Political Limericks and Other Poems

Warning, this post may include tedium. This is particularly true for overseas readers who may not recognise any of the names.

I was intending to write some political limericks last week, but haven’t been firing on all cylinders after being ill. A limerick, with five lines, two rhymes (AABBA) and anapestic meter is trickier than it looks. Even when my brain is replete with fish and purring like a sardine-stuffed cat, questions of metre have a tendency to take the shine off my day.

The answer I adopted, in line with my normal policy of lowering standards to match results, is to cut out all the difficult bits. That would suggest a clerihew, a form often used to make fun of famous figures. The rhymes are easy (AABB) and it has a sensibly easy-going view of line length and metre.

Theresa May

Gave a poll lead away

She lost her majority

and offended her sorority


Jeremy Corbyn

Rhymes with next to nothin’

A beardy, weirdy smarty

Who leads the Labour party

To be fair, I’m not sure how smart he is. As long as it isn’t libellous (and I’m pretty sure that accusing politicians of intelligence is not defamatory) I think I’m in the clear as accuracy doesn’t seem too important in clerihews.

Nicola Salmon

Has a tendency to bang on

About places north of the border

That sound a bit like Mordor

Other parties are available, but I can’t remember the names of any of the leaders.

I then had a look at senryu. They are like haiku but without the rules –  no cutting words, no season words and no nature. Seventeen syllables or less. You can include humour and human foibles. They are almost the limerick of Japanese poetry and, apart from throwing a selection of words on the table to see what happens, there can’t be many easier ways to write a poem.

Ripples of applause

A political speech

The sound of lyres

Sorry, it’s a cheap shot but I couldn’t resist.

As for my comment on throwing a selection of words on the table, there is a poet who does that at workshops. I forget her name but she was on Radio Four a couple of weeks ago when it was National Poetry Day. She travels the world with a big bag of words running poetry workshops in a career that makes professional cuddler look almost mainstream.





24 thoughts on “Political Limericks and Other Poems

  1. Pingback: Political Clerihews (Again) | quercuscommunity

  2. arlingwoman

    These gave me a good laugh–and as the Guardian seems to report better on US news than some of our own papers, I also have picked up quite a bit on your folks. Any limericks I wrote would undoubtedly be obscene and insulting if they were about politicians…

  3. tootlepedal

    I like the conflation of Nicola Sturgeon with Alex Salmond. Fair enough as they both sound fishy to you, I daresay and we can’t expect much knowledge of Scotland from those who love us so much that they couldn’t bear to let us go.

    1. quercuscommunity

      I’m always getting them mixed up, but I normally notice I’ve done it. 😉

      Don’t feel too badly done to, I was just thinking, after writing that post, that I currently have a very poor knowledge of heads of state.

  4. Laurie Graves

    Hey! I got all but the one with the reference to Nicola Salmon. The last one is spot on, especially here in the United States. Sigh. It’s gotten to the point where if Trump said it was a sunny day in DC, I’d feel the need to check other sources to see if this was really true.

      1. Laurie Graves

        Not soon enough! What a terrible time for this country. I don’t write about it much, but it weighs me down.

      2. Laurie Graves

        I certainly understand! Wish I could ignore the situation, but, alas, it is smashed into our faces every single day. It is exhausting and discouraging.

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