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Verses

  • The fiddler crab fiddles, glides and dithers / dithers and glides, veers; the stilt-eyes / pop, the legs prance the body glides, stops, / the front legs paw the air like a stallion, / at a fast angle he veers fast, glides, stops, / dithers, paws.

  • A yardstick thus to himself did muse / As he walked along the street; / 'I must buy a pair and a half of shoes / Because I have three feet.'

  • The Bananaconda is thin, / With a reddish or yellow skin. / He's not quite a brute, / Nor exactly a fruit, / Though to each of them he is akin.

  • A Tutor who tooted the flute, / Tried to teach two young tooters to toot; / Said the two to the tutor, / 'Is it harder to toot or / To tutor two tooters to toot?'

  • A canner exceedingly canny / One morning remarked to his granny, / 'A canner can can / Anything that he can, / But a canner can't can a can, can he?'

  • A hen who resided in Reading / Attended a gentleman's weading. / As she walked up the aisle, / The guests had to smaisle, / In spite of the tears they were sheading.

    • Carolyn Wells,
    • "Limericks, " The Carolyn Wells Year Book of Old Favorites and New Fancies for 1909 ()
  • Making verses is almost as common as taking snuff, and God can tell what miserable stuff people carry about in their pockets, and offer to all their acquaintances, and you know one cannot refuse reading and taking a pinch.

  • Oh, princes thrive on caviar, the poor on whey and curds, / And politicians, I infer, must eat their windy words. / It's crusts that feed the virtuous, it's cake that comforts sinners, / But writers live on bread and praise at Literary Dinners.

    • Phyllis McGinley,
    • "Advice to a Tot About to Learn the Alphabet," A Pocketful of Wry ()
  • Don't mail me any more proxies, please. / Tell me, incorporated tease, / Why don't you save the stamps and send, / Once in a while, a dividend?

  • [On visiting Westminster Abbey:] Holy Moses! Have a look! / Flesh decayed in every nook! / Some rare bits of brain lie here, / Mortal loads of beef and beer.

  • After a sudden religious conversion / The shrewd politician can get off the hook / By answering any who cast an aspersion / 'The Lord is my shepherd and I am His crook.'

  • Regiments are joining in the Master Charge / That's blowing up the G.N.P. / Hardly anybody now remains at large / Who lacks creditability.

  • Consider the egg. / ... / It's boilable, poachable, fryable; / It scrambles, it makes a sauce thicken. / It's also the only reliable / Device for producing a chicken.

  • I hereby confess / That of all I possess / I'd most gladly be minus / The sinus.

  • Vice / Is nice / But a little virtue / Won't hurt you.

  • And what could be moister / Than tears from an oyster ...

  • The kiss of the wind for lumbago, / The stab of the thorn for mirth, / One is nearer to death in a garden / Than anywhere else on earth.

  • Twinkle, twinkle, little star, / How I wonder what you are! / Up above the world so high, / Like a diamond in the sky.

  • If you ever, ever, ever meet a grizzly bear, / You must never, never, never ask him where / He is going, / Or what he is doing; / For if you ever, ever dare / To stop a grizzly bear, / You will never meet another grizzly bear.

    • Mary Austin,
    • "Grizzly Bear," The Children Sing in the Far West ()
  • Vague in plot but clear in style, / Its characters escape me. / Flavor marks it all the while, / And how it's helped to shape me!

  • Once there was an elephant, / Who tried to use the telephant — / No! no! I mean an elephone / Who tried to use the telephone ...

  • Few know the ways of this rapt eremite / By civilization he is not impressed; / Lost in the spiral of his conscience, he / Detachedly takes rest.

  • I think mice / Are rather nice.

  • All verse is occasional verse.

  • The centipede was happy quite / Until a toad in fun / Said, 'Pray, which leg goes after which?' / That worked her mind to such a pitch, / She lay distracted in a ditch, / Considering how to run.

  • I am Dolorita Quita / From the north of Ecuador; / They have chained me to a cross-bar / In a Flatbush Avenue store. / With a hundred Hartz canaries / And an Orinoco bird, / They are holding me for ransom / Till my country gets the word. / In the window there are puppies / That have promised o'er and o'er / To watch the crowds for sailors / Who may be from Ecuador.

  • First a howling blizzard woke us / Then the rain came down to soak us, / And now before the eye can focus — / Crocus.

