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Love those Irish limericks

On the Bright Side

St. Patrick's Day is coming up, and I can't help but celebrate it here in my column. I have a bit o' the Irish blood coursing through my veins, but that is really neither here nor there as everyone is a little Irish on St. Patrick's Day.

And why not? If this is a holiday that brings us closer to a feeling of togetherness and camaraderie through green colored celebrations, adopted heritage, and happy words, then I say Faith and Begorrah, let the celebrating begin! And we certainly do need that feeling of togetherness and camaraderie these days, don't we?

Every year I look up the history of the St. Pat's holiday, and it continually appears that everyone who has ever written a history of St. Pat has got different "facts." Okay, St. Patrick lived a long time ago – over 1,500 years ago – so maybe it's no wonder that no one really knows all the facts for sure. Most historians agree that Pat died on March 17, the date we celebrate, but the year of his death has been reported to be 461 A.D. as well as 493 A.D.

Anyway, Patrick did become the patron saint of Ireland and although details differ, one usual point of agreement is that St. Patrick's influence in the fifth century is credited with keeping literacy alive in Ireland during the Dark Ages – it was St. Patrick's monks who first began writing down the oral stories of old for posterity (you'd think somebody could have written some dates down, but oh well).

Thanks to the Irish people's continued and unwavering reverence for words both spoken and written (and often not without a bit o' blarney), words are also a big part of St. Pat's Day. And along with great toasts, one of my favorite forms of Irish wordplay is the limerick, a simple form of poetry that dates back as far as the 12th century in other European countries, but found its stride in Irish pubs in the late 18th century.

And who doesn't enjoy the good wit, wisdom and wordplay found in those clever little poems? Here are a few of my favorites:

There once was a man from Nantucket,

Who kept all his cash in a bucket.

His daughter, named Nan

Ran away with a man,

And as for the bucket, Nantucket

There was a young fellow who thought

Very little but thought it a lot.

Then at long last he knew

What he wanted to do,

But before he could start, he forgot.

A man while drinking Light Bud

Crashed his car with a sickening thud

The car that he hit

Had a warlock in it

Now he lives as a frog in the mud.

I am sorry to hear, Smiling Jill,

That your birthday's no longer a thrill

All your friends think you're great

And should still celebrate --

You're not old, you're just over the hill.

And perhaps my most favorite limerick of all time is that wonderful little piece by Ogden Nash:

A wonderful bird is the Pelican.

His beak can hold more than his belly can.

He can hold in his beak

Enough food for a week!

But I'll be darned if I know how the hellican?

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

© 2022 Marilda Mel White. Mel White a local writer/photographer who is sometimes full of a bit of the blarney herself, has been looking on the bright side for various publications since 1996. She welcomes your comments at [email protected].