.

Choose a famous poem and write it in limerick form, putting the title of the original poem at the top. Please fit your chosen poem into one limerick (five lines) only. See “How to Write a Limerick.” Post your limerick in the comments section below. See examples:

.

Nothing Gold Can Stay (Frost)

The first green of nature is gold.
The hardest of colors to hold.
Her new leaf is a flower,
Bright and bold for an hour
Till the winter, the Frost and the cold.

—Mike Bryant

.

.

Still I Rise (Angelou)

Oil pumps and then wells in my eyes.
Diamonds meet at the top of my thighs.
I have no room for gloom;
To the moon with all doom.
Like the hot air in lies, I will rise!

—Susan Jarvis Bryant

.

.


NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to mbryant@classicalpoets.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here.

147 Responses

  1. Joe Tessitore

    “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
    by Robert Frost

    So there once was a woods that I knew
    And its owner I knew about too.
    On a cold, snowy night,
    Such a beautiful sight
    To behold as my fingers turned blue.

    Reply
    • Eric Jurien

      “This be the Verse”
      By Philip Larkin

      Your parents they fuck up your head,
      And so life is bleak till your dead,
      Fuck only fun,
      Begetting no-one,
      While the saracen takes over instead.

      Reply
      • Patricia Redfern

        Made me laugh!love this one. It’s so light and uncensored! You kill me! Thanks!

  2. Peter Tardiff

    Bantams in Pine Woods (Stevens)
    Fat! Fat! Fat! Fat!
    Portly poet in a henna hat!
    Chief of Azcan,
    Flee if you can!
    My world is me and that’s that!

    Reply
  3. Bruce E. Wren

    My Candle Burns at Both Ends (Edna St. Vincent Millay)

    Consuming so quickly my candle
    From both ends, it causes a scandal
    To friend and to foe,
    But oh, what a glow,
    Like music from George Fredrick Handel!

    Reply
  4. Dedee Shattuck

    Ithaca (Cavafy)
    I wandered and tasted the wine
    Then searched for a place to dine
    The doors were all locked
    ‘Cuz past eight o’clock
    It’s Boston in sixty-nine

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      How is it, Dedee, that you know about the old Boston blue laws? The only reason they were revoked was that the politicians knew that they could collect more taxes that way.

      Reply
      • Dorothy Shattuck

        I didn’t know the reason for the 8 o’clock closings. I recall the only places to eat were Jake Wirth’s and Athen’s Olympia in the theater district. Then in the 70’s, Cafe Florian on Newbury for a sandwich. Blue laws……I’m wistful for their return, especially a Sabbath, whatever day one chooses.

  5. Anna J Arredondo

    “The Raven”
    by Edgar Allan Poe

    It was midnight; I felt really sleepy.
    As I longed for Lenore I got weepy.
    Then along a bird fluttered,
    “Nevermore” — all it uttered.
    I’ve got company now — but it’s creepy.

    Reply
  6. Paul Freeman

    Daffodils (Wordsworth)

    I wandered alone like a cloud,
    seeing daffodils all in a crowd.
    And now if Life glowers,
    with thoughts of those flowers,
    my inner eye’s suitably wowed.

    Reply
  7. Jay Gold

    This Is Just To Say

    I’ve eaten the plums in the fridge.
    I saved you not even a smidge.
    They weren’t too old,
    So sweet and so cold.
    Forgive me, but they were delish.

    Reply
  8. Cynthia Erlandson

    While the evening spreads out in the skies,
    Let us look for the man in disguise
    Etherized on a table.
    If anyone’s able
    To see him, I’ll sure be surprised.

    Reply
    • Cynthia Erlandson

      Sorry — that was from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot.

      Reply
      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Cynthia, I love yours and you have inspired me.

        The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (T.S. Eliot)

        I beseech you, go eat a ripe peach.
        Michelangelo’s art’s out of reach.
        Ladies come and they go
        And all those in the know
        Know coffee won’t measure life’s breach.

