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The Observer’s Politics & Public Policy Limericks Contest


From Putin to coal pits to missing planes, it’s limerick time

By Fannie Flono
Associate Editor

You, too, can write limericks. But first, read this.

To write a good limerick, the first rule is to understand the specific rhyme scheme and the specific meter.

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  • The fine print

    Each week’s installment will run online late Wednesday and in the paper on Thursday. Send entries to Editorial Page Editor Taylor Batten at The deadline is 9 a.m. each Wednesday. Please include your name and city or town where you live.

This year’s limericks contest got off to a late start, but that didn’t slow participation. Nearly 100 entries poured in for this first week of poetic battle. Topping the topics were Duke Energy’s coal ash woes and Vladimir Putin’s strong arming of Crimea from Ukraine. And Panthers’ GM Dave Gettleman got a few slaps for canning Steve Smith.

Need we say that last year’s winner Bill McGloughlin was in fine form, but the crown this week goes to past winner John Long of Stanley. A story about a New York City female prison guard have sex with numerous inmates and coworkers caught his eye, and thus this ditty:

This prison guard sure got around,

Now the scandal’s the talk of the town.

The DA will indict,

And they doubt she will fight,

She’s one to take things lying down.

He also offered his take on sanctions against Russian president Vladimir Putin:

Said the Russian Assembly, “We’re hurt!

These sanctions are crap, we assert.

We won’t back down or cower,

Let’s show them our power,”

Prompting Putin to take off his shirt.

Runner-up McGloughlin aimed some delightful barbs at Putin, too. But we liked most his needling of the city of Charlotte when it lost the global headquarters of Chiquita to Ireland after the company’s recent merger:

When Chiquita came here, to hosannas,

We were promised ten years of mañanas.

Now they’ve found a new place,

We’ve been smacked in the face

With a cream pie that’s made with bananas.

McGloughlin and Long had great competition.

From Sergio Ciccone of Matthews:

When Duke’s coal pipe sustained a gash,

Their coffers had plenty of cash.

But to our dismay,

They want us to pay.

Now ain’t that a kick in the ash?

From John Humphries of Lancaster, Pa. (that’s right, limerick lovers are everywhere!):

Putin did what he wanted to do

And secured a Ukrainian coup

Crimea river

The Russians deliver

Another Hungarian stew

From Sheila Peltzer of Charlotte:

Missing airplane, a case so bizarre,

Should I travel next time in my car?

'Cross my mind it did pass

That on one tank of gas

Could I drive o'er the sea very far?

And then, there was this challenge from J.J. Holshouser:

McGloughlin and Long: They can rhyme.

But a new kid is hitting her prime.

She seeks to unseat,

What has never been beat

So look out boys. For this woman, it’s time.

Oh boy – ahem, boys! Let the rumble continue.

Other strong limericks, in no particular order:

From Loyd Dillon of Charlotte:

Duke Energy's terribly brash

Over coal pits and rivers they trash.

"We screwed up, it's true,

But the bill's sent to you.

And this too:

Must POTUS be male, be a daddy?

Would Hillary be such a baddie?

But then comes a strain

As my little brain

Imagines Bill Clinton "First Laddie."

From Lou Breaux of Charlotte

In a phone call, Obama told Putin

Back off, or we're comin' out shootin'.

From his horse, Vlad waved "see yah"

I'm off to Crimea,

"Are we takin' it back?" Darn tootin'

From Wes Long (son of John):

On claims from Bryan Davies that God told him to open a Christian medical marijuana shop (named Canna Care) in Colorado…

“Lord, give me a sign,” Bryan intoned.

“Are medical weed sales condoned?

In the scripture I read,

Though it went to his head,

Some guy named Goliath got stoned.”

Regarding St. Patrick’s Day and gay rights…

It’s so queer that on St. Paddy’s Day,

Folks all garbed in a flamboyant way,

Like a green folklore fairy,

Can be openly merry,

But they cannot be openly gay.

On the Panthers and Cam’s impending surgery…

Man, this off-season’s making me blue.

What’s a poor Panther’s fan gonna do?

It’s football we’re cravin’,

But Smitty’s a Raven

And I hear Cam is getting cut too.

From Marjorie Frick:

There once was a governor named McCrory

Who went to Raleigh for glory

Cookies he gave abortion protesters

To which they responded with gestures

But this only begins the story

From Phil Clutts of Harrisburg:

A dig at this newspaper’s new format:

I’m thinking of calling it quits,

My newspaper’s giving me fits,

I want to read news,

And critical views,

Before I peruse the obits.

About President Obama, who appeared on a satirical TV show recently:\

One hopes that our president learns,

From the time that he spent on “Two Ferns.”

While our culture’s to blame,

In part, for his shame,

It’s he who creates grave concerns.

From Jim Sills of Indian Trail:

Of toxic coal ash we are wary;

Pond seepage to rivers is scary.

We read Duke’s report,

“Haul the sludge to CLT airport”--

But, please, don’t dump it on JERRY!

From Dennis D. Carrigan of Charlotte:

If there’s no voting place near your dorm,

And long lines and sore feet are the norm,

If you’re young, Black or poor,

Then there’s one thing for sure,

If you’ve voted, you’ve weathered the storm.

From Judith Ghoneim:

NSA spied on us, what mess

CIA spied on congress, Oh yes;

I'm shocked, Shocked!

Could that have been blocked?

Only if citizens first coalesce.

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