Limerick: The Rhyme Too Tough To Die


Tombstone, Arizona, touted as “the town too tough to die”, has nothing on the limerick. The much hated and denigrated rhyme, often beginning with words like, “There once was a man from Nantucket”, may be scorned by self-styled “serious” poets…but the five line format is simple to write, easy to remember and, oh yeah, impossible to forget.

I was mucking out the semi trailer a bit this afternoon, lifting one box at a time out of the forty foot storage unit. We’ve known for years that this needed to be done, both to cut down on the ridiculous hoarder’s style of clutter within its walls and to start doing something about the invasion by mobs of field mice. There was no sign of any mouse on the premises for the first couple of years we were here, but the furry little hantavirus carriers had found it by the fall of 2011, and the die was cast.

Did you know that when a mouse travels, it drops urine every few steps?

Ew-w-w? We agree. Beyond the obvious problem of a mouse in the house meaning mouse wee-wee all the way home, the drops lay down a scent trail. Where one mouse has gone, others can and will follow, being sociable critters among their own kind. I remember when Dad quit raising wheat on the ranch in Montana. I was thirteen at the time. The most remarkable aspect of that shift in our agricultural operation was not the lack of golden fields at harvest time but the lack of any need to use the granary ever again. A fair amount of grain left over from that last harvest was left to rot on the granary floor…and the mice decided there was no need to seek any farther; they had found the golden riches of El Dorado.

At the age of fourteen, I happened to check out the interior of that granary one fine summer day. The place was alive with rodents! There were dozens of the little beasties in there. Nay, scores! Possibly hundreds.

Despite the lack of moldy old grain stockpiles in the semi trailer we’ve been using as a storage unit, there’s plenty of mouse sign in there. Many of the contents are ruined, especially things made of paper or fabric, items easily soaked and glued together with copious amounts of mouse urine and topped off with layers of dark little mouse turds like some dung beetle’s dream of a birthday cake with sprinkles on top. Teddy bears? Not a chance. Bedding? Don’t go there. Precious family records, song lyrics, manuscripts? Iffy, taken on a case by case basis.

And wouldn’t you know, a booklet of limericks popped up. It took a bit to remember, studying the binder containing more than 20 sheets filled with notes and no less than 184 verses written in one three day period during my truck driving days in Colorado, circa 2007.

As the sun sank toward the western horizon, I sat down with the binder, going through the limericks, one by one. The binder had been mouse-blasted; it would have to go in one of the black plastic bags destined for the landfill. The burn barrel had been busy all afternoon and would receive more than a few of the limerick pages as well–not because those sheets were overly mousy, but because many of the limericks were (naturally) unsuitable for this mostly G rated site.

Still, there were a lot of those little rhymes that weren’t racy enough to eliminate, weren’t so incomprehensible that even I couldn’t understand their meanings when rereading them, and were possibly worthy of publication.

Some of them are presented here. They’re listed with the original numbers; big gaps between numbers will show the reader just how many were eliminated from consideration. There will likely still be enough produce the MEGO effect. (“My Eyes Glaze Over.”)

But who knows? Perhaps one or more of them will inspire you, to comment either positively or negatively or with the ultimate accolade for a limerick, i.e. the theatrical groan. You may even decide to add a limerick of your own, and if it’s with in the bounds of decency and common sense, we’ll even approve it as a permanent part of this page.

Without further ado–brace yourself–the limericks:


#39. There once was a woman named Myrtle
Who fell really hard for a turtle
She climbed in his shell
And fit there quite well
By using a stainless steel girdle

#40. There once was a music fanatic
Who hated the radio static
He finally found
It helped out the sound
To stand on his head in the attic

#47. A girl quite addicted to buying
Covered it often by lying
She said, Husband, dear,
All this stuff right here,
Russia just gave me for spying

#49. There once was a girl so superior
She patented her own posterior
Forget inner beauty
Declared this young cutie
It’s all about gilded posterior

