Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

The limerick is perhaps the most universally recognized form of light verse used for comic effect.  It consists of two lines of (usually) iambic or anapestic trimeter, two of dimeter, and one more of trimeter, rhyming AABBA.  Something about the two short rhyming lines returning to the longer line with the original rhyme lends itself to the comedic effect, perhaps by helping to set up the last line as a “punch line.”  Here is my first attempt at one, justly mocking the false pretensions of negative biblical criticism and the “assured results of modern scholarship.”


A high-critical biblical scholar

Wrote books that all caused quite a holler.

He claimed that St. Paul

Wrote The Campaigns of Gaul,

And he made about three million dollars.

The assonance and consonance in the first line, the contrast of scholarly phrases like higher criticism with a colloquial vocable like holler, and the use of the rhymes in lines three and four to highlight the ironic discrepancy between the biblical author and a work he had nothing to do with all contribute to the humorous effect, one hopes.  Unfortunately, the likes of Dan Brown and Bart Ehrman can now make much bigger piles of money for the same kind of nonsense than what was intended as a hyperbole back in the seventies.  For that reason alone, the poem is, alas, now somewhat dated.

Don’t forget:  for more poetry like this, go to https://www.createspace.com/3562314 and order Stars Through the Clouds!

Donald T. Williams, PhD