  9. Anna J Arredondo

    “The Red Wheelbarrow”
    by William Carlos Williams

    On this wheelbarrow so much depends,
    Planted there by the foraging hens,
    ….. And its brilliant red hue
    ….. Shines especially true
    When it’s glazed with the rain that descends.

    Reply
      • Cynthia Erlandson

        I totally agree! Williams could learn a bit about meter from Anna! (Oh — and thanks for your comment on my Prufrock, Susan. Yours is great!)

    • Jack DesBois

      Anna, you beat me to it:

      so much on this barrow depends
      it’s fiery with fair weather friends
      but when there’s foul weather
      it’s flocked by a feather
      of dover cliff hue, on chickens

      Reply
    • Cynthia Erlandson

      Yours deserves to be more famous than Williams’, in my opinion!

      Reply
      • Anna J Arredondo

        Thanks for the encouraging feedback! (Jack, I like your rendition as well)

        Interestingly enough, I wrote a sonnet spinoff on The Red Wheelbarrow a couple of months ago, when my husband decided to purchase us a yellow wheelbarrow, though my heart had been set on red (in part because of Williams’ poem). Maybe I should submit it here to SCP…

    • C.B. Anderson

      This is particularly good because you have shown possibly the most overrated poem of the twentieth century to be what it really is. And your short lines, ending hue/true are superbly anapestic.

      Reply
  10. Sandi Christie

    Caged Bird (Maya Angelou)

    A bird in a cage cannot sing
    In a country where freedom can’t ring.
    Though you tweet and you tweet,
    All your tweets they delete—
    They assure you can’t say anything.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Sandi, you have taken this challenge to new heights in a limerick that packs one helluva punch on the cancel-culture front. Wonderful!

      Reply
      • Sandi Christie

        Thank you master-poet-extraordinaire! These little challenges are always a hoot to read!

  11. Paul Fontana

    In Verona, where we lay our scene,
    Civil blood makes the folk’s hands unclean.
    R and J took their lives
    And it ended their strifes.
    R was sixteen and J was thirteen.

    Reply
  12. Joseph S. Salemi

    Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae (Dowson)

    To forget you, I took out some money
    And hired an out-of-work Bunny.
    Her kisses were warm
    But I couldn’t perform,
    So I guess I’ve been faithful, my honey.

    Reply
    • Sandi Christie

      You are a funny and talented man; it certainly would have been interesting being one of your students.

      Reply
  13. Will Dunn

    Ode On a Grecian Urn

    Though you’re empty there’s value untold
    in the beauty of story on hold.
    It’s the truth that you speak,
    though it comes across Greek,
    about being but not seeming old.

    Reply
  14. Kathy Bahr

    Summer Showers by Emily Dickinson

    A drop fell on the apple tree,
    That went to help bathe the sea.
    The sunshine threw fete hung,
    Were the birds Jocoser sung.
    The breezes brought the birds bathed in glee.

    Reply
    • Kathy Bahr

      Summer Showers by Emily Dickinson

      A drop fell on the apple tree,
      That went to help bathe the sea.
      The sunshine threw fete hung,
      Where the Jocoser birds sung.
      The breezes brought the birds bathed in glee.

      Reply
  15. JD

    Trees – Joyce Kilmer

    The tree I see
    It comforts me
    It aids
    It shades
    Reminds me that He died for me

    Reply
  16. Ishika Jain

    ‘Dust of Snow’ of Sir Robert Frost.

    Dust of Snow

    Amidst these shivering trees,
    I stood still, becoming freeze,
    Reciting winter’s tale;
    Making my body temper curtail,
    O, dust of snow in the frozen breeze.

    Reply
  17. Peter Hartley

    Not Waving but Drowning,
    Stevie Smith

    It wasn’t my arms I was waving, you cretin.
    No deeper my head could I get in.
    Do you think I would crave
    Your attention and wave,
    My head in the bag of cement it was set in?

