My Weekly Writing Challenge

This week’s challenge is a fun one and it’s one I’ve set before – the beloved limerick!

Here’s a reminder of how to write one:Traditional limericks have five lines, where the first, second and fifth lines rhyme, with seven to ten syllables in each line. The third and fourth lines rhyme with each other and these lines have five to seven syllables in each line.

Thank you to all last week’s challenger takers who wrote stories and poems, with the closing line, Phew, that was a close one!

Geoff Le Pard sent in a brilliant sonnet:

An Alopecia Sonnet

It’s often said by those present at my birth
Be it a doctor or fakir or nurse,
That because of some follicle curse
Of hair on my head there was a dearth
I did all that was asked; I gained some weight:
A role model with my healthy eating;
But of hairs on my head, views were fleeting
No haircuts; they just polished my pate.
Adolescence is a dark cheerless place
As you fight to look cool and mature;
But without hope you remain insecure
If no shadow has yet crossed your face.
Those cruel heartless girls, to each other, will say
As they dump you: ‘Phew that was a close shave!’

Keith Channing‘s story thoroughly entertains:

“What am I to do, Velcro?” asked Kannot, king of the land of O, “Old whats-her-name’s getting damnably silly ideas, again.”

“What ideas, Sire, and who precisely is getting them?”

Velcro had been Kannot’s retainer for longer than either of them could remember, which given their ages was probably not very long.

“She who likes to be called Ma’am when she’s on her throne and her workshops or something when she’s in her judger’s pulpit. Got it into her head that it would be a good idea, after all, for Prince Mite to marry the very, very ugly daughter of the king next door.”

“I thought Sire had decided on this matter, with the agreement of the Privy Council.”

“So I had, Velcro, so I had. But now her high-and-mighty queenness has decided otherwise.”

“Did she say why, Sire?” Velcro asked.

“Oh, something to do with a coffee morning with all the local queens. How many can there be, for goodness’ sake? The nearest of our four neighbouring kingdoms; or is it five, I can never remember, maybe it’s even six, who knows – or cares? Anyway, the closest is three days’ horse-ride, but she has these coffee mornings every day except Sundays, when she has a lie-in,”

“That’s nice, Sire, if you spend extra time in bed together. I’m told it helps to support the relationship.”

“Did I say anything about bed, Velcro, DID I?” the old king shouted.

“No, Sire, you didn’t.”

“No, Sire, I didn’t,” he mocked, “When I say a lie-in, I mean she spends most of the day telling lies. And they are whoppers!”

“If I may be permitted, Sire, I espy a conundrum, a puzzle, if you will.”

“And if I won’t?”

“Even so, Sire.”

“What is this conundrum, this puzzle, if I will?”

“Simply this, Sire. If the nearest neighbouring kingdom in two days on horseback, that means the others are further, doesn’t it?”

“It does, of course, simple logic, Velcro. Are you beginning to lose your whatsits?”

“Memory, Sire?”

“No…”

“Reason, then?”

“No, not reason. What’s that thing they have in those big schools for getting degrees?”

“Universities, Sire?”

“Yes, Velcro, universities.”

“Is your Majesty referring to faculties?”

“Exactly, Velcro. You losing yours?”

“I sincerely hope not, Sire. I would be of little use to your Majesty without them. Why do you ask?”

“Because you just suggested that if the nearest kingdom is two days’ ride, the others must be further.”

“And that caused you to believe that may mind is becoming feeble? I would have though the opposite, Sire.”

“Velcro, you are confusing the royal brain. Get on with what you wanted to say.”

“Certainly, Sire. If the nearest neighbouring kingdom is two days’ ride…”

“And the other are further…”

“And the others, Sire, are indeed further. Given that scenario, that geographic veracity, that spatial reality…”

“Get on with it!” King Kannot was renowned for many things, but patience was not one of them.

“Sire. How can they have a coffee morning in a different kingdom every day, if the closest one takes two days to reach?”

“Hah-ha! Got her,” the king shouted, jumping up and down with glee. “The old bat obviously thinks I’m a bit simple, doesn’t she?”

“I can’t imagine where she could possibly get that idea from, Sire,” Velcro replied, as yet another chunk fell off the end of his tongue and landed with a soggy ‘splat’ on the stone floor of the throne room.

“What’s to be done about it, Velcro?”

“When is her Majesty next due to host the coffee morning here, Sire?”

“Tomorrow. Thursday is her day. Not that I’ve ever seen any of them. Women’s stuff, she calls them. Men not allowed even in the same building.”

“Tell her you’d like to address the ladies, Sire.”

“Didn’t you hear what I said? Men not allowed.”

“Sire. Are you not the ruler of this land?”

“You know I am. Why do you ask?”

