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Poetry Friday : March 17, 2017.
Slice of Life March Challenge. No.17.

A slice–
Today I’m wearing green.

A blessing–
Today, in the tradition of the Irish, I share two blessings, from me to you. The first one I adapted from Psalms 84:11-12.

The second one is a well-known Irish blessing; it’s one I’ve loved since sixth grade.

I love Irish blessings — the folklore, the deep faith, and the music of them when they are read.

More slicing and limericks–
This is the perfect day for limericks — being St. Patrick’s Day and Poetry Friday on the same day!  Now, there are those who would fault me for calling a limerick a poem. But each to his own. Anyway, since both fell on the same day, I’ve been doing some back reading on limericks this week.

  • I began with Edward Lear. Did you know that he wrote and sketched first for children?
  • And then I moved on to how to write a limerick.
  • And finally I visited a wonderful site about Limerick City.

I could have gone on and on and on, but I’d already used more time than I’d allotted. So, here is what I found, learned, and enjoyed.

  • Edward Lear

Edward Lear popularized the limerick although he didn’t call it that. Here’s a bit of what I read…

Lear had initially produced poems, drawings, alphabets, and menus for the entertainment of the children at Knowsley; these “nonsenses”—and Lear’s charming conversation and piano improvisations—had soon ingratiated him with the adults as well. . . .

The Learian limerick focuses on the singular individual, an old or young “Person,” “Man,” or “Lady,” who is distinguished by unusual appearance, behavior, talents, diet, or dress. In its most typical form it announces the existence of the eccentric, notes his dwelling place, and describes his distinctive features; then it explains the consequences of his peculiarity and concludes with an apostrophe:

There was a Young Lady of Norway,
Who casually sat in a doorway;
When the door squeezed her flat, she exclaimed “What of that?”
This courageous Young Lady of Norway.

The limerick generally has a closed structure, repeating the final word of the first line at the end of the last rather than utilizing the unexpected, punch-line rhyme that characterizes the successful modern limerick.
– quoted from Poetry Foundation

Here’s an image of the cover of one of Edward Lear’s books —

You really must see The Project Gutenberg eBook, Nonsense Books, by Edward Lear

The  index of this book, shared by Gutenberg, makes navigation through the book easy.
Check out some cartoon-like framed versions of Lear’s limericks.

  • Writing limericks

A word of caution for the classroom: If you’ve not worked with limericks before, beware that the subject matter is often vulgar or obscene. However, there are many that are simply humorous nonsense.

In my classroom–
The limerick is a great vehicle to notice and intentionally apply some basics of poetic form — lines, syllables, meter, rhyme patterns. It also ties into our word work with rhyming words, homophones (homonyms), and multi-meaning words.

I did a quick search and found a great resource: How to Write a Limerick. In addition to being a step-by-step how-to, the post has images (slides) that you can drag and drop onto your desktop to use to create a slide presentation for students.

I couldn’t resist posting one of the Wiki images here.

Be sure to go to the very end of the post to read the “Tips.”  The first tip about clapping should be incorporated into any lesson on limericks. Also, the tip about choosing the subject of the limerick. And near the end of the list, the tip about generating rhyming words is most useful.

I wrote a limerick.

There once was a girl in a shell
Tossed up on the sand by a swell
A crab scurried near
And we shed a tear
For the beautiful girl in a shell.
–Alice Nine

  • Limerick City, in County Limerick, Ireland

I wanted to know more about Limerick, the place. My search led me to Sharon Slater’s website,  Limerick’s Life. I spent way too much time clicking through pictures and reading some fascinating accounts even though I am not personally connected to anything about this town and its people.  One account I found very interesting: Naming the O’Toole Children.

If you love history — the old-photographs, stories-of-common-people, local-legends kind of history, you will enjoy Sharon Slater’s site.


Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge is hosting
the Poetry Friday Roundup today.
Join us there!  Thank you, Robyn!

Poetry Friday Schedule: 2017 January – June.
Poetry Friday Guidelines
More about Poetry Friday

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for hosting
2017 Slice of Life Story Challenge