Some years ago I was working on some European Standards (CEN/CENELEC) and we held one of our meetings in Dublin. On the final day a group of us did a conducted bus tour around the Dublin area. The tour guide was brilliant. He played the part of the stereotypical Irishman, had the passengers in fits of laughter, and cleaned up on ‘tips’. At a lunch stop one of my Scandinavian colleagues asked my what a Limerick was. I replied that he was unlikely to understand a Limerick as they were usually based on a play on words and were invariably rude. However to demonstrate, I told him the few that I could remember (courtesy of ‘The New Oxford Book Of Light Verse’):
When Titian was grinding rose madder
His model was posed on a ladder
Her position to Titian
So he dashed up the ladder and had her.
There was a young Fellow of King’s
Who cared not for whores and such things:
His height of desire
Was a boy in the choir
With a bum like a jelly on springs.
On the flight back home I made up a Limerick for the ‘Standards Group’:
Writing a Standard for CEN
Requires at least twenty men
Five to propose
What five can oppose
And ten to contradict them.