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Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

Welcome, ladies and gents, to Anyone Can Poem, the rodeo where …well, anyone can poem.

Last time we were in the saddle, I introduced the basics of haiku. We used its general syllable outline to jump in and have some fun.

Where will we ride from here?

To limericks.

A limerick (/ˈlɪmərɪk/) is a form of verse, usually humorous and frequently rude, in five-line, predominantly anapestic trimeter with a strict rhyme scheme of AABBA, in which the first, second and fifth line rhyme, while the third and fourth lines are shorter and share a different rhyme.


I don’t know about you, pard’ner, but that was a whole chunk of intimidating text. -And limericks are not intimidating.

They’re fun. They’re edgy. They’re funny!

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, ‘It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!’
-Edward Lear

Like haiku, limericks follow a form. Myself, I find this form easy to write to once I pick up on the beat. Try reading Edward Lear’s (credited as being the master limerickist) contribution out loud. Still not hearing it? Here are a few more:

A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak,
Enough food for a week,
But I’m damned if I see how the helican.
-Dixon Lanier Merritt

Alas for the death of Hugh Hannity
Whose boat was capsized by a manatee.
When they saw it swim by,
All the townsfolk would cry:
“There he goes! Oh the beast! The Hugh manatee!”
-Graham Lester

Now do you hear it? Do you feel it? Anyone can poem a limerick, including me:

There once was a mother of four
Who never could sweep up her floor.
The clothes and the toys
Were stuck beneath boys.
Daddy wonders who taught them to swore.
Chel Owens

  1. The pattern of AABBA and anapestic trimeter means that you start with two longer lines that rhyme. In the case of Lear’s poem, the rhymes are beard and feared.
  2. Next, you pick two shorter lines that rhyme with a different word. Again, with Lear’s, those words are Hen and Wren.
  3. Finally, you end with a zinger of the same length as the first two lines that also rhymes with them. Lear uses beard again -that cheater.

Whenever I set out to write a limerick, I first choose a subject. For today’s rodeo, let’s pick everyone’s favorite duty: cleaning up after animals. Not only will this subject fulfill the necessities of being somewhat inappropriate and humorous, it will provide many easy-to-rhyme words.

Some possible opening lines:
There once was a man named O’Coot.
There once was a grand rodeo.
I went to the show to just sit.

There! The most difficult part is over, especially since I picked some easy rhymers (except for rodeo). O’Coot can match up with poop scoop and boot and shoot! Sit, on the other hand, has at least one possibility amongst the thesaurus suggestions for animal excrement.

There’s no wrong subject or strict count for limericks if you’re worried. Many famous poets break the form left, right, and center. The main criteria is silliness and that recognizable rhyme pattern.

Send me a few samples through the form. Or, write one or a dozen up in the comments. You’ll love it and so will we!

Don’t overthink; just do it!


An embarrassing mess was my brother
With one leg that was short. Not the other
Which made this eccentric
Walk in circles concentric
Causing constant distress to our mother
Richmond Road
(From the A Mused Poetry Contest)

©2021 Chel Owens


  1. trentpmcd says:

    I’ll write a nice limerick for you
    With lines that are totally new
    But I hope you don’t hate
    If it isn’t so great
    For this is the best I could do

  2. I love your limerick, Chelsea. I do enjoy writing them sometimes too.

  3. Here’s one that was true to your suggested theme and another two that didn’t, because I’m like that as you know, Chel.

    An elephant is a prodigious pooper
    So you need a giant pooper scooper
    But you don’t need a lot
    For your vegetable plot
    Just a soupcon is simply super.

    Behold the Doc from Australia
    He’ll fix anything that ails ya
    With bandicoot stew
    Or kangaroo glue
    And bury you if he should fail ya.

    There once was a lass from Tarcutta
    Swear words she never would utter
    Until a tiger snake bit her
    Right on her sitter
    And then ‘bloody hell’ she did mutter.

  4. ceayr says:

    Thought I’d do the easy one:

    A one-legged dude at the rodeo
    Said I can never be throwed, y’know
    He hopped on a bronco
    Things went badly wrong so
    Old Nick’s prepared him a brand new abode below

  5. petespringerauthor says:

    Anyone can write a limerick, she said
    But I like to pen stories that pop into my head
    Expand your mind
    It’s fun you’ll find
    To break out of your comfort zone instead.

  6. Jules says:

    Limericks and Sonnets (and some other’s are not my friends) – well anything with meter. I’ll pass this round and just enjoy the others. 😀

  7. Charli Mills says:

    A-ha! Chel, a poem I can manage. I’ve had the sing-song pattern of limericks in my head since I was in fifth grade. I was going to write about my good friend D. who once lived on Nantucket, but then I decided oh…never mind she’s had enough shift to deal with the characters in her head who might be a-limerickin’. Namely a hand(full) named Kid.

    Appropriately enough, I’m sitting under the grand canopy of the Poet Tree as I press tongue to cheek and give your challenge a whirl.

    A writer once lived with a puppy named Mause,
    Who chewed up socks and boots in the house,
    Until her manuscript Mause ate,
    Which sealed the pup’s fate,
    And now the puppy lives overseas in Laos.

    Thanks for the fun!

