Word Ways


John McClellan


It will come as somewhat of a surprise to some people that such a thing as a clean limerick exists -- the Rabelaisian voice of naughtiness drowns out the weaker voice of its cleanlier brother and almost completely dominates the field. The purpose of this short paper is to point out that clean limericks not only do exist but that they can be quite good; and to suggest means by which they can be recast with certain bawdy overtones, without sacrificing their purity, and thereby appeal more to man's natural rambunctiousness. This popularization process we may call 'pseudo-pornographizing'. It is not our purpose here to launch into a history of this particular verse-form (which has been treated adequately elsewhere) but rather to present the case for the pristine limerick -- that persecuted minority member of the family.