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Hilarity meets Stevie Smith poetry to produce a poem that speaks of immortartality with a wry nod to concrete poetry – I expect nothing less from a poet who has concrete ideals in this age of fixed ideas and ideals. Very well done, indeed!

      Reply
  18. ray boyd

    i wanna do cadged bird … can i? … can i

    imagining that i had wings
    and owned the divine right of kings
    i mewled and i whined,
    the antifa kind,
    for elephants on children’s swings.

    Reply
  19. Joe Tessitore

    “Hickory, Dickory, Dock”
    by Tommy Thumb

    Let us look at this rhyme and take stock.
    It has something to do with a clock
    In an animal house
    With an up-running mouse
    … What the hell is a dickory
    dock?

    Reply
  20. ray

    Sympathy
    Paul Lawrence Dunbar

    Oh such anthropomorphisings
    Open the door when a caged bird sings
    caged bird will not flee.
    They love where food is free.
    Ignore all exit openings.

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      It had everything but the proper anapestic (or, possibly, amphibrachic) meter. Learn hat a limerick actually is.

      Reply
      • ray

        Oh okay then … If I must…

        When anthropomorphisings sing,
        They seem to regret where they cling.
        They batter at bars.
        Scream out to the stars.
        While Maya writes down everything.

  21. Joseph S. Salemi

    Old Ironsides (Holmes)

    The ship’s an unseaworthy bucket
    And Congress just wants us to chuck it.
    But in view of her fame
    That would be a damned shame —
    Let her sink in a squall off Nantucket.

    Reply
      • C.B. Anderson

        There is a rather famous limerick with “Nantucket” as a rhyme-word in the longer lines, but somehow Joseph has managed to avoid the original “fuck it.”

    • Joe Tessitore

      They’re capable of anything, and nothing should surprise us at this point.

      Reply
  22. Dave Whippman

    Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade”

    “Let’s capture those guns!” Raglan said.
    The cavalry charged on ahead.
    The battle was gory –
    They won fame and glory
    But most of them ended up dead.

    Reply
  23. Mia

    T S Elliot Animula

    There once was a heavenly boy
    Who was born full of life and joy,
    As time passed his troubles grew,
    His teeth fell out and his smile went south
    -the poor misguided, lonely trout.

    Reply
      • Mia

        Oh okay. Thank you for the feedback
        I am not happy with the third line but I thought
        the others conformed.
        Are you familiar with the poem. it is one of my favourites
        and I am rather sad that I have condensed it to that.
        But I think it fits.

    • Mia

      revised version-marginally better perhaps

      There once was a heavenly boy
      Born on earth full of life and joy
      When he grew
      His troubles did too
      So sad about the boy

      Thank you Mr CB Anderson
      I think finally I have learned not to post in haste

      Reply
  24. Jeff Eardley

    “Toads” by Philip Larkin

    With sadness I’m writing this ode,
    On the death of a big, slimy toad.
    For he got in the way,
    Of my bike yesterday,
    Now he’s splattered all over the road.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Hilarious! Is the toad in the hole? I hope you gave him a good send off! 😉

      Reply
    • Peter Hartley

      Sheer brilliance, this one, and almost worth mashing the toad for.

      Reply
    • Peter Hartley

      As president of the Batrachophiliac Society (perverts, the lot of them), established in 1910, I must protest most vehemently at the impetuous levity with which the demise of Mr Toad has been treated in your column. I didn’t join SCP to read this sort of bilge (I thought it was the RSPCA).

      Reply
    • Mike Bryant

      A short promenade down the road,
      As reveries lazily flowed.
      Did he hear a croak?
      Too late for the bloke,
      The pavement, the shoes and the toad.

      Reply
  25. Julian D. Woodruff

    Now is the winter

    Tewkesbury gave the Lancastrians what for.
    Now with Edward, sprawled out on the floor,
    Is some wench who admires
    Him, whose passion he fires.
    As for me, it’s his crown I adore.

