Stan Carey recently ran a competition: write limericks on the theme of language. I had a few goes but didn’t win, although writing them was a pleasure in itself. These were my entries (yes, I respect you so much, dear reader, that I offer you recycled failures):
When proofreading great men of letters
Remember they think they’re your betters.
They wrote it? They meant it!
A rule broke? They ‘bent’ it!
The editors they like are stetters.
In matters linguistic and verbal
I’m often reduced to a burble
I try for a word
But it comes out absurd
Having stuck in my throat like a furball
When you’re a stylistic obsessive
You see words and get all possessive
If a line’s badly phrased
Then your hackles get raised
And your voice becomes passive-aggressive
The three winners were very good, as were plenty of the other entries. Do take a look. Oh, and here are another two, which I’ve written today, just for the hell of it (and getting a bit meta):
A young poet from Alabama
Declined to pursue fame and glamour
He sat on his arse
And decided to parse
Limericks with impeccable grammar
This ditty with language quite heinous
Is so crude it really could pain us
Its first lines allude
To an ending most rude –
But I think that it need not detain us
(See also my grammar haiku.)