Men from Nantucket, Girls from St. Paul . . .

by Jay Nordlinger

I had a post on clean limericks — featuring one involving Nantucket, believe it or not. And this occasioned a certain amount of mail. One reader sent in a limerick I like a lot:

There was a young man from Iran
Whose poetry just wouldn’t scan.
When he was asked why,
He gave this reply:
“Because I like to put as many syllables on the last line as I possibly can.”

The only thing wrong with that delightful limerick, or non-limerick, is you have to pronounce the second syllable of “Iran” like “also-ran.” No prob., though. And this reader added a haiku, free of charge:

Here is the whole trick:
Can you count to five and sev . . .
Oops! Not so easy!

You want a clean limerick from my grandmother?

There once was a girl from St. Paul,
Who went to the birth-control ball.
She bought all the devices,
At exorbitant prices,
And nobody asked her at all.

One of the nice things about that is it’s a clean limerick that seems dirty. Shaw, I believe, said, “There are two kinds of limericks: dirty and bad.” Not true, strictly.