    Sea surface full of clouds / Stevens

    As Tehuantepec’s shores I passed by,
    I gazed down (being bored with the sky).
    “So the sea’s blue,” I thought,
    “… then again, maybe not.”
    In five cantos I’ll tell you just why.

    Ah, vous dirai-je

    Mommy dear, I have just this to say:
    I am fraught by the end of the day.
    Dad insists that I think.
    He will drive me to drink,
    But with candy I shan’t go astray.

    Reply
  26. Joseph S. Salemi

    Ozymandias (Shelley)

    A statue of some royal jerk
    Lies smashed in the sand, with a smirk.
    Whoever he was,
    He’s forgotten, becuz
    There ain’t nothin’ left of his work.

    Reply
  27. Will Dunn

    The Highwayman

    To the pride of a landlord of yore
    rode a seeker of riches galore.
    Though he treasured her heart,
    they would be torn apart
    by the gold to be stolen worth more.

    Reply
  28. Jeff Eardley

    “Toads re-visited” by Philip Larkin

    To the family of poor Mr. Toad,
    An apology surely is owed.
    So I’ll start in the morn,
    To collect all the spawn,
    And then render my bath their abode.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      A bathtub’s no place for large shoals
      Of mournful and morphing tadpoles
      An orphan amphibian
      Prefers the Caribbean
      That’s why tubs are blessed with plugholes. 🙂

      Reply
      • Jeff Eardley

        The funeral of Toad of Toad Hall,
        Was a slimy affair I recall.
        All the laughter and croaks,
        From his family and folks,
        Who turned up for the day, warts and all.

      • Jeff Eardley

        Susan, amphibian rhyming with Caribbean at first glance is just so dreadful. Later, it becomes genius. Love it.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Jeff, that’s so funny. I went with the American pronunciation of ‘Caribbean’… without even giving it a second thought. I’ve been away from the UK for too long! lol

  29. David Watt

    Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

    It was brillig (whatever that is)
    When a lad with a sword said “Gee whizz!
    If I bring back the head
    Of a Jabberwock dead
    There’ll be callays, calloohs, and free fizz!”

    Reply
    • Anna J Arredondo

      David, I love it! Jabberwocky is a favorite of mine, and one of the first I considered transforming, but I got stuck and moved on. I’m so happy to read your version.

      Reply
      • David Watt

        Thank you Anna. The inventive language in Jabberwocky is what appeals to me most. Charles Dodgson’s ‘chortle’ has made it into common usage. ‘Brillig’ never quite caught on.

      • David Watt

        Thanks Jeff, your toad limericks are also very funny.
        A toad funeral as a ‘slimy affair’ is my favourite mental picture.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      David, this is a brillig limerick! All galumph and no whiffle – a chortle-worthy wonder that’s brightened my mimsy day and has the recesses of my brain outgrabing for more of this joy in this fruminous world of bandersnatches.

      Reply
  30. Toshiji Kawagoe

    “The Fly” by William Blake

    Little fly its thoughtless play did spoil
    my sport and put my face in night soil,
    when I drank on the street
    and sang a song upbeat.
    If you please, brush my hair with sweet oil?

    Reply
  31. Lucia Haase

    Inspired by ‘To A Butterfly’ by William Wordsworth

    Oh butterfly, lovely to see
    I’m so glad that you’re not a bee
    that comes ’round with a buzz
    as a bee always does…
    a sting would be too much for me!

    Reply
    • Lucia Haase

      Also, not particularly funny but inspired
      by another Wordsworth poem…”A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal.”

      Midst the rocks and the stones and trees
      there is Light in the peace of the breeze
      and a mood of no fear
      on this ancient earth here
      where the willows bend down on their knees.

      Reply
  32. James A. Tweedie

    William Shakespeare
    Sonnet 130
    “My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun”

    My mistress is unlike the sun;
    Her skin is the color of dun.
    Though dark be her features,
    Of all of God’s creatures
    Her beauty is second to none.

