couldn’t scan; he couldn’t get his limericks
to scan, because: “when I get to the last line I try to fit in as many words as I possibly
can”. Okay, so there are two examples of limericks
which follow the rules, and one example that shows how you can break the rules. You can
have one that breaks the rhyming rule, and you could have no rhyming at all at the ends,
and that also will sound funny; it will make people laugh simply because it breaks that
rule of rhyming. Okay, so I wonder if you might be interested
in trying to write a limerick of your own, and have a try; and if you succeed, post it
in the comments section of the engVid website – www.engvid.com comments. We will also have
a quiz on there, so look out for that, too. Okay? And we’re looking forward to seeing
all your limericks, so have fun with it. Okay, so thanks for watching and see you again soon.
Bye.

51 thoughts on “Fun & Easy English with Poems: THE LIMERICK

  1. Thank you, Mrs. Gill, I love poetry. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  2. Lovely lesson on limericks. I used to have ever so much fun trying to write them when I was at school. I hope you have a lovely Christmas, Gill!

  3. You put a big smile every time I see a new video from you! You are so kind and energetic!

  4. There was a gal named Betty Sue who use to shop when she had nothing to do. For her surprise, she had found a bag of fries and said "Eureka" this will do!

  5. Respected teacher Gill,

    Thank you very much for your nice, useful and relaxing English classes.

    Do you allow me to ask you where are you from?

    I wish you a lovely Christmas and an Happy and peacefully 2019 Year.

  6. That Japan limerick 
    reminded me of the "Deadline Poet", 
    a journalist who'd make up limericks 
    that don't rhyme. His excuse was that
    there wasn't enough time.

  7. I'm a 87 years old Chinese who has never set his foot on foreign soil . I still remember my very first English lesson in junior high : One, two, three, four, five, I've caught a fish alive; six, seven, eight, nine, ten, I've let it go again !

  8. Christmas is round the corner,
    The clock goes tick tocking,
    Wishing Gill a Christmas filled with wonder,
    Her lesson is so interesting,
    I just can't wait for another.
    Here's my limerick, Gill. Hopefully you will read and give me comments.Cheers!😊

  9. Another one from my first English lesson: Good, better, best; never let it rest; till good is better,and better best.

  10. Dear Gill, you are an amazing teacher, every lesson is so ivolving. Wishing you all the best in 2019.

  11. This one is more to tongue twister, but I do like it

    “One-One was a horse.
    Two-Two was one, too.
    One-One won one race,
    Two-Two won one, too.”

  12. Hello, Lady Gil. I'm Leonardo and I'm from Petrópolis, Brazil. I love your teachen way. Nice voice, nice didactic and everything else. I love you!

  13. Thank you for this lovely lesson on limericks! Demystifying poetry is important, I think.

  14. This video is lovely. It is just I’ve been looking for! I did learn lots of novel things today. Thank you and keep making good videos. Love you

  15. 🐞🌈thanks a lot 🌓🏡🌲💐💐💐💐💐💐🏵💐💐💐🏵🏵💐💐🏵🏵🏵🏵🏵

  16. Nice poem for you
    By trusting whom
    I was born go man go
    My time will win
    After it win come man come
    In the pond no water no crane no fish
    In the till no money
    Our son we own not
    If coconut tree we bear coconut water
    If a boy we bear tears
    Father’s heart is mad
    Son’s heart is stone
    If pot has food
    Cats are relatives
    For burden to be shared
    No near & dear
    My mind is brave
    Enough time is there
    If I ponder over
    I will do correctly
    Who are you?
    & who am I ?
    Go man go
    If in July winds comes
    In August it will rain
    If lucky time comes to favour
    All wealth runs to come

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