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The Cosmological Constant
Limericks by Michael R. Burch
about Einstein, Relativity and other Weighty Matters ...

These are limericks I wrote about relativity, Einstein, Hawking, physics, science, nature, animals, sex, politics, religion, and various other subjects. Most qualify as light verse, humorous verse, and/or nonsense verse, but a few are more serious.

by Michael R. Burch

This famous limerick inspired a number of my limericks on this page:

There was a young lady named Bright
who traveled much faster than light.
She set out one day
in a relative way,
and came back the previous night.

I recently learned this poem was originally penned, in a slightly different version, by Arthur Henry Reginald Buller; his limerick appeared in Punch (Dec. 19, 1923). I find it intriguing that one of the best revelations of the weirdness and zaniness of relativity can be found in a limerick. I was inspired to pen multiple rejoinders:

The Cosmological Constant
by Michael R. Burch

Einstein, the frizzy-haired,
said E equals MC squared.
Thus all mass decreases
as activity ceases?
Not my mass, my ass declared!

Ass-tronomical
by Michael R. Burch

Relativity, the theorists’ creed,
says mass increases with speed.
My (m)ass grows when I sit it.
Mr. Einstein, get with it;
equate its deflation, I plead!

Time Out!
by Michael R. Burch

Hawking’s "Brief History of Time"
is such a relief! How sublime
that time, in reverse,
may un-write this verse
and un-spend my last thin dime!

Time Back In!
by Michael R. Burch

Hawking, who makes my head spin,
says time may flow backward. I grin,
imagining the surprise
in my mother's eyes
when I head for the womb once again!

Relative to Whom?
by Michael R. Burch

Einstein’s theory, incredibly silly,
says a relative grows, willy-nilly,
at speeds close to light.
Well, his relatives might,
but mine grow their (m)asses more stilly!

Relative-ly Speaking
by Michael R. Burch

Einstein’s theory is really quite silly—
it says masses increase, willy-nilly,
at speeds close to light.
Well, his relatives’ might,
but mine grow their (m)asses more stilly!

Relative Theory I
by Michael R. Burch

Einstein’s "relative" theory
says masses increase, all too clearly,
at speeds close to light.
Well, his relatives’ might,
but mine grow their m(asses) more stilly!

Relative Theory II
by Michael R. Burch

Einstein’s peculiar theory
excludes all my relatives, clearly,
since my relatives’ asses
increase their prone masses
while approaching light speed—not nearly!

Relative Theory III
by Michael R. Burch

Relativity, we’re led to believe,
proves masses increase with great speed.
But it seems my huge family
must be an anomaly;
since their (m)asses increase, gone to seed!



Some of my earliest limericks were nonsense verse about nature and animals:

Dot Spotted
by Michael R. Burch

There once was a leopardess, Dot,
who indignantly answered: "I’ll not!
The gents are impressed
with the way that I’m dressed.
I wouldn’t change even one spot!"

Clyde Lied!
by Michael R. Burch

There once was a mockingbird, Clyde,
who bragged of his prowess, but lied.
To his new wife he sighed,
"When again, gentle bride?"
"Nevermore!" bright-eyed Raven replied.

The Dromedary and the Very Work-Wary Canary
by Michael R. Burch

There once was a dromedary
who befriended a crafty canary.
Budgie said, "You can’t sing,
but now, here’s the thing—
just think of the tunes you can carry!"

The Mallard
by Michael R. Burch

The mallard is a fellow
whose lips are long and yellow
with which he, honking, kisses
his bawdy, boisterous mistress:
my pond’s their loud bordello!

The Platypus
by Michael R. Burch

The platypus, myopic,
is ungainly, not erotic.
His feet for bed
are over-webbed,
and what of his proboscis?

The platypus, though, is eager
although his means are meager.
His sight is poor;
perhaps he’ll score
with a passing duck or beaver.

The Pelican't
by Michael R. Burch

Enough with this pitiful pelican!
He’s awkward and stinks! Sense his smellican!
His beak's far too big,
so he eats like a pig,
and his breath reeks of fish, I can tellican!

Being a peace activist, I once wrote a limerick in an attempt to stop needless wars:

Of Tetley’s and V-2's
(or "Why Not to Bomb the Brits")
by Michael R. Burch

The English are very hospitable,
but tea-less, alas, they grow pitiable ...
or pitiless, rather,
and quite in a lather!
O bother, they're more than formidable.

I have even written a double limerick about writing limericks:

The Better Man
by Michael R. Burch
 
Dear Ed: I don’t understand why
you will publish this other guy—
when I’m brilliant, devoted,
one hell of a poet!
Yet you publish Anonymous. Fie!

Fie! A pox on your head if you favor
this poet who’s dubious, unsavor
y, inconsistent in texts,
no address (I checked!):
since he’s plagiarized Unknown, I’ll wager!

