Happy National Limerick Day!

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Love limericks? This is your day!

There was an Old Man with a beard
Who said, “It is just as I feared!
Two owls and a hen,
Four larks and a wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!”

FUN FACT: No one is certain why limericks are called limericks, but most people think the names from the Irish city of Limerick.

A limerick is an example of rhyming poetry. It is made up of five lines, with the first, second, and fifth lines rhyming with each other, and the third and fourth lines rhyming with each other. In the nursery rhyme below, dock, clock, and dock rhyme, while one and down rhyme.

Hickory, dickory, dock
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down,
Hickory, dickory, dock.


Each line in a limerick has a certain beat. Let’s read the nursery rhyme again and this time emphasize the beats. Clap your hands as you read the poem out loud.

The MOUSE ran UP the CLOCK.
The CLOCK struck ONE,

Every limerick carries a close variation of this beat. Limericks are also often funny and silly and a great way to introduce kids to the joy of poetry!

What’s a syllable? What’s a beat?

Syllables are different than beats. In the previous section on limericks, we counted three beats in a line that contained seven syllables:


The beats are where the emphasis falls in a string of words. Syllables are the parts of every word that you hear when it’s spoken out loud:

hick-or-y, dick-or-y, dock

Can you hear the difference? This line has three beats and seven syllables.

Have a fun Limerick Day!

Learn more about poetry in our book Explore Poetry!


Write your own rhyming poem with this activity!

Remember, learning happens everywhere! Thanks for learning with Nomad.

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