|The Big Foot limerick|
|click image to open video page|
A LIMERICK is a five-line poem written with one couplet and one triplet. If a couplet is a two-line rhymed poem, then a triplet would be a three-line rhymed poem. The pattern of the rhyme is a - a - b - b - a with lines 1, 2 and 5 containing 3 beats and rhyming, and lines 3 and 4 having two beats and rhyming. Although it is generally believed that Edward Lear devised the LIMERICK, it is nevertheless a fact that the five-line poem was around long before he made popular his nonsense verse. Some claim that the LIMERICK was invented by soldiers returning from France to the Irish town of Limerick in the 1700's.
Limericks are excellent for helping students of English understand the rhythm of the English language, because English is not pronounced with syllables (as Spanish, for instance), but with beats, and every beat may contain one or many syllables, but all beats have the same length of time.
Limericks are meant to be funny, in fact they are jokes written as a poem. They often contain hyperbole, onomatopoeia, idioms, puns, and other figurative devices. The last line of a good limerick contains the 'punch line' or 'heart' of the joke. Enough of the technical stuff - LIMERICKS are supposed to be 'fun' rhymes. Enjoy the rhythm as well as the words and as you say the words, clap your hands in time with the rhythm.
So, to sum it up, a limerick contains these lines:
1- 3 beats (rhyme A)
2- 3 beats (rhyme A)
3- 2 beats (rhyme B)
4- 2 beats (rhyme B)
5- 3 beats (rhyme A)
Here's an example of a limerick:
There was an old man from Peru
Who dream he was eating his shoe
In the midst of the night
He woke up in a fright
And found it was perfectly true!
But the best way to understand the nature of a limerick is to listen to a native person reciting it. You can listen to it here:
(it doesn't matter if you don't understand the limericks, just appreciate its rhythm, the places where pauses are made and the way the beats flow)
The Big Foot Limerick
A girl from the forest of Brig
Met Big Foot while dancing a jig
With a glim in her eye
She can now testify
It's not only his foot that is big
BIG FOOT= The north American version of the yeti or Abominable Snowman from Tibet. Here is a video with images of the Big Foot: Big Foot sightings.
JIG= A traditional lively Irish/Scottish dance. This dance was originated in England in the 16th century, but today it is much more associated with Irish or Scottish folklore. (watch girls dancing a jig here: Highland jig).
A GLIM= A spark of light. If she has a glim in her eyes, her eyes are shining (for example out of excitement or emotion or happines, etc)