Get Your Premium Membership

Clean and Clever Limerick Contest Update - Roy Jerden's Blog

About Roy Jerden
(Show Details...)
Bloggers Photo
You say you want a revolution?
  • Well you know, we all want to change the world

Clean and Clever Limerick Contest Update

Blog Posted:11/17/2014 7:51:00 AM

So far, out of 31 limericks submitted, only three have passed all the technical requirements.

A few had the syllable count off, a few didn't follow the AABBA rhyme scheme or didn't have perfect rhyme, a few were not dated, and one had the poet's name on the poem. A couple weren't clean. Many had multiple issues. 

Check your syllable count at .

Of the others that didn't pass, by far the main issue is  the meter.

Please review your poem again and consider doing a scansion to check the meter. Look at the contest rules to make sure you comply with all of them. Otherwise, you will not be placed.

See my previous blog about how to do a scansion. http://

On the meter, the poem must follow one of several specific anapest patterns as explained in the rules:
The meter must show the following variable syllable stress pattern:

 (da) da DUM da da DUM da da DUM (da) (da)  
 (da) da DUM da da DUM da da DUM (da) (da)  
 (da) da DUM da da DUM (da)  
 (da) da DUM da da DUM (da)  
 (da) da DUM da da DUM da da DUM (da) (da)  
Meaning that you may leave off any of the optional syllables in parentheses.

I will specify the permissible metric patterns below for clarity.

For lines 1, 2 and 5:

8 syllables:
da DUM da da DUM da da DUM

I had one 8 syllable limerick that used da da DUM da da DUM da da. That is not correct.

9 syllables:
da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM
da DUM da da DUM da da DUM da

10 syllables:
da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM da
da DUM da da DUM da da DUM da da

11 syllables:
da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM da da

For lines 3 and 4:

5 syllables:
da DUM da da DUM

6 syllables:
da da DUM da da DUM
da DUM da da DUM da

7 syllables:
da da DUM da da DUM da

BTW, it was not listed as a requirement, but ideally, the meter in lines 3 and 4 should start with the same starting metric pattern as 1, 2, and 5.

The other trap a poet falls into is syncopation, i.e. forcing the pronounciation of the words into the correct metric pattern even though they would not normally be pronounced that way naturally. It's an easy trap to fall into, which is why a scansion is important.

There was one poem that was very close that I wanted to mention so it can be corrected:

There once was a housewife named Claire
Who shook her dust mop in the air
The dust whirled like stars
The earth, moon and mars...
Who’s shaking a dust mop up there?

There ONCE was a HOUSE-wife named CLAIRE - OK
Who SHOOK her DUST mop in the AIR - meter doesn't work. See line 5. 
The DUST whirled like STARS - OK
The EARTH, moon and MARS.  - OK (planets should be capitalized, BTW)
Who’s SHAK-ing a DUST mop up THERE? - OK

The stressed syllables in "dust mop" have to be consistent.  I think "dust" is the stressed syllable, but either way, it has to be stressed consistently. You cannot pronounce it "dust MOP" in line 2 and "DUST mop" in line 5 to make it fit the pattern artificially. That is syncopation.

None of the limericks came even close to making me laugh. A faint smile at the best. 

If you want the limerick to be funny, it should employ traditional humorous devices. 

The most common device is what the Germans call Schadenfreude, happiness at the misfortune of others. It's the president's pratfall, the pompous church lady with the toilet paper stuck to her shoe, etc. 

Another device, a bit kinder, is incongruity. That's the surprise twist, the punchline at the end that often makes a joke funny.

Another common device is manipulation of the language, using puns and tortured rhyme, dialect or clever double entendres.

The really funny limericks will use several humorous devices.

You can get ideas from jokes. The idea is to discover what the essence of the joke is and use that , not just reproduce the joke. You have only five lines. The first two are to set up the premise. The second two can either extend the premise or turn it. The last line should be the punch line, ideally a surprise twist.

I will check all the poems again before final placement.