Here's another one for the poets:

The Beat Goes On (and On and On and On ...)
by Michael R. Burch

Bored stiff by his board-stiff attempts
at “meter,” I crossly concluded
I’d use each iamb
in lieu of a lamb,
bedtimes when I’m under-quaaluded.

Here's another one for the poets, or more correctly, two for Andrew Marvell in particular:

Marvell-Less (I)
by Michael R. Burch

Mr. Marvell was ill-named? Inform us!
Alas, his crude writings deform us:
for when trying to bed
chaste virgins, he led
off with his iron balls ginormous!

Marvell-Less (II)
by Michael R. Burch

Andrew Marvell was far less than Marvellous;
indeed, he was cold, bold, unchivalrous:
for when trying to bed
chased/chaste virgins, he led
off with his iron balls ginormous!

When reading the second version of the poem, the reader can select “chased” or “chaste” or read them together, quickly.

Low-T Hell
by Michael R. Burch

I’m living in low-T hell ...
My get-up has gone: Oh, swell!
I need to write checks
if I want to have sex,
and my love life depends on a gel!

The limerick has often been used for political purposes, and to expose, satirize and savage charlatans such as a certain orange-hued ex-president. When the subject of a limerick is that slimy, I have coined a new term for the resulting poetic form: the slime-erick or slimerick. Here are are some slimericks of mine:

The Hair Flap
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

The hair flap was truly a scare:
Trump’s bald as a billiard back there!
The whole nation laughed
At the state of his graft;
Now the man’s wigging out, so beware!

Stumped and Stomped by Trump
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

There once was a candidate, Trump,
whose message rang clear at the stump:
"Vote for me, wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!,
because I am ME,
and everyone else is a chump!"

Toupée or Not Toupée, That is the Question
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

There once was a brash billionaire
who couldn't afford decent hair.
Vexed voters agreed:
"We're a nation in need!"
But toupée the price, do we dare?

Toupée or Not Toupée, This is the Answer
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

Oh crap, we elected Trump prez!
Now he's Simon: we must do what he sez!
For if anyone thinks
And says his "plan" stinks,
He'll wig out 'neath that weird orange fez!

Viral Donald
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

Donald Trump is coronaviral:
his brain's in a downward spiral.
That pale nimbus of hair
proves there's nothing up there
but an empty skull, fluff and denial.

White as a Sheet
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

Donald Trump had a real Twitter Scare
then rushed off to fret, vent and share:
“How dare Bernie quote
what I just said and wrote?
Like Megyn he’s mean, cruel, unfair!”

Humpty Trumpty
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

Humpty Trumpty called for a wall.
Trumpty Dumpty had a great fall.
Now all the Grand Wizards
and Faux PR men
Can never put Trumpty together again.

15 Seconds
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

Our president’s sex life—atrocious!
His "briefings"—bizarre hocus-pocus!
Politics—a shell game!
My brief moment of fame
flashed by before Oprah could notice!

Trump’s Golden Rule
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

Donald Trump is the victim of leaks!
Golden showers are NOT things he seeks!
Though he dearly loves soaking
the women he’s groping,
get real, 'cause he pees ON the meek!

Is Trump the ANTICHRIST? When the Hebrew prophets spoke of "the Trump of Doom" and a "little horn" were they speaking literally? (For a YUGE slew of 666 connections, see Is Donald Trump the Antichrist?)

Baked Alaskan
by Michael R. Burch

There is a strange yokel so flirty
she makes whores seem icons of purity.
With all her winkin’ and blinkin’
Palin seems to be thinkin’—
"Ah culd save th’ free world ’cause ah’m purty!"

Copyright 2012 by Michael R. Burch
from Signs of the Apocalypse
all Rights and Violent Shudderings Reserved


Going Rogue in Rouge
by Michael R. Burch

It'll be hard to polish that apple
enough to make her seem palatable.
Though she's sweeter than Snapple
how can my mind grapple
with stupidity so nearly infallible?

Copyright 2012 by Michael R. Burch
from Signs of the Apocalypse
all Rights and Violent Shudderings Reserved


“Clintonian” or “Billistic?”
by Michael R. Burch

There is a new term, “Clintonian,”
which means, “Stop your bitchin’ and moanin’.
He’s only a man
doing all that he can
to put kneepads in the Smithsonian.”

Any Woozy Floozy Will Do
by Michael R. Burch

Once Kennedy, as we all know,
bedded a goddess, Monroe;
but a man of less mettle,
Bill Clinton will settle
for Lewinsky and a quick blow.

A Tale of Two Stiffies
by Michael R. Burch

There was an ex-candidate, Gore,
who amazed with his talent to bore.
“He was incredibly stiff,”
interns said, with a sniff,
“though not like his predecessor!”

