Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Limerick

To all who are naturally gifted
My hat I have enviably lifted
They have their own path
That I search for in wrath
Oh, how it seems I have been set adrifted.

Limericks are fun and challenging because you have to fit them into certain structure and meaning format.

There was a young rustic named Mallory,
who drew but a very small salary.
    When he went to the show,
    his purse made him go
to a seat in the uppermost gallery.

There was a Young Person of Smyrna
Whose grandmother threatened to burn her*;
But she seized on the cat,
and said 'Granny, burn that!
You incongruous old woman of Smyrna!'  (Edward Lear)

The standard form of a limerick is a stanza of five lines, with the first, second and fifth usually rhyming with one another and having three feetof three syllables each; and the shorter third and fourth lines also rhyming with each other, but having only two feet of three syllables. The defining "foot" of a limerick's meter is usually the anapaest, (ta-ta-TUM), but limericks can also be considered amphibrachic (ta-TUM-ta).  (from Wikipedia)

For your first attempts stay true to the structure even if the meaning is off, just so you can practive the actual structure. Without the structure your Limericks don't work.

The Haiku

I follow #Haiku on Twitter. People all over the world contribute their thoughts and experiences through short 3 line poems using syllable structure:  5-7-5. Haikus are originally Japanese and they are both easy and offer wonderful insights into our human experience. They can be about anything (traditionally they have a nature theme). Haikus often have a juxtaposition of two ideas or images (juxtaposition is the placing of two things close together for effect.
Here are two EXAMPLES: 

My lips long / For the wetness of your touch / My dreams run dry (from Sahrazad528- Twitter)

Notice the contrast between wet and dry and how the dryness implies loss. Also notice that she didn't follow the syllable structure. Here is another. What is the juxtaposition?

Bird song signals dawn /Crickets chirp, cicada's whirl / Nature is noisy! (from josepf Twitter)

Here are some links:

Wikipedia (3 qualities of a haiku)

A good resource on Hakius with some famous Japanese poet masters.

Keep a journal of your haikus. Post your best ones on your blog. You could add a picture for effect- or make a poster with the haiku on the image. Use creative commons for copyright safety.