Please Login to post a comment
Date: 11/20/2014 11:10:00 PM
I don't think Roy is being too strict. He is simply being firm in what he is asking for. I find that people are often too soft. I see contest here where people are placed that ignored or broke rules. Not only is this pathetic, but it is a disservice to those that followed the rules. Even with the best effort, in the end, if the job is not done, it remains undone. Don't like the rules of a contest? Cant write to the rules of a contest? Then don't enter. Better that, then to enter and expect something you don't deserve. Want to grow, then practice, research, etc. Don't try to sell the justification of breaking the rules under the pretense of 'growing'. And Roy, stick to your guns.
Login to Reply
Date: 11/20/2014 10:02:00 PM
You are being too strict Roy, effort should be rewarded as well as perfection if we are to grow in our skills.
Login to Reply
Jerden Avatar
Roy Jerden
Date: 11/20/2014 10:29:00 PM
I have no way to measure or determine effort in a PS contest. There is no feedback mechanism. I can only measure results, as far as the technical requirements go. It's a five line rhyming poem with regular meter, not rocket science. Every one of the ones with errors are easily fixable. It's like figure skating. You have to do the mandatory forms before the artistic part.
Date: 11/20/2014 9:23:00 PM
Some folks have removed their poems from the contest, so I am opening it back up.
Login to Reply
Date: 11/20/2014 5:57:00 PM
I did not enter a limerick in this contest because of the humor factor. If it doesn't make me laugh I don't figure it will make anybody else laugh. I think you make a very good point about the humor factor Roy. I did check my meter though. It was low so I threw in a bunch more quarters and now I can park there for another hour. You see what I mean about the humor factor...not funny...even annoying. Cheers and good luck with your contest Roy.
Login to Reply
Date: 11/21/2014 5:39:00 PM
LOL Maurice you had me giggling here:-) Hugs jan xx
carmack Avatar
rob carmack
Date: 11/20/2014 11:24:00 PM
Date: 11/19/2014 2:18:00 AM
okay, i'll check mine, roy.. thanks
Login to Reply
Date: 11/18/2014 12:47:00 PM
the contest is now closed Roy - can we still amend the poems? Hugs jan xx
Login to Reply
Date: 11/18/2014 2:24:00 PM
thanks Roy:-)
Jerden Avatar
Roy Jerden
Date: 11/18/2014 2:19:00 PM
I'm giving everyone a few days to make their corrections. Should be plenty of time to fix it. Cheers, Roy
Date: 11/17/2014 10:20:00 PM
:P :P :P
Login to Reply
Date: 11/17/2014 3:19:00 PM
by the way, thanks for the heads up on that one word I misspelled in a contest the other day. It was not a typo. I just never really used that word before!!
Login to Reply
Date: 11/17/2014 3:16:00 PM
oops, I think I did not know the date rule!! HOpe I passed everything else!!!
Login to Reply
Date: 11/17/2014 2:21:00 PM
One thing from your blog, you wrote: [You cannot pronounce it "dust MOP" in line 2 and "DUST mop" in line 5 to make it fit the pattern artifically. That is syncopation.] I thought this was possible, because the stress of a one syllable words is determined by word order, not the word itself (for single syllable words).
Login to Reply
Date: 11/17/2014 12:55:00 PM
Thanks, I see where I went wrong even though it fell into a false meter at first. Thanks - I will revise!
Login to Reply

My Past Blog Posts

Kiss of the Eagle
Date Posted: 7/20/2019 7:35:00 AM
Tim Ryerson
Date Posted: 4/27/2018 7:09:00 PM
Life in Hell by Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons)
Date Posted: 11/6/2016 5:17:00 AM
Family Reunion
Date Posted: 5/20/2016 7:29:00 PM
Lucifer Gets the Gig
Date Posted: 3/9/2016 9:45:00 AM
Rindersella and the Pransome Hence
Date Posted: 3/1/2016 1:45:00 PM
Spoonerisms Contest
Date Posted: 2/27/2016 7:45:00 PM
In Defense of Critique
Date Posted: 2/22/2016 3:21:00 PM
I felt wrinkly, so I did some irony.
Date Posted: 2/13/2016 8:11:00 PM
Having some fun with Photoshop...
Date Posted: 1/8/2016 8:05:00 AM
Thanks for your support
Date Posted: 6/3/2015 6:42:00 AM
Hosting multiple open contests.
Date Posted: 5/12/2015 8:23:00 PM
A Sonnet for Pansy
Date Posted: 5/5/2015 8:50:00 AM
My story was published this month
Date Posted: 5/2/2015 9:09:00 PM
Pi Day 2015
Date Posted: 3/13/2015 3:05:00 PM
Foodies - Part 2
Date Posted: 1/7/2015 11:30:00 AM
East Jesus Contest Judged
Date Posted: 1/2/2015 9:21:00 AM
Happy New Year to the World of Poets
Date Posted: 12/31/2014 6:23:00 PM
Merry Christmas to the World of Poets
Date Posted: 12/25/2014 5:54:00 AM
Foodies - Part 1
Date Posted: 12/20/2014 2:01:00 PM
How kids perceive their grandparents
Date Posted: 12/19/2014 5:55:00 AM
Got Writer's Block?
Date Posted: 12/6/2014 8:10:00 AM
Clean and Clever Limerick Contest Update
Date Posted: 11/17/2014 7:51:00 AM
My First Short Story - Accepted for publication
Date Posted: 11/2/2014 6:46:00 PM
Happy Halloween
Date Posted: 10/31/2014 7:18:00 AM