    Reply
  33. James A. Tweedie

    “Molly Malone”
    Irish Traditional
    With a tip of the hat to the late great Allan Sherman

    Sweet Molly Malone wheeled her barrow
    Through streets not too broad but too narrow.
    Her hips were so wide
    They scraped on each side
    And squeezed her as thin as an arrow.

    Reply
    • Peter Hartley

      James – This one is brilliant and had me whistling the tune as I read it (I should mention I have an exceedingly mellifluous whistle).

      Reply
    • Jeff Eardley

      Great tribute to the “Tart with a heart” ….how about one for “The Floozie in the Jacuzzi?”

      Reply
  34. James A. Tweedie

    Inferno
    Dante Alighieri
    From Canto III

    A poet named Dante attended
    A Hell-tour James Sale recommended.
    Abandoning hope
    He slid down the slope
    And wrote it all down when it ended.

    Reply
    • James Sale

      There are many fine limericks here, James, but indubitably yours – this one – is the masterpiece! If you go to Florence now, you will certainly obtain the laurel that Dante failed to win – only covid-19 stands in your way!!!

      Reply
  35. ROYAL W RHODES

    AUGURIES OF INNOCENCE (Blake)

    The World’s a mere Grain of the Sand,
    more vast than the seashore’s broad strand.
    And Heaven’s a flower
    each Infinite hour,
    while Galaxies fit in my hand.

    — Royal Rhodes

    Reply
  36. Paul Freeman

    The Cat in the Hat (Abridged and Uncensored)

    A cat in a hat made a mess,
    putting two kids at home under stress.
    Then the cat pulled some strings
    and enlisting two Things
    cleaned the house in a minute or less.

    Reply
  37. Joseph S. Salemi

    IF.. (Rudyard Kipling)

    If you straddle both sides of the fence,
    And pose as a man of good sense,
    You’ll likely grow rich,
    You damned son-of-a-bitch,
    Even though you are stupid and dense.

    Reply
  38. BDW

    My favourite poem to limerick(s) is Wendy Cope’s “The Wasteland”:

    The Waste Land: Five Limericks

    I

    In April one seldom feels cheerful;
    Dry stones, sun and dust make me fearful;
    Clairvoyantes distress me,
    Commuters depress me–
    Met Stetson and gave him an earful.

    II

    She sat on a mighty fine chair,
    Sparks flew as she tidied her hair;
    She asks many questions,
    I make few suggestions–
    Bad as Albert and Lil–what a pair!

    III

    The Thames runs, bones rattle, rats creep;
    Tiresias fancies a peep–
    A typist is laid,
    A record is played–
    Wei la la. After this it gets deep.

    IV

    A Phoenician named Phlebas forgot
    About birds and his business–the lot,
    Which is no surprise,
    Since he’d met his demise
    And been left in the ocean to rot.

    V

    No water. Dry rocks and dry throats,
    Then thunder, a shower of quotes
    From the Sanskrit and Dante.
    Da. Damyata. Shantih.
    I hope you’ll make sense of the notes.

    Reply
  39. Mia

    The Lady Of Shalott

    She was a lady of leisure
    and he a man of truth
    when she saw him
    she swooned
    and expired for good measure

    Reply
  40. Paul Freeman

    The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

    The crew deemed their shipmate a turd
    o’er an albatross, shot, so they heard
    with the old sailor’s bow,
    causing ill-fortune, so
    they collectively gave him the bird.

    Reply
  41. Roy E. Peterson

    Hickory, Dickory, Dock (Nursery Rhyme)
    Inspired by the previous posting of Joe Tessitore and an old joke.

    Hickory, Dickory, Dock.
    Two mice ran up the clock.
    The clock struck one
    And then he was done.
    The other one died from the shock.

    Reply
  42. Camilla Marx

    Jabberwocky

    A youth of uncertain location
    Once vanquished a beast of predation.
    His torturous time
    Was captured in rhyme.
           Narration/ translation/ truncation

    Reply
  43. Paul Freeman

    Dick and Jane: Book 1

    We already knew ‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’,
    and probably ‘1’, ‘2’ and ‘3’.
    But then we learned ‘dog’,
    which was followed by ‘frog’,
    and some pronouns like ‘I’, ‘you’ and ‘we’.