Eerie Dearie

by Michael R. Burch

A trembling young auditor, white
as a sheet, like a ghost in the night,
saw his dreams, his career
in a poof!, disappear,
and then, strangely Enronic, his wife.

NOTE: Fortune named Enron "America's Most Innovative Company" for six consecutive years, but the company went bankrupt and vanished after its accounting practices were determined to be fraudulent.

There continue to be modern sequels of the famous "Nantucket" limericks, including this bawdy one of mine:

There was a lewd whore from Nantucket
who intended to pee in a bucket;
but being a man
she missed the damn can
and her rattled john fled, crying: "Fuck it!"
—Variation on a classic limerick by Michael R. Burch

Here are three "linked" Nantucket limericks of mine:

There was a coarse whore of Nantucket
whose bush needed someone to pluck it
’cause it looked like a chimp’s
and her johns were limp gimps
who were too scared to suck it or fuck it.

So that coarse, canny whore of Nantucket,
once muff-shaved, decided to shuck it
—that thick, wiry pelt
that smelled like wet felt—
and made it a toupee for Luckett.

Now Luckett, once bald as an eagle,
like Samson, stands handsome and regal
with hair to his ass
that smells like his lass,
but still comes when she calls, like a beagle.
—a triple limerick by Michael R. Burch

Here's another take on a golden oldie:

There was an old man from Peru
who dreamed he was eating his shoe.
He awoke one dark night
from a terrible fright
to discover his dream had come true!
—Variation on a classic limerick by Michael R. Burch

Here are some lewd, crude originals:

No Bull: a Double Limerick
by Michael R. Burch

There once was a multi-pierced Bull,
who found playing hoops far too dull,
so he dated Madonna
but observed, “I don’t wanna
get married ... the things she might pull!”

So this fast-thinking forward named Rodman
then said to his best man—“No problem!
When I marry Electra,
if the ring costs extra,
just yank a hoop right off my knob, man!”

Here's one about Iron Mike Tyson ...

A formidable pugilist, Mike,
in a fit of pique called his mom “Dyke.”
She frowned ear to ear,
then said, “You listen here,
I can still whip your butt, you dumb tyke!”
by Michael R. Burch

A cross-dressing dancer, “Dee Lite,”
wore gowns luciferously bright
till he washed them one day
the old-fashioned way ...
in bleach. Now he’s “Sister Off-White.”
by Michael R. Burch

There once was a bubbly bartender,
a transvestite who went on a bender.
“So I cut myself off,”
she cried with a sob,
“There’s the evidence, there in the blender!”
by Michael R. Burch

There once was a poet from Nashville
which hockey fans rechristened Smashville,
but his odd limericks
pulled so many weird tricks
his pale peers now prefer Ogden Gnashville.
Michael R. Burch

There once was a poet from Tennessee
who was known to indulge in straight Hennessey
for his heart had been broken
and cruelly ripped open
by an ice-hoarding Dame of Paree.
Michael R. Burch

There once was a girl with small boobs
who would only go out with young rubes,
but their dicks were too small
so she sentenced them all
to kissing her fallopian tubes.
Michael R. Burch

A coquettish young lady of France
longed to have lusty men in her pants,
but in lieu of real joys
she settled for boys,
then berated her lack of romance.
Michael R. Burch

A virginal lady of France
longed to have a ménage in her pants
but in lieu of real boys
she settled for toys
& painted pinkies to make her bits dance.
Michael R. Burch

A germane young German, a dame
with a quite unpronounceable name,
Frenched me a kiss;
I admonished her, "Miss,
you’ve left me twice tongue-tied, for shame!"
Michael R. Burch

Some limericks are pure nonsense verse:

The Vampire's Spa Day Dream
by Michael R. Burch

O, to swim in vats of blood!
I wish I could, I wish I could!
O, 'twould be
so heavenly
to swim in lovely vats of blood!

There was an old man from Peru
who dreamed he was eating his shoe.
He awoke one dark night
from a terrible fright
to discover his dream had come true!
—Variation on a classic limerick by Michael R. Burch

I have even written limericks about religion, casting doubt on Christianity and its grotesque "eternal hell" ...

Pell-Mell for Hell Mel
by Michael R. Burch

There once was a Baptist named Mel
who condemned all non-Christians to hell.
When he stood before God
he felt like a clod
to discover His Love couldn’t fail!

Why I Left the Religious Right
by Michael R. Burch

He's got Jesus's name on a wallet insert
and "Hell is for Queers" on the back of his shirt
and he upholds the Law,
for grace has a flaw:
the Church must have someone to drag through the dirt.

