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Poems and Limericks

Rhythm in English – poems and limericks

A limerick is a special kind of humorous poem which contains five lines, and which has a strong emphasis on the last word. It is useful to try to say limericks out loud for stress and rhythm practice. Here are some amusing limericks to try repeating. Again, you may find it useful to record them and play them back to see if the rhythm is strong enough. Note that the last word in each pair of lines should rhyme, and that the last line should rhyme with the first two.


There were three little birds in a wood

Who always sang hymns when they could.

What the words were about,

You could never make out,

But you felt it was doing them good.


There was an old man from Nantucket

Who kept all his cash in a bucket.

His daughter, named Nan,

Ran off with a man,

And as for the bucket, Nan took it.


A glutton who came from the Rhine,

When asked at what hour he would dine

Replied, “At eleven,

At three, five, and seven,

And eight, and at quarter past nine.”


There was an old man of Khartoum

Who kept a tame sheep in his room,

“To remind me,’’ he said,

“Of someone who’s dead,

But I never can recollect whom.’’


A rocket inventor named Bright

Once travelled much faster than light.

He started one day

In the relative way

And returned on the previous night.