Everyone knows of the limerick, and can probably recite several. The jingly
sound is instantly recognisable - the worksheet helps to keep the rhythm and
rhyme correct so that the finished verse sounds right.
A simple way of starting is to decide on who the limerick is to be about
(this will take 3 or 4 beats or syllables - a fat cat, a thin monkey, an old
man) and write this into the beat-boxes after the There was. In the next
free box write the word from or of.
You should now have either one or two boxes empty at the end of the first line.
Now choose a place - remembering that it will need to fill either one or two
beats (for example - York, Ayr, Cardiff, Dundee) and will also set the rhyme
for all three long lines.
When you have decided on and written down the place name, make a list of words
that will rhyme with it. This will help you think about possible ways to begin
the story in line 2 or how the limerick could finish in line 5. It is usually
easiest to give the character something to do in line 2 and then work out a
suitable result of the action for line 5. The two short middle lines will
link these two ideas together.
The stories in most limericks are strange and silly so you can be as crazy as
you like, but keeping to the rhythm is essential.
You may know some examples of limericks that use 9 and 6 beats in the long
and short lines, but whichever length you use it is better to start from the
tightest form (as on the worksheet) and add the extra beats as necessary. Be
careful not to make the first line longer than the second or the third
longer than the fourth.
Remember that most of the beats are in groups (called
feet) of three beats, so that some combinations of words will sound odd
even if they have the right number of beats. Beware of getting into a TUM-tum
rhythm - the sound is tum-TUM-tum.
Some words, 'a' in particular, are so short that they often don't need a beat
of their own if they are not stressed. You will find out whether they need
one by reading the limerick aloud, keeping to the correct rhythm.