    • Chel Owens says:

      😀 Excellent, Charli. Our puppy chewed up the newly-laid piping in the backyard and two young fruit trees before we decided she’d be happier with a bigger yard. 😥

      Mause is adorable. I’m looking forward to getting and keeping one with an upcoming move to a larger property!

      • Charli Mills says:

        Puppies are so destructive they could be used in warfare. Can you imagine dropping puppies by parachute behind enemy lines? First, they’d deceive (Oh, so cute!), and then they’d destroy (No, not the bulletproof vests!). They’d give up within days! Kidding aside, I understand the pain of giving up a destructive fur-monster-baby for better environment. I was howling yesterday because Mause pulled something precious off my desk and ripped it to shreds. Good luck with the move!

      • Chel Owens says:

        Parapups. 😀 I hope you’re able to replace what Mause ate!

      • Louis Noah says:

        Hello Charli am new here and am hoping you would welcome me here

      • Charli Mills says:

        Howdy, Louis! Welcome to Carrot Ranch, we are mighty pleased you showed up. Lots to do here. We have a weekly Saloon where anything can happen with Pal and Kid running the place. For certain, we have two poetry options at the Saloon, monthly. Every week we also have a 99-word story challenge. You can have the option to comment and get friendly with other writers, link your story in a blog post, and (or) submit to be published the following week in a collection. Thanks for stopping by!

      • Louis Noah says:

        You do seems pretty nice and interesting to me my dear and I will really love to know more about you, If you don’t mind?

  8. […] Carrot Ranch Anyone Can Poem 4 My sad attempt at a Limerick because I didn’t want to disappoint Chel. […]

  9. Jules says:

    OK just for Chel…
    I had to turn her frown upside down…

    A Dirty Limerick?

    Who’d a believed there’s no hope
    Where’s the twine that held soap
    The miner full of coal dust
    Thought life was unjust
    T’weren’t no bar hangin’ on no rope

    © JP/dh

  10. […] It’s fun to be silly. This was written for Carrot Ranch Literary Community’s Anyone Can Poem limerick challenge. […]

  11. There once was a carnival ducky,
    Who wasn’t so terribly lucky,
    Each night, as he swum,
    He was shot in the bum,
    But my, that ducky was plucky!

  12. I didn;t see this till now But here’s mine

    Young Chel, Well she taugh me to Poem
    So I started out only to Show Em
    They cause laughter in me
    But my kids don’t agree
    They Charge for bad jokes, Now I owe Em’

  13. […] Chelesa Owens for hosting the Limerick challenge at Carrot Ranch Community. For rules please refer here. Thank you all for stopping by and […]

  14. kittysverses says:

    Thanks for the challenge, here’s my limerick :-

    There was a click clock cluttering hen,
    Who was always outside her cosy little pen,
    Neighbour’s barn she went to poop,
    And ended up in his soup,
    Poor dead click clock cluttering hen, teary eyed sturdy men.

  15. Hi Chel,
    I wasn’t sure if I could do limericks, but your suggestion to think of a topic worked!
    I love to read sea stories and historical fiction… and a picture came to mind … so here it is!

    Great sails unfurled, what a sight to see!
    The clipper “Fanny” rides the waves at sea.
    Sailor’s seat hangs high
    Heave, ho, poop and sigh.
    Alas, no rum, no brandy, only lime, and tea.

    Thanks for the fun!

  16. All that chat about Australia — thought of a long-ago Australian novel, “A Town Like Alice” and …

    Alice plunged into the Looking Glass
    Through Andromeda’s Great Worm Hole Pass
    She crashed into Alice Springs
    A blaze of fiery rings
    Her spaceship a melting coffin of brass.

    Reading can leave all kinds of footprints in the mind! 😀


  17. I basically rediscovered limericks this year, and fell in love with them after reading the limericks that one poet had written. He had broadened the way that I viewed them and how narrow I had assumed their subject matter had to be.

    These are 3 limericks that I wrote this year and shared on my blog:

    Growing Through the Cracks

    A dandelion seed saw some cracked cement
    that was causing the townsfolk torment
    a good little rebel
    it looked and said, “Well,
    this is where I’ll build my new apartment.”

    Mushroom House

    It is well known that gnomes
    love to live in garden homes
    cozy and warm
    full of charm
    carved out of mushroom domes

    Nature’s Playground

    When we are children we love to play
    We stay outside for most of the day
    Fingers in dirt
    Now it’s on my shirt
    Time to search near the river for clay

  18. nightlake says:

    Hi Chel, Here is mine:

    I saw a butterfly named Dean,
    fluttering amongst leaves light-green,
    perched on a mimosa’s stem,
    caressing her delicate hem,
    until he was lost inside her yellow sheen.


    one day when I walked out the door
    I hollered and then I sure swore
    I’d slipped on some poop
    that was left on the stoop—
    my brother he laughed and yelled SCORE!

    (do you want an actual post?)

  20. […] I’ll write now and then, visit everybody, wrap up the current A Mused Poetry Contest; then take off around June 27th. I’ll not disappear entirely because I am writing a monthly poetry post over at Carrot Ranch called Anyone Can Poem. […]

  21. M. Talha says:

    Great stuff

  22. Hobbo says:

    Poop Scooping

    Her favourite dog, a Great Dane,
    Passed parcels the size of a train,
    At a loss, what to do
    With this mountain of poo,
    It was baked, bleached and sold as cocaine!

    I sent you this yesterday Chel, but you know me and I.T!

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