A Free Verse Limerick


There was a young fellow of Trinity
Who, although he could trill like a linnet, he
Could never complete
Any poem with feet,
Saying: “Idiots!
Can’t you see
what I’m writing
to be

— Cyril Bibby, The Art of the Limerick, 1978

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is edmarklaw@learnfunfacts.com

40 thoughts on “A Free Verse Limerick

    1. Thanks.

      In my files, the longest word is “aegilops” (8 letters), which is a scientific word so I’m not sure if it counts. There’s also a couple of 7-letter words: beefily and billowy. However, they both contain double letter. For 6 letters, there are actually several, e.g., abhors, billows, biopsy, effort, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My boss has two brothers. When they were growing up, their father, an attorney, had a complete set of “The Oxford English Dictionary” at his home office. He made each of the boys memorize the entire page of words and their definitions each day … then he’d quiz them at night on those words. They were very scared of their father so they ensured they memorized those words, so my boss has always been interested in words and wordplay. He also has the whole set of the OED in his office at work … he often uses words I’ve never heard of and I have to look them up for the definition as well as the spelling. He e-mailed me on Thanksgiving Day with a re: line “gibbetted” … my boss doesn’t use spellcheck unless writing to clients, for me, if he types it misspelled, it stays like that. I thought had something to do with “giblets” … I pondered and pondered over it … the e-mail pertained to a client we just withdrew from because their bill was three months in arrears and he was telling me they had just been sued. I looked up the word “gibbets” … I did not get the connection as to the gallows. So I said I am sorry – I’m not understanding what you’re saying. He responded: “Geez. An insturmrnt of torture.” 🙂

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      2. Heh, I had read the entire Oxford dictionary (and a science dictionary) too during my childhood primarily due to lack of reading materials. I like to read and I would read anything than nothing at all so the dictionary was a great way to pass my time. The word origins also interested me since I have been intrigued with etymology even back then. I would then use the words I learned in several sentences as an exercise for retention.

        Not knowing gibbet is understandable since while it’s a rather common word during the 19th century or earlier, I think that people have stopped using the word that much during the 20th century onward except in history books.

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      3. See that is interesting Edmark because I doubt there are many people who would have read the Oxford English Dictionary as a youngster. At one time my boss ordered the OED on DVDs – there was a set of these DVDs and you popped the different volumes into the laptop – I told him that it would have been better to see if the OED was just online and pay for it, but he liked this way. When I still worked on site (up to 2009 – I now work from home), he was always buying flash cards to learn new words from a site called “Bas Bleu” – they have many interesting and fun literary gifts, something for everybody. He also used to make index cards with new words and use them as his own homemade flash cards to learn new words and their meanings. If I haven’t sent you this link before, I once got my boss a subscription to this gentleman’s e-mail newsletter. I got a complimentary copy for signing him up for it. Evan Morris loved researching words and phrases – Robb (my boss) enjoyed the newsletter as did I, but Evan Morris is not well now and no longer does the e-mail, but his archives are still there to read and searchable in the left-hand side up at the top: http://www.word-detective.com/

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      4. I don’t think that most people would sit down and read a dictionary like a novel. It just isn’t conventional. Honestly, if I only had access to more books during my childhood, then I don’t see myself reading a dictionary. Your boss was basically coerced to read it I suppose 😃 though he turned out liking it.

        Flash cards are great for remembering things. They are ideal for me who use a memory system I learned from Harry Lorayne that relies on a specialized mnemonic system and visual association.

        Thanks for the link.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. You’re welcome Edmark. I know my boss and I were sad that Evan is no longer able to keep writing. He was quite entertaining. I popped onto his Twitter feed and he’s not been on there since April of 2017. I took a class in college on memory improvement. I needed two credits for my Associates Degree and this was a one-credit class. I don’t know if the method had a name to it, but our association was the letters of the alphabet and their numerical order, i.e. “A” was 1 and “Z” was 26. Our teacher was Skip Rosenthal – just Googled him but nothing came up but that was forty years ago I had the class, so he is likely long gone from school, if not Earth. I did well in the class but it was strictly memorization and I can’t say I remember anything about the class and it was not helpful for me as I went on to get my BA.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. It’s a simplified version of peg system as studying it in its entirety would be unreasonable in a single-credit course.

        You have to study it deeply to gain anything practical from it and it’s not an easy area of study. Depending on how much stuff you really need to memorize, learning about it may not be worth it. I have used it before for memorizing a shuffled deck of cards in less than 50 seconds, though I don’t have much practice now so I may need about one and a half ninutes to do it…

        Also, there are many types of memory systems and not all of them work for everyone. Some, like me, use visual associations. However, others prefer auditory associations, i. e. they link things to some pre-memorized sounds. So, it’s like mnemonics that use sounds intead of images.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Yours sounds quite complex … the only thing I remembered from that class is that the 33rd president was Harry Truman and the word association was the letters M-O-M and we were to remember Mom. That is all I retained and the teacher’s name. I hope the other one-credit class had a more long-lasting effect.

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      8. In a system called Major System, “mom” corresponds to 33 though I would prefer words like MiMe or MuMmy.

