You might think poetry is difficult to understand, but think again! I will introduce you to the limerick. This short, funny form of poetry is a verse of five lines, in which some of the lines rhyme with each other. Watch the lesson, and you will learn about rhyme and rhythm. I’ll show you a few examples and explain the rules. The best part? The rules can be broken! I hope this will inspire you to write a limerick of your own. Try writing one in the comments.
NEXT, watch this video about another poem:
1. Learn English with a poem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVidL1o28gw
2. Learn to write poetry: THE HAIKU: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhIE4Dw6HKc
Hello. I'm Gill at engVid, and today we have a lesson on a particular type of comic poem, which is called a limerick. Okay? So, these are some examples of limericks, and they're a very popular form of poem. They're usually very simple; they're not, like, difficult poetry that's hard to understand. They usually tell a story and it's usually quite funny; sometimes it's a bit crazy, kind of what you call nonsense poetry. It doesn't really make sense, but it's funny anyway. So, okay.
So, to begin with the first example, it's a nursery rhyme, which is the kind of poem that children learn and listen to as they're children in the nursery where they're... When people used to have big houses, they would have one room which was called the nursery and they put their children in there, and they might have somebody to look after the children, like a nanny or a nurse. And... As well as the mother and father, the children would have other people to help to look after them and bring them up, and make food for them, and so on. That's if they were rich.
But also children of all sorts. I remember, as a child, hearing nursery rhymes, and my mother especially telling me nursery rhymes. And the fun thing about them is that they have a rhythm and a rhyme, so there's a pattern, which children enjoy hearing the pattern of the rhythm and the rhyming of the ends of the lines. So, here's a nursery rhyme which you may have heard. Perhaps you have a version of it in your own language, if English isn't your first language. So, some of the words don't really make sense because they're more to do with imitating the sound of a clock ticking. So, here we go:
Hickory dickory dock
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck one
The mouse ran down
Hickory dickory dock.
So, it's... It's a clock, there's a mouse. The mouse goes up the clock, the clock chimes one: "Dong", and because of that, the mouse is frightened and runs down again. And then that's it - that's all that happens, but it's quite fun for children to hear that. So, you can see that there's a pattern, there: "dock" and "clock" rhyme, and then we have "dock" again. So, if we use a sort of letter form of rhyme scheme, you can label that A, like that. That's rhyme A. And then one is... Doesn't rhyme, so that's B. "One" and... Usually... Usually the third and fourth lines rhyme. These don't exactly rhyme, but they're a little bit similar. "One" and "down", and it's sort of what's called a half rhyme. So, it's a kind of... You could call it B again, really, or B with a little one on it just to show it's slightly different. But, anyway, this is... This sort of shows what the pattern is: A, A, B, B, A is the rhyme pattern for a limerick.
And, also, the first two lines and the fifth lines are usually a bit longer than the lines three and four. So: "Hickory dickory dock, The mouse ran up the clock" so that's, like, three strong beats. "Hickory dickory dock, The mouse ran up the clock". But then we've got: "The clock struck one", so that's only two strong beats. "The clock struck one, The mouse ran down, Hickory dickory dock". So, it's that sort of rhythm; 3, 3, 2, 2, 3. So, that kind of pattern of rhythm and rhyme you find in most limericks. Okay?
So, I hope you... I mean, "Hickory dickory dock", that's just imitating the sound of the clock. So, don't worry about: "What are those words? What do they mean?" They don't really mean anything, but the mouse-little animal-ran up the clock - it's a clock up on the wall, so... Or it's a clock... Big, tall clock that stands on the floor, so a mouse could run up it.
"The clock struck one". "To strike"... "To strike" is when the clock chimes. To strike; to chime. If it goes: "Ding" or "Bong", anything like that, one sound to show that it's one o'clock; it just makes one single sound for one o'clock. "The clock struck one". Usually strikes because it's hitting something inside to make that sound. "The mouse ran down, Hickory dickory dock". So that's... That's it. Okay. So, that illustrates the pattern.
And then we have an example from the 19th century. If you've seen another lesson that I did called: "The Owl and the Pussycat", you might remember the name of the poet, Edward Lear, who wrote a lot of funny poetry. […]