My Recent Poems

Date PostedPoemTitleFormCategories
3/14/2017 Donald's Blunderland Political Versepolitical,
1/27/2017 Can You Trump That Limerickpolitical,
3/23/2016 One Hit Wonder Quatrainart,poetry,
3/18/2016 But Her Bruises Were Green Limerickhumorous,
2/27/2016 Pussy Paean Quatraincat,
2/24/2016 That Dog Don't Hunt Limerickpoetry,
2/9/2016 Rewind World Quatrainsorry,
2/7/2016 Lucifer Gets the Gig Proseheaven,satire,universe,
2/5/2016 Return to the Sea Free versebeach,death,sea,
1/30/2016 OMG, That's So Cliche Rhymepoetry,satire,
1/24/2016 And When You Look at Me Quaternlove,romance,
1/23/2016 Way Back Then Rhymehumor,humorous,nostalgia,
1/22/2016 The Virgin Witch of Moulineaux Villanellelove,magic,valentines day
1/13/2016 Table Hogs Limericksatire,
1/3/2016 Another Trip Around the Sun Sonnetnew year,
7/6/2015 The Waning of Dreams Coupletdepression,sad,wine,
5/26/2015 Poetic Ambitions Quatrainart,poems,poetry,
5/4/2015 A Song for Pansy Rhymehistory,
4/17/2015 English Lit Rhymehumor,
4/10/2015 Scratch Rhymechildhood,humor,nostalgia
11/29/2014 But I Must Stay Villanellesad,
11/29/2014 The Pedicure Virgin Prosehumor,
11/14/2014 One Tolkien Over the Line Rhymetribute,
11/5/2014 Message of the Moth Coupletangst,longing,
10/25/2014 Pi Day Rhymehumor,
10/15/2014 Halloween on the Dark Side of Town Rhymeholiday,satire,
9/15/2014 The Empty Quarter Alliterationearth,nature,stars,univer
8/5/2014 Pickett Tupp and Poteeta Whey Quatrainchild,children,
7/22/2014 A Brush of Wings Versebird,
7/8/2014 Willow: A Fable Rhymechildren,death,dream,fant
6/30/2014 Ragnarok: The Storm Epyllionweather,
6/28/2014 Dante's Path Quatrainspiritual,
5/26/2014 Albert Einstein Clerihewhumorous,science,
5/7/2014 Jonah Falcon He's Not Limerickfunny,
5/6/2014 The Well Traveled Linguist Limerickhumorous,
5/2/2014 The Devil Can Cite Scripture For His Purpose Rhymehate,religion,slam,
4/1/2014 My Thunderous Wondrous Electric Toy Train Rhymechristmas,nostalgia,
3/11/2014 Premature Exoneration Limerickholiday,humor,
2/10/2014 A Series of Unfortunate Darwin Awards Limerickdeath,humorous,silly,
1/23/2014 Ancient Dance Sonnetlove,
12/28/2013 The Whittlers Cowboygrowing up,nostalgia,
12/19/2013 Redneck Santa Rhymechristmas,parody,
12/17/2013 The Tale of the China Poblana Epichistory,
5/15/2013 The Conceit of Poetry Coupletphilosophy,universe,
3/23/2013 Tiger's Wood Limericksports,
2/17/2013 All Hat and No Cattle Cowboyhumorous,old,time,
2/10/2013 Dark Temptress Sonnetfood,humorous,passion,
1/30/2013 Icebox Days Rhymechildhood,growing up,humo
1/26/2013 The Angel Inside Rhymeallegory,angel,art,beauti
1/22/2013 Call Me Tex Cowboyhome,humorous,me,satire,
1/10/2013 Bobcat Moon Rhymeautumn,friendship,loss,mo
12/9/2012 Six Man Dance Rhymeautumn,football,nostalgia
8/27/2012 Kiss of the Eagle Rhymeadventure,space,travel,
8/23/2012 Delicacy of Leaves Rhymehappiness,nature,time,
8/10/2012 Keep It Turnin' to the Right Rhymeday,earth,funny,life,love
8/10/2012 Cruisin' the Drag Rhymecar,funny,growing up,high

My Photos

Fav Poems

Amazement Free verselife,places,voice,
Pearl Diving Quatrainlove,
Slow Movin Tights Balladme,red,women,
Oh, Heavenly Night Lyricheart,night,
A Voice In The Wind Rhymeimagination,nature,
Sailing the Seas In A Pecan Tree Rhymeadventure,old,
Soul of the Poet Quatrainfarewell,poems,poetess,
Generations Epicbirth,death,hope,life,
Muse Free versewords,writing,,Lullaby,
Falling upward Rhymeanger,angst,bereavement,b
No Longer Mourn for Me When I Am Dead Lyricdeath,faith,religious,
Ashen Snow Villanellesad,september,

Fav Poets

Mark Peterson United States Flag United States Read