About Professor Corrigan: David Corrigan, an assistant professor at Salem Community College and author of The Last Time I Saw Julie Hopkins, earned his master’s degree in computer science education from Widener University. More than participating in many courses in linguistics or even the literature component of the Graduate Institute in Liberal Education at St. John’s College (Annapolis), Mr. Corrigan sometimes attributes his interest in language to his early exposure to a (printed) Webster’s College Dictionary: “Where else can you find adventure, danger, excitement, heroes, inspiration, mystery, romance, suspense, and at least a dozen other really neat words all in one place?”
Introduction: What Is Limerku?
Limerku, which was first developed in the late 20th century and is sometimes referred to as Haimerick, is the offspring of the marriage of two universally appreciated poetic forms: the limerick and haiku. For anyone unfamiliar with the fundamentals of the two source forms, the following is a brief overview.
A traditional limerick, historically linked to the Emerald Isle, contains five lines with a rhyme scheme of AABBA and a whimsical, at times bawdy, humorous air. For example…
There once was a species of poem
That grew fast as if planted in loam.
When asked, “What are you?”
And, this book is my very first home.”
Another island nation, that of the rising sun, presented haiku to the world. Three lines—the first having five syllables, the second seven syllables, and the last having five syllables, all devoted to a juxtaposition of observations made (typically) about nature—characterize haiku. There is no rhyme requirement. As an example…
Noon day sun, furnace
In fierce desert. Fun time fare
For folks on the beach.
The writer who attempts to work in limerku seeks to combine the rhyme pattern (and perhaps whimsy) of limerick with the tight line and syllable restrictions of haiku. The focus on juxtapositions or nature, while appreciated, is not a requirement for successful limerku.
To reconcile the apparent conflict of the rhyme scheme required by limerick with the line scheme of haiku, limerku relies on internal rhymes in the first and second lines, and the final line’s rhyming with the first line. In the first line, either the second or third syllable should rhyme with the final syllable. The third or fourth syllable of the second line should rhyme with the seventh syllable of that line.
Can’t teach or beseech
A rising tide to subside
From a castled beach.
Drum stick, banjo pick,
Woodwind, brass, string–play or sing.
Make life rich: Music!
A Library’s Legacy
Slaves freed, heroes lead,
A new place, time, even space
Can be yours. Just read.
Reaction to Modern Poetry
In your verse, don’t curse.
Show your wit, not lack of it.
Golden speech disperse.
The job’s done, course run.
Our last babe wed; all have fled.
New futures begun.
Something new for you!
May we propose you compose
Your own limerku?