Hell to Pay
by Michael R. Burch

A messiah named Jesus, returning
from heaven, found his home planet burning
& with children unfed,
so he ventured: “Instead
of war, why not consider cheek-turning?”

Indignant right-wingers retorted:
“Sir, your pacifist views are distorted!
Just pull the plug quickly
on someone who’s sickly!
Our pursuit of war can’t be aborted!”

But alas! the world is unlikely to be saved by poets:

The Heimlich Limerick
by Michael R. Burch

for T. M.

The sanest of poets once wrote:
"Friend, why be a sheep or a goat?
Why follow the leader
or be a blind breeder?"
But almost no one took note.

At the time I wrote this one, I had been considering one of the universe's greatest ironies: the lack of rhyme words for "poetry" and "limerick." I almost solved the latter, but fell a bit short:

Shelved Elves
by Michael R. Burch

I wanted to rhyme with “limerick”
and settled on “good old Saint Slimmer Nick”
about a dieting Claus,
but drawing no “ahs!”
I glumly rescinded the trimmer trick.

At times I have distilled longer poems down to the approximate size of a limerick:

Dry Hump

by Michael R. Burch

You came to me as rain breaks on the desert
when every flower springs to life at once,
but joy's a wan illusion to the expert:
the Bedouin has learned how not to want.


While most limericks are humorous, the form has been adapted for more serious purposes. Here's a poem of mine that can be shared with anyone it might help . . .

Self Reflection
by Michael R. Burch

for anyone struggling with self-image

She has a comely form
and a smile that brightens her dorm . . .
but she’s grossly unthin
when seen from within;
soon an entire campus will mourn.

Yet she’d never once criticize
a friend for the size of her thighs.
Do unto others—
sisters and brothers?
Yes, but also ourselves, likewise.

This limerick-like poem of mine delves into literary criticism:

Caveat Spender
by Michael R. Burch

It's better not to speculate
"continually" on who is great.
Though relentless awe's
a Célèbre Cause,
please reserve some time for the contemplation
of the perils of
Exaggeration.

This limerick more or less sums up my approach to writing limericks:

Grave Thoughts
by Michael R. Burch

as a poet i’m rather subVerse-ive;
as a writer i much prefer Curse-ive.
and why not be brave
on my way to the grave
since i doubt that i’ll end up reHearse-ive?

NOTE: “Subversive,” “cursive” and “rehearse-ive” are double entendres: subversive/below verse, cursive/curse, rehearsed/recited and re-hearsed (reincarnated to end up in a hearse again).

Here are some more of my naughty, bawdy limericks:

Shotgun Bedding
by Michael R. Burch

A pedestrian pediatrician
set out on a dangerous mission;
though his child bride, Lolita,
was a sweet senorita,
her pa's shotgun cut off his emissions.



Related pages: Perfect Poems, The Best Sonnets, The Best Villanelles, The Best Ballads, The Best Sestinas, The Best Rondels and Roundels, The Best Kyrielles, The Best Couplets, The Best Quatrains, The Best Haiku, The Best Limericks, The Best Nonsense Verse, The Best Poems for Kids, The Best Light Verse, The Best Poem of All Time, The Best Poems Ever Written, The Best Poets, The Best of the Masters, The Most Popular Poems of All Time, The Best American Poetry, The Best Poetry Translations, The Best Ancient Greek Epigrams and Epitaphs, The Best Anglo-Saxon Riddles and Kennings, The Best Old English Poetry, The Best Lyric Poetry, The Best Free Verse, The Best Story Poems, The Best Narrative Poems, The Best Epic Poems, The Best Epigrams, The Most Beautiful Poems in the English Language, The Most Beautiful Lines in the English Language, The Most Beautiful Sonnets in the English Language, The Best Elegies, Dirges & Laments, The Best Poems about Death and Loss, The Best Holocaust Poetry, The Best Hiroshima Poetry, The Best Anti-War Poetry, The Best Religious Poetry, The Best Spiritual Poetry, The Best Heretical Poetry, The Best Thanksgiving Poems, The Best Autumnal Poems, The Best Fall/Autumn Poetry, The Best Dark Poetry, The Best Halloween Poetry, The Best Supernatural Poetry, The Best Dark Christmas Poems, The Best Vampire Poetry, The Best Love Poems, The Best Urdu Love Poetry, The Best Erotic Poems, The Best Romantic Poetry, The Best Love Songs, The Ten Greatest Poems Ever Written, The Greatest Movies of All Time, England's Greatest Artists, Visions of Beauty, What is Poetry?, The Best Abstract Poetry, The Best Antinatalist Poems and Prose, Early Poems: The Best Juvenilia, Human Perfection: Is It Possible?, The Best Book Titles of All Time, The Best Writing in the English Language, The Best Poems about Mothers, Poems for Children by Michael R. Burch

The HyperTexts