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You were asked for limericks, with kudos going to those which attempted to prove James Fenton wrong in his contention that there can be no such thing as a serious example of the form.

And so they poured in, possibly a record entry, contorted, over-complicated, metrically deficient, rhyme-challenged and impenetrably obscure, but, fortunately, mixed with a good deal of the genuine article. Such an abundance of this, in fact, that, as too many limericks spoil the brain, the principle of one apiece had to be invoked, with apologies to those who sent in sequences of three, except in the case of entrants also having a stab at confounding James Fenton. Three entries in this category have achieved the award of a kud (◎) or more  and appear at the end in descending order of gloom, which should bring us all down to earth after the preceding displays of word-weirdry, wit and mirth.

Among those missing the cut, Susanna Clayson neatly outlined a modern phenomenon with a grandchild who at age six was given a phone of his own 'and has never looked up ever since.', while Tracy Davidson dreamed of George Clooney dropping his trousers but awoke to a less eligible reality.

With commiserations to them and many others and congratulations to the winners, as well as thanks to all those who took part, below in no particular order, apart from the last three, is the outcome of the judge’s deliberations.



The leopard lamented, “The thought
that I could change my spots came to naught.
    Still, I doubt I was spotted
    until the carotid
was cut on the kudu I caught.”

Ed Shacklee             

         ᴥ      ᴥ      ᴥ      

Bouquet of IPA

Drawing flowers that scent field and copse
An artist’s work filled all the shops
    But if sales suffered slumps
    He resorted to pumps
Drawing Flowers, whose fragrance is hops.

Jo Scutch                                    

         ᴥ      ᴥ      ᴥ      

Off The Scale

Have you noticed how food labelled “lite”
Will fill you, but never quite right,
   So you eat more and more
   Than ever before,
And your clothes get increasingly tight?

Jane Blanchard

        ᴥ      ᴥ      ᴥ       

The limerick, bluenoses scoff,
Is a crude scatological trough
    Where the coarsest of blokes
    Feed on prurient jokes –
But I've not put one here. Bugger off!

Brendan Beary       

        ᴥ      ᴥ      ᴥ     

Oh, So Sad

Annette let a gigolo tempt her
To do naughty things; even dreamt her
    Beguiling hired honey
    Loved her, not her money.
He didn’t, though. Caveat emptor.

Mae Scanlan       

        ᴥ      ᴥ      ᴥ       

Parting Shot

An ageing and eminent Sir
Filming Guns On The Moor, caused a stir
    When some pellets, astray,
    Blew his toupee away −
The log duly read . . . Flying Fur.

I.V. Neversere

        ᴥ      ᴥ      ᴥ       

In Balquhidder a shuddersome crew
(Squat Scotch sex fiends) sussurantly stew
    Slab scraps of dressed flesh
    Best fresh from the crèche
A toothsomely loathsome ragout!

John Whitworth            

         ᴥ      ᴥ      ᴥ       

A Parrotfish Talks About Its Transsexuality

What’s the fuss about bathroom offenders?
Don’t we all start with parts of two genders?
    I assure you it’s dishy,
    not suspiciously fishy,
to be tail-swishing, sex-changing blenders.

Orel Protopopescu             

         ᴥ      ᴥ      ᴥ       

Speed Trap

One problem a speed-reading wit
was finally forced to admit:
    "By the time that I know
     a new book is too slow,
I am already finished with it."

Craig W. Steele

       ᴥ      ᴥ      ᴥ   

On a tour of St. Peter’s in Rome,
Van Gogh told the guide in the Dome:
    “Roman friend, I can’t hear;
     Could you lend me your ear?
I seem to have left mine at home.”

Brian Allgar

        ᴥ      ᴥ      ᴥ       

There was a young lady from Nottingham
Who murdered five men by garrotting 'em.
    She dismembered them all
    On a rug in the hall
Then removed all the blood stains by blotting 'em.

Peter Fereday

 ᴥ     ᴥ     ᴥ     

Temperature Tantrum

I wish I believed in the lie
that Earth cannot sizzle or fry,
    but as temperatures climb
    we’ll soon run out of time,
and certainly Mankind will die.

Craig W. Steele

 ᴥ     ᴥ     ᴥ     

Think About It

The ways of the cosmos are various;
Some welcome, some strange, some nefarious.
    We’re born, live, and die
    In the blink of an eye;
The cycle of man is precarious.

Mae Scanlan  ◎◎     

       ᴥ     ᴥ     ᴥ     

Those 3 a.m. fears: deaf or blind?
Or care workers being unkind?
    Pneumonia? Cancer?
    A fall? What’s the answer?
Perhaps Alzheimer’s wiping your mind.

D.A. Prince ◎◎◎

Red Oriental poppies in bloom