“How can the ruler be banished from a single room, not only in his kingdom, but in his own castle? Are you not King of the Castle?”

“Of course I am, Velcro. I am supreme ruler of this land, and as such I order you to speak to the queen about this matter.”

“That would be most improper, Sire. It is not within my power to give instructions to the queen.”

“Very well, I’ll tell Mite to do it.”

“The might of Mite might do it, Sire,” Velcro opined, “but the greater force of your Majesty must prevail.”

So the king took his leave of Velcro, and entered the judging chamber, where his bride was busily harassing some poor soul from her pulpit.

“When you’ve finished, my dear,” the king said, entering the sacred space of the judging chamber without so much as a ‘by your leave’ or ‘if you please’.

“Can’t you see I’m busy judging?” she bellowed.

“I can,” the king calmly replied. “As I say, when you’ve finished.” And with that, he moved to leave the chamber.

“Don’t walk away when I’m talking to you,” she ranted, “I haven’t finished yet.”

“Then kindly do so, and when you have, we’ll talk.”

The queen turned to the supplicant in the dock, saying, “Look, whatever it is you want, you can’t have. Whatever it is you’re accused of, you’re guilty; Bailiffs, take him away and hang him, or something.”

“But, Judger, I am only here to apply for…”

“Well, you can’t have it. Now GO AWAY! Now, husband, what do you want?”

“Where was today’s coffee morning, my sweet?”

“You know very well, that Wednesdays we have it in Spoland.”

“Spoland is three days’ ride.”

“So?”

“So how are you back in time to cause misery here?”

“Have you never heard of teleconferencing?”

“No, I haven’t,” the king replied.

“Well, one day it will be invented, then you won’t be able to ask so many impertinent questions.”

“These coffee mornings don’t happen, do they?”

“Of course they do.”

“I mean outside of your poor, overworked, befuddled, queenly brain.”

“They might.”

“But they don’t.”

“Not exactly,” the queen admitted, “not as such.”

“So where did this idea of Mite marrying the ugly daughter of that ex-frog come from?”

“I’m just fed up with the little shit, and I want him married off and out of my hair,” she yelled.

“You don’t have the power to do that. You are my queen consort. I am the hereditary king; I rule.”

“You can’t talk to me like that!” she said.

“Velcro says I can, and he should know,” the king replied. “Let’s go to him, and see if he can resolve this mess.”

Entering the throne room, the royal pair faced Velcro.

“Velcro. Can you explain to my beautiful queen, how it is that I am empowered to make major decisions of state, and she isn’t?”

Velcro looked around the room, trying to find the person the king mentioned, but could only see his Highness and she who is known among the peasantry as ‘Lady Plain Grey’.

“Certainly, Sire,” then turning to the queen, “Is your Majesty familiar with the concept of the divine right of kings?”

“Of course I am, but Kannot is left-handed,” the queen replied.

“I don’t think that makes any difference, Ma’am,” Velcro replied, mentally rolling his eyes. Had he rolled his eyes in a way that was visible to the queen, he might just have lost them. The queen does not take criticism well, even of the implied kind.

“So you are saying that because Kannot was born royal, he has rights that are denied to me simply because he plucked me from obscurity so he could enjoy my charms and my unbelievable beauty?”

“And have been doing so ever since, my precious,” the king interrupted in his most Gollum-like manner.

“That is the case, I’m afraid, Ma’am. ‘Tis the law of the land.”

“Then the law needs to change,” she said.

“The law can only be changed by the word of the king,” Velcro said, adding after a pause, “Ma’am.”

“Well all I can say is that is exceedingly unfair. I’m going to go and judge someone, and they’ll be jolly sorry we had this conversation,” the queen said, storming out of the throne room back into her judging chamber; the chamber where she reigned supreme and her word was still law.

“I take it that means the prince is not to be shackled to the Princess Tadpole, Sire.”

“You are not wrong, Velcro, not wrong at all.”

“And the king’s final word on this episode?” Velcro asked.

King Kannot replied, “Phew, that was a close one!”

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31 Responses to My Weekly Writing Challenge

  1. Just a quickie:

    A feisty young female Etruscan
    Wants to visit her cousin, a Tuscan
    The rail line has blocks
    From the fall of some rocks
    So the train can’t get through; but a bus can.

  2. Okay, Keith – you can stop now!

    I really did not have a clue
    When asked for a lim’rick or two
    So just as before
    I started with four
    And ended up with quite a few

    The first to come out was okay
    Though its content was really quite fey
    Lines three and four rhyme
    Well they do most the time
    And that’s what is needed today

    The next needed oodles of planning
    As the poetic flames we were fanning
    I pored o’er the metre
    Drinking wine by the litre
    I’ve forgotten my name; is it Channing?

