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Scabby Donkeys

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"Scabby donkeys can smell each other over seven hills."
—Lyle Gorch


A popular form in children’s verse, the limerick is often comical, nonsensical, and sometimes bawdy. The form is well known to generations of English-speaking readers, by way of Mother Goose nursery rhymes, first published in 1791. Typically, the first two lines rhyme with each other, the third and fourth rhyme together, and the fifth line either repeats the first line or rhymes with it.

Though the origin of the limerick is not entirely known, it has an active, if not long, history. Limericks published in eighteenth-century Mother Goose’s Melodies are thought to be among the oldest. Poets quickly adopted the form and published limericks widely. Among them, Edward Lear’s self-illustrated Book of Nonsense, from 1846, remains a benchmark.

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/limerick-poetic-form



I

Ol' "Beerbohm" thought women delightful
Though he knew not a few who were spiteful—
Not sugar and spice
Not anything nice—
And a few of the few downright frightful!



II

When asked for a word rhymes with Venus,
The Platonic young co-ed said Peaness.
Then she started to blush,
and smiled through the hush—
That's what Plato would call Gollygeeness!


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III

Truly Beauty's a form of a spell,
unlike Truth, and harder to tell—
Beauty, funny and smart;
Beauty with a warm heart...
Beauty Soulless is Life's Living Hell!

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IV

A woman was peeling potatoes
while dreaming of sunny Barbados—
A good mother and wife,
but how short human life!—
Then she started slicing tomatoes.


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V

A big-boned young diva from Raleigh
sang her heart out in the finale—
she hit those high C's
with grace and with ease—
and then it was over by golly!


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VI

You are what you eat, it is said.
But the dormouse chimed in: "Feed your head."
The hidden assumption
behind all consumption—
Well fed he will be who's well read.


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VII

Those lemmings have taught us a lot—
what we are and what we are not.
How many can say
that they go their own way?
Or is Follow the Leader our Plot?


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VIII

God love the mechanical bull!
Keep it real, and not virtual—
Raucous honky-tonk nights,
wild-eyed cutaway sprites,
And that variable speed push and pull!


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IX

Here's the lowdown on Little Bo-Peep,
the doofus who lost all her sheep—
Look, the nursery rhyme lied:
the sheep, they all died—
They're just wagging their tails in your sleep!


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X

There once was a curious critter
that used a bidet after litter—
Not only hygienic,
she was photogenic—
but nary a bowl could quite fit her!


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