#51. There once was a traitor named Jane
Who got our guys killed in the rain
There’s no way to find
What went through her mind
Unless you ask Natalie Main

#52. Remember the still missing vet
Someday we might just find him yet
If we don’t or do
The motto’s still true
Rain or shine, don’t ever forget

#54. There once was a cute antelope
Who knew she would have to elope
Her mate was a stag
Who dressed all in drag
The herd couldn’t possibly cope

#55. Once an old timer Egyptian
Hieroglyphically left an inscription
The scholars were wowed
They figured it out
An ancient narcotics prescription

#63. Once an astute politician
Decided he’d rather go fishin’
He’d lied for the vote
But out on the boat
The fishies don’t pack ammunition

#67. There once was a man who was smelly
From things that he put in his belly
Cold wolverine stew
And skunk cutlets, too
Plus rattlesnakes pounded to jelly

#79. There once was a man who would dicker
To get all his shopping done quicker
He cut off his leg
Just so he could beg
For a handicapped parking spot sticker

#80. There once was a man with a rifle
Who told a whole town they should stifle
They shut his big yap
With a simple bear trap
He’d miscalculated a trifle

#97. There once was a weird electrician
Who’d also become a mortician
He wired up the dead
Till they danced in bed
“Zombies on Crack” the rendition

#106. A man bought a sporty new Blazer
But neglected the use of a razor
He went for the couch
But his girl said ouch
And hit him three times with a Tazer

#109. There once was a writer named Cory
Whose novels were bloody and gory
His wife said I’m not
A fan of the plot
Yet royalties tell a great story

#122. There once was a sleepy old trucker
Whose rig was a rough riding bucker
He never complained
Although when it rained
It made several parts of him pucker

#126. There once was a baseball reliever
Who came down with a steroid high fever
He threw with a spark
Clean out of the park
Clearly an overachiever

#127. A girl who’d been incarcerated
Believed men were much overrated
She’d sulk and she’d pout
And chew the guys out
For some reason she seldom dated

#131. There once was a real estate rental
With a ghost that tried to be gentle
Yet haunted the place
Without a real face
And drove every new tenant mental

#155. A cowboy from deep down in Texas
Had a high number of exes
White, black, brown, and red
Plus a fellow named Ted
Produced by a witch woman’s hexes

#156. There once was a lazy young cougar
Who acquired a six-shooter Ruger
He got all his game
With excellent aim
And even took out Freddie Krueger

#168. A girl who excelled as a hiker
Zipped right past a broken down biker
She ignored his Harley
And that made him snarly
Great legs or not, he don’t like her

#171. A man had a girlfriend named Daisy
Who was certifiably crazy
But nuts are worthwhile
And have their own style
Much better than those who are lazy

#175. A cocky young risk underwriter
Put down his bet on a fighter
The gambler went broke
He backed the wrong bloke
The guy had a glass jaw, only lighter

#183. There once was a practicing wizard
Who assumed the form of a lizard
Eating wild crickets
Kept him from rickets
He still froze to death in a blizzard

(*Whew!*) Glad to see the end of all that! The papers from which these limericks were taken are now lining the trash can, destined to one day join their mates in the burn barrel. Come the weekend, more mouse tainted boxes will be shuffled out of the semi trailer, but there won’t be any more “surprise writings” of this sort.

For which we can all be thankful.

6 thoughts on “Limerick: The Rhyme Too Tough To Die

  1. I got through about 10 of them before my UGH!!! meter went off. I will see if I can get through more of them tomorrow. You definitely got the groan.

  2. Yeah, I’ pretty sure the smelly one was the Becky-stopper, too. Must be a guy thing. Back in high school, or maybe it was grade school, the boys used to pose icky questions to each other in the school lunch line, just to gross out the girls.

  3. Cool! You liked my favorite (the cougar with a Ruger).

    Glad to see you consider the groan factor high with this bunch, too. The post seems to be pulling steady daily views. Based on the tally to date, it could hit my Top 100 list in two to three weeks.

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