    I’m trying to write these for Esther
    Whose home is in Berkshire, not Leicester
    When she asks for this stuff
    I go off in a huff
    Like the Chester investor, Sylvester

  3. Naomi Harvey says:

    There once was a girl from the Shire
    Whose writing practice was quite dire
    She got quite a kick
    Writing a Lymerick
    Now her imagination’s on fire!

  4. These are simply fantastic! Please don’t stop. Keep them coming. A limerick with my name in, too! I’m very honoured 🙂

  5. TanGental says:

    Some of my father’s own or favourites (you will understand the man from these)

    ‘Fresh nose pickings,’ said Mrs McGroar
    ‘Can have practical uses galore
    Fr’instance by folding
    And carefully moulding
    You can make condoms, cheap, for the poor.’

    A non rhymer and non scanner..

    There was a young lady from Bude
    Who went for a swim in the lake
    A man in a punt
    Stuck a pole in her ear
    And said, ‘You can’t swim here; it’s private.’

  6. I love both of these, though have to say the first is my favourite – really clever and made me laugh out loud.

  7. This morning’s offering:

    I was hoping to find that hypnosis
    Could help to relieve my psychosis
    I asked Doc, “Will it work?”
    He said, “Don’t be a jerk,
    I can’t even give a prognosis.”

  8. Oooh, does that mean you’re going to send a limerick a day? Yes please! You’re brilliant at them. These really make my day 🙂

  9. This is for tomorrow (in case I don’t have time). Doubly challenging:

    Un jeune auvergnat, je crois
    A construit une maison en bois.
    Quand l’hiver était dur
    Il a brûlé les murs
    Aujourd’hui il ne reste qu’un toit

  10. Writing a lim’rick in French
    Has a bit of a pretentious stench
    Although it was tough
    I think one was enough
    Any more would prove too much a wrench.

  11. Though most of my friends are conniving
    To spend the whole evening jiving
    I’ll have to write
    For the rest of the night
    Or I’ll be accused of skiving

    So in front of my laptop I’ll sit
    And edit my book bit by bit
    Revising this draft
    Is driving me daft
    But I hope it will end up well writ

    • I was about to say ‘What’s happened to my daily limerick fix from Keith?’ after you missed the 8th and then you gave me two so all is forgiven!! And two highly amusing limericks, too!

  12. Jasdeep Kaur says:

    Keith is definitely a limerick king,
    whose limericks made me smile and sing.
    I wonder though
    where did he go
    to fetch his magical golden ring!

    Something mysterious held me back,
    but now I’ve unbound my sack;
    hope to never fail
    or lose my trail.
    It’s so difficult to keep our life on track.

    Roses are red and violets are blue.
    It’s so wonderful if the love is true.
    But keep my warning.
    It made Prince Charming
    run in his palace carrying Cinderella’s shoe.

  13. Three today:

    The news that I wanted a BAFTA
    Prompted derogatory laughter
    My film about Tosca
    Was up for an Oscar
    But that wasn’t what I was after.

    Melanie went paragliding
    While Jim Reeves sang about worlds colliding
    The papers said Melanie
    Had committed a felony
    So she had to go into hiding.

    The limerick moves with the times
    While committing poetical crimes
    But don’t count the cost
    Or the meaning that’s lost
    As long as the bloody thing rhymes

  14. Jasdeep Kaur says:

    One more…

    There’s no limerick without a pun,
    rhyming trios and the element of fun,
    the Duos with subtlety
    placed within trinity
    and the finale like a bullet from a gun.

  15. In the words of a song from the Rolling Stones, “This could be the last time.”

    We started with something quite smelly
    Followed by tinned fruit and jelly
    Now both of the dogs
    Are sleeping like logs
    So we can sit back and watch telly

    I once tried to eat andouillette
    An experience I’d rather forget
    It’s not haute cuisine
    Tasting mid-way between
    Tripe and something that died at the vet

    When writing a lim’rick on cooking
    I suddenly found myself looking
    For a word to rhyme kitchen
    Not bitchin’ or Hitchin
    But something a little more hooking

    When dealing with things theoretical
    Don’t stray into regions heretical
    You’ll anger the purists
    While tickling the tourists
    With expressions apologetical

    If you find your beliefs disrespected
    Don’t say that you just not affected
    But sit round the table
    As far as you’re able
    And show we are interconnected

  16. And finally…

    An overweight parliamentarian
    Was reputedly disciplinarian
    But it gave him some pause
    When his favourite clause
    Was described as completely barbarian

    An eminent Harvard historian
    While speaking in tones stentorian
    Announced in a holler
    “Why, I’m such a scholar,
    They made me the valedictorian”

    A priest who was octogenarian
    Felt a calling to be vegetarian
    He stopped eating meats
    Lived on veggies and beets
    And on various products agrarian

    Th-th-th-that’s all folks!

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