    • Lilja Rogers,
    • "Hocus Pocus," in The Saturday Evening Post ()
  • Knitting, Knitting, 1, 2, 3, / I knit the scarves for Roo and me; / I love honey and I love tea; / Knitting, Knitting, 1, 2, 3.

  • Dispute no blossom with a bee / But give it glad priority. / Discretion were the better thing / Unless you too possess a sting.

  • 'Twas in heaven pronounced — it was muttered in hell, / And echo caught faintly the sound as it fell; / On the confines of earth 'twas permitted to rest, / And the depth of the ocean its presence confessed. / Yet in shade let it rest, like a delicate flower, / Ah, breathe on it softly, it dies in an hour.

  • The folks who their potatoes buy / From sacks before they sup, / Miss half of the potato's joy / And that's to dig it up.

  • Come, come, said Tom's father, at your time of life / You've no longer excuse for playing the rake / It is time that you thought, boy, of taking a wife / Why, so it is father: But whose wife shall I take.

    • Diana Mitford,
    • in Mary S. Lovell, The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family ()
  • A lady once longed to be wild / But kept herself quite undefiled — / By thinking of Jesus / And veneral diseases — / And the danger of having a child.

    • Rebecca West,
    • 1925, in Bonnie Kime Scott, ed., Selected Letters of Rebecca West ()
  • How nice it is to have a mate / And intimately collaborate / With an editorial we / To make an us of him and me.

  • Last autumn's chestnuts, rather passées, / He now presents as marrons glacées.

  • 'Will you walk into my parlour?' said the Spider to the Fly, / ''Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy ... '

    • Mary Howitt,
    • "The Spider and the Fly," Ballads and Other Poems ()
  • Oh, you'll take the high road / And I'll take the low road, / And I'll be in Scotland before you ...

    • Alicia Scott,
    • "Loch Lomond," Poets and Poetry of Scotland ()
  • Mary had a little lamb, / Its fleece was white as snow; / And everywhere that Mary went / The lamb was sure to go.

  • Old Mother Hubbard / Went to the cupboard, / To give the poor dog a bone; / When she came there / The cupboard was bare, / And so the poor dog had none.

  • Old Mrs. Lazibones / And her dirty daughter / Never used soap / And never used water / Higgledy piggledy cowpat / What d'you think of that? / Daisies from their fingernails / Birds' nests in their hair-O / Dandelions from their ears / What a dirty pair-O! / Higgledy piggledy cowpat / What d'you think of that? / Came a prince who sought a bride / Riding past their doorstep / 'Quick,' said Mrs. Lazibones. / 'Girl, under the water tap.' / Higgledy piggledy cowpat / What d'you think of that? / Washed her up and washed her down / Then she washed her sideways / But the prince was far, far away / He'd ridden off on the highways / Higgledy piggledy cowpat / What d'you think of that?

    • Gerda Mayer,
    • "Old Mrs. Lazibones" Gerda Mayer, Knockabout Show ()
  • I gave her cakes, I gave her wine, / I gave her sugar-candy, / But oh! the little naughty girl, / She asked me for some brandy.

    • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,
    • nursery rhyme mentioned in a letter to Maria Gisborne (1822), in Florence Ashton Marshall, The Life & Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, vol. 1 ()
  • In unison we rise and stand / And wish that we were sitting. / We listen to the music start, / And wish that it were quitting. / We pass our hymnal to a guest / or fake a smoker's cough; / We drop our pencils, lose our gloves, / Or take our glasses off. / We move our lips to keep in style, / Emitting awkward bleats, / And when the last 'Amen' is sung, / Sink gladly in our seats. / O Lord, who hearest every prayer / And saves us from our foes, / Deliver now Thy little flock / From hymns nobody knows.

  • A little coitus wouldn't hoitus.

    • Anonymous,
    • graffiti from women's restroom, in Ms. ()
  • [Officials responsible for the poorly run badger control program in England explained to critics that 'the badgers were moving the goalposts':] Because the Badgers are moving the goalposts. / The Ferrets are bending the rules. / The Weasels are taking the hindmost. / The Otters are downing tools. / The Hedgehogs are changing the game-plan. / The Grass-snakes are spitting tacks. / The Squirrels are playing the blame-game / The Skunks are twisting the facts.