        Since I use visual associations for my mnemonics, the imageries I should be as ridiculous as possible because it wouldn’t work otherwise. So, this made me embarrassed to share my visual mnemonics. I had been asked many times what kind of mnemonics I use but I never told them 😃.

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      9. You know I almost didn’t mention the MOM, 33 and Harry Truman since I wonder what caused those three items to stick out in my head after all these years? So Major System was what I learned in that class – pity it didn’t have a bigger impact on me but I know I did retain things while in the class. I’m going to Google Major System and see if I remember anything else.

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      10. So, the article combines the use of loci (memory palace) and major system. That could work, though you need to have a fast mental processing power to do that quickly :)

        I personally link a noun to a verb (action) instead of a place if that makes sense…

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      11. The 33 was because Harry Truman was the 33rd president of the U.S. – but did I not learn the order of the other presidents – it makes me wonder why no other president’s info stuck in my brain all these years, except Truman’s? I do use a memory system whereby I think of things I want to include in my blog post of what happened on that day’s walk. If there are multiple items, I take the first letter of what I saw or what I want to write about and try to make a word out of it … the problem is I don’t always remember the key word by the time I get back home or online to write it down. If I took pictures, that will help me remember.
        My 62 1/2-year-old brain is not what is used to be. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      12. There is a simple memory system called link system where you only have to remember the first item in the list. You’d connect the first item to the second item using an absurd story or visualization. The second item is then linked to the third item the same way. Continue until you reached the end of your list. Personally, I don’t use it but others have used it effectively for remembering lists.

        I only emlloy memory system to things that require it (like blindfold cubing) and things that I can’t readily check. For other things, I just look them up.

        You’re still young :). Harry Lorayne, who popularized memory systems in our time, is still as sharp as ever at 92. So, I think that mental training is as essential as physical training if you want to live a healthy life.

        Lorayne’s problem though, which I also share to a certain extent, is that he can’t forget many things that he’d rather forget!

        Alex Aitken’s (used auditory mnemonics) story was more tragic. His extremely accurate long term memory for sounds had caused him to vividly remember the two World Wars. This made him depressed for the rest of his life due to constant flashbacks .

        Liked by 1 person

      13. That is sad about Alex Aitken and the opposite of the fate of amnesiacs who strive to remember their past and remember nothing but the present. I had a co-worker whose sister had a closed head injury. She could remember nothing from her past, not only her name, family, job, but simple things like what you did with soap, or a towel, or what a cup is used for. She was in a rehab facility for a long time, her husband left her and my co-worker spent many hours teaching her simple things. Her sister was frustrated with herself – very sad. A friend of mine (Ilene) is in the hospital right now – her nephew had a puppy and he brought the dog over to see Ilene’s dogs. Ilene is in her late 70s and has been tracking with her dogs for years. She also is a judge for tracking events. She loves dogs and has several at her home which is in a rural area. She opened the door and one of her dogs raced past her and knocked her over and she tripped down two porch steps. She hit her head on the cement. She felt fine until the middle of the night when her ankle hurt – she turned on the light, and put her foot out of the blankets and inspected her ankle. She bent over and felt faint and collapsed on the floor. She had to be rushed to the hospital by ambulance. She has bleeding on the brain and has been hospitalized since. The brain – so amazing and yet so fragile.

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      14. Yes, it is almost glamorized isn’t it. I was amazed hearing about my co-worker’s sister … they both had a lot of patience and now her sister is almost 100% again, she even works. I don’t know if she drives or not. I’ve not talked to the former co-worker but we do e-mail occasionally. Meanwhile, I just checked my e-mail after I finished a post and my friend still has not surfaced since Sunday morning when she told of her ordeal and said she may need to return to the hospital again.

        Liked by 1 person

      15. Many people seem to like those plotlines, so…

        I’m glad to know that they were able to gradually overcome that challenge. I think that it’s important to still have regular check ups even after recovering.

        I have a friend who bumped his head while riding a bus and he just ignored it. A week later, he passed out while he’s with his mother at a mall. The doctors had to perform a surgery just to save his life and it took him more than two months to wake up. He told me that he forgot all the things that happened after he bumped his head though he’s grateful that he didn’t suffer amnesia. Now, he’s fully recovered but the doctors recommended him to have regular checkups at least 2 times a year for the rest of his life just to be on the safe side.

        Liked by 1 person

      16. That’s very scary what happened to your friend. I took the bus for years and you really had to have good “bus legs” if there was no seat available and you had to hold on for your life sometimes. Luckily your friend is fully recovered and hopefully stays the same. I’ve still not heard from my friend and it has been four full days. Like me she has a flip phone, so no e-mail to respond to my queries of how she is.

        Liked by 1 person

      17. There was just a bus accident a few weeks ago where the bus driver and a passenger were arguing and the bus went out of control. I finally heard from my friend and she was in the hospital and then on bed rest
        at home, lying flat and no moving around, and she fell again as she got dizzy when she got up briefly, so back in the hospital for two days and was released last night. She was home today but needs to return tomorrow for observation.

        Liked by 1 person

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