So, I usually teach poetry in November and December. And to help my advanced 9th graders get a better grip on meter, I have them spend about half an hour writing limericks one day. This lesson never fails to be a big hit. Really -- silly, insulting poems with an annoying beat -- what more could they want?
Of course, I have to tell them that for school purposes, there limericks must be no worse than a PG13 rating. This usually draws groans from the class. And every year, I follow up those groans with the same joke: "This means, of course, that you may NOT write the famously unfinished limerick, 'There once was a girl from Nantucket.'" Inevitably, there is about a 3 second pause while they all work through the possible rhymes for Nantucket, and then the laugh really loud and spring into action, determined to write a poem that cuts as close to the edge as possible without actually breaking the rules.
But this year had an added twist, for one girl (an exceptionally bright one, I might add, as you can guess from the words of her limerick) handed me this delightful little bit of limerickery:
There once was a girl from Nantucket
Who told all the men they could chuck it.
The men, yes, those men,
Those embarrassing men --
Fools, next to the girl from Nantucket.
Supreme win on this one, I think.
I put a gold star on her forehead (the ultimate honor of humor in my classroom).