Thursday

Jul. 19, 2001

Limericks

by Various

THURSDAY, 19 JULY 2001
Listen (RealAudio) | How to listen

Poem: Limericks

There was a young fellow from Clyde
Who once at a funeral was spied.
    When asked who was dead,
    He smilingly said,
"I don't know. I just came for the ride."

A senora who strolled on the Corso
Displayed quite a lot of her torso.
    A crowd soon collected
    And no one objected
Though some were in favor of more so.

A certain young gourmet of Crediton
Took some pate de foie gras and spread it on
    A chocolate biscuit
    Then murmured, "I'll risk it":
His tomb bears the date that he said it on.

An unpopular youth of Cologne
With a pain in his stomach did mogne.
    He heaved a great sigh,
    And said, "I would digh,
But the loss would be only my ogne."

There was a young lady of Condover
Whose husband had ceased to be fond of her.
    He could not forget
    He had wooed a brunette
But peroxide had now made a blonde of her.

It's the birthday of American novelist and short-story writer Jayne Anne Phillips, born and raised in Buckhannon, West Virginia, in 1952. Phillips' first book of stories, Black Tickets, was published in 1979 when she was 26, and won the prestigious Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction. Her first novel, Machine Dreams, follows the lives of a small-town West Virginia family from the beginning of the 20 century until the Vietnam War. It was cited by the New York Times as one of the Best Books of 1984.

It's the birthday of medical physicist Roslyn Yallow, born Roslyn Sussman, in New York City in 1921. In a long collaboration with the physician Solomon Berson, she developed the technique of radio-immuno-assay, in which radioactive tracers are used to measure, with great accuracy, quantities of substances in the bloodstream. She was awarded a share of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for this work in 1977.

It's the birthday of poet, playwright, and children's author Eve Merriam, born in Philadelphia in 1916. She was a writer for radio, became fashion copy editor for Glamour magazine, and then her first book was accepted for publication in 1946. This inspired her to devote herself full-time to writing, and she produced many books, both for adults and children, but was recognized foremost as a children's poet. Some of her many collections are It Doesn't Always Have to Rhyme, After Nora Slammed the Door, Mommies at Work, and the controversial Inner City Mother Goose, which Merriam once referred to as "just about the most banned book in the country."

It's the birthday of physician Charles Mayo, born in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1865, the son of Mayo Clinic founder William Mayo. He originated modern techniques in goiter and neuro-surgery, performed cataract operations, and developed a standard for several orthopedic procedures.

It's the birthday of French Impressionist Edgar Degas, born in Paris in 1834, best known for his paintings and pastels of ballet dancers and his bronze sculptures of ballerinas and racehorses. Degas remained a bachelor his entire life, saying, "There is love and there is work, and we only have one heart."

It's the birthday of the indomitable and colorful Civil War hospital worker Mary Bickerdyke, born Mary Ball on a farm in Knox County, Ohio, in 1817. In 1861, she was inspired to volunteer her services because of accounts of the terrible conditions under which the wounded Union soldiers were being treated. She became the chief of nursing under General Ulysses Grant.

On this date in 1799, French soldiers found the famous Rosetta Stone. They were tearing down a wall in the town of Rosetta, 30 miles north of Alexandria in Egypt, and found the famous tablet inscribed with a proclamation honoring Ptolomy V, carved in three alphabetic systems: hieroglyphic, demotic, and Greek. It served as the key to decoding hieroglyphics, which had puzzled archeologists up to that time.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®

 









«

»

  • “Writers end up writing stories—or rather, stories' shadows—and they're grateful if they can, but it is not enough. Nothing the writer can do is ever enough” —Joy Williams
  • “I want to live other lives. I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.” —Anne Tyler
  • “Writing is a performance, like singing an aria or dancing a jig” —Stephen Greenblatt
  • “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.” —John Edgar Wideman
  • “In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.” —Denise Levertov
  • “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Let's face it, writing is hell.” —William Styron
  • “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” —Thomas Mann
  • “Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials.” —Paul Rudnick
  • “Writing is a failure. Writing is not only useless, it's spoiled paper.” —Padget Powell
  • “Writing is very hard work and knowing what you're doing the whole time.” —Shelby Foote
  • “I think all writing is a disease. You can't stop it.” —William Carlos Williams
  • “Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.” —Iris Murdoch
  • “The less conscious one is of being ‘a writer,’ the better the writing.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is…that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is my dharma.” —Raja Rao
  • “Writing is a combination of intangible creative fantasy and appallingly hard work.” —Anthony Powell
  • “I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act.” —Michael Cunningham
The Writer's Almanac on Facebook


The Writer's Almanac on Twitter

Subscribe to our daily newsletter for poems, prose and literary history every morning
An interview with Jeffrey Harrison at The Writer's Almanac Bookshelf
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show
O, What a Luxury

Although he has edited several anthologies of his favorite poems, O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound forges a new path for Garrison Keillor, as a poet of light verse. Purchase O, What a Luxury »