    Reply
  44. Mike Mikesell

    The Road Less Traveled by Robert Frost

    I looked at two roads in a wood
    deciding which one was more good
    Since on one had trod more
    of the travelers before
    On the lesser I felt that I should

    Reply
  45. Janice Canerdy

    “One Perfect Rose” Dorothy Parker

    Roses Wilt; Limos Don’t

    Classy gent! He sent one perfect rose.
    At the moment it pleases my nose.
    A big luxury car
    would be better by far.
    Is a Benz en route? I don’t suppose!

    Reply
  46. Talbot

    “Ebb” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

    I know how my heart now appears,
    Since your love went away with the years:
    It’s a pool in a ledge
    Drying in from the edge,
    That can never be quickened with tears.

    Reply
  47. Sally Cook

    From Emily Dickinson’s
    I taste a liquor never brewed

    I taste a liquor never brewed
    Gulp it by glassful. In a mood,
    Sip like iced tea
    By a crystal blue sea
    An inveterate tippler – that’s me !.

    Reply
  48. Mia

    A limerick of sorts;

    If you take the road not taken,
    and walk in beauty like the night,
    knocking on silent doors,
    you may find in time
    that the road left behind, was the right!

    Reply
  49. Mantz Yorke

    Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (Gray)

    There was a young poet called Gray
    who wrote in a churchyard all day
    till the ploughman was spent,
    the cows homeward went,
    and the bell tolled the end of the day.

    Reply
  50. Robert Fawcett

    The Congo.
    Large black men ensconced in a room
    Held handles removed from a broom.
    On barrels they beat
    Keeping time with their feet.
    Making sounds:boomlay boom, boomlay boom.

    Reply
  51. Robert Fawcett

    Humpty Dumpty.
    Humpty Dumpty was perched on a wall.
    He suffered a life-changing fall.
    The king’s fix-em-up
    Was a failure, and yup,
    He’s sueing, imagine the gall!

    Reply
  52. Robert Fawcett

    For Limerick Lovers I have 2 books on amazon.com Limericks and Poems from County Emmet and avec a nom de plume (Mark Wheat) The Trump Era in Limericks

    Reply
  53. John Plowright

    THE ROAD NOT TAKEN by Robert Frost

    I pondered on which way to go
    When faced in the wood by two roads
    My choice – the less travelled –
    Fixed how life unravelled
    I’ll claim but I really don’t know

    Reply
  54. Daniel Simon

    The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

    Two roads parted ways in the wood;
    I’d have wandered down both, if I could.
    But I had a quick gander
    And chose to meander
    Down one… bet the other was good.

    Reply
  55. Daniel Simon

    One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

    It’s not hard to master the art.
    Some things seem designed from the start
    To be lost or forgot
    Or misplaced… you know what?
    It’s not such a bad thing to part.

    Reply
  56. John Plowright

    To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time by Robert Herrick

    All young virgins should without delay
    Give it up with the thought ‘Seize the day!’
    For life’s the most pleasant
    When you’re adolescent
    Once that’s gone then there’s only decay

    Reply
  57. Bill Bleich

    “The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls” by H. W. Longfellow

    The tide rises and the tide falls,
    As darkness settles on the walls;
    The morning breaks,
    The traveler wakes-
    But the sea, in darkness, still calls.

    Reply
  58. Joseph Mason

    The Wandering Wavering Wayfarer

    Perceiving the pathway to truth
    Is akin to one’s eye or one’s tooth
    Perception be damned
    If it’s borrowed or rammed
    Down the throats and the minds of our youth.

    Reply
  59. Joseph Mason

    Nature’s first green is gold
    ‘Tis a glorious sight to behold
    And we’d sing and we’d dance
    And only boys wore the pants
    I can’t BELIEVE this crap ever sold!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.