There's some OEDILF goings-on I thought might interest you and yet another question I was unable to answer. (You might want to grab a cup of coffee. This is going to take a while.)
New member DAB submitted the following for the word "bishop":
Bishop Tutu toot-tooted at Crewe
His own 2 o'clock Tutu to-do.
Aware he loved trains,
Bemused drivers took pains
To toot-toot Tutu, too, to 2:02.
In his Author's Note, he included the well-earned boast:
This is probably the first limerick ever written that includes a wholly comprehensible line in which all nine syllables are essentially identical when they are spoken.
I can't verify this for a fact (and anyone knowing of another limerick achieving this unusual feat, please let me know) but I can state without question that it struck me as an interesting challenge. At sometime around 3 or 4 in the morning when most rational people are asleep, I was struggling to match DAB's achievement. I finally came up with a limerick on "aye-aye" (my second on that odd animal, strangely enough) as follows:
Rick Ricardo was flustered to spy
Madagascar's famed lemur while high.
To the Navy he'd bonded
So when asked, he responded,
"I eye aye-aye? I? Aye! (Ay-yi-yi!)"
OK, now, I'm not claiming this is great literature. It's not. It's a gimmick piece but I think the gimmick works nicely. I liked it and DAB seemed to be impressed so I was happy enough, but then things began to get odd.
As a newcomer, DAB cannot workshop the writing of other people just yet but he emailed me some feedback. Part of his suggested version dropped the "Rick Ricardo" in favor of "a poor sailor" to support the "Aye" in line 5. That was all well and good but I liked having that name in there since it set up the "(Ay-yi-yi)" at the end. This would have been just another case of one person's suggestion being welcomed although not implemented but then something in the way he talked about why he went with "a poor sailor" implied to me that possibly he had missed my reference to Ricky Ricardo from the old "I Love Lucy" show.
I emailed back and this turned out to be exactly the case. It turns out that DAB was born and raised in South Africa and has spent the last 10 years or so living in England and Wales. In the U.S., the name "Ricky Ricardo" might be totally recognizable to 99% of all Americans over the age of, say, 35 or so. The show ran in the late 1950s but the reruns are still being shown. In the U.S., that is. DAB had no idea of who I was talking about.
And here's where is really gets odd. He was familiar, however, with Ricky's catchphrase "Ay-yi-yi." As he emailed me:
The interesting part is that in South Africa, the rural Xhosas (and almost certainly the Zulus too, who also belong to the Nguni group) have used the expression 'Ay-yi-yi' since time immemorial. It's meaning is approximately: Oh, God! Now we've got a huge problem or Oh, God! Now you've been dumb). It has been borrowed by white South Africans to mean exactly the same thing.
This is what I thought you'd find interesting and it's also what led to the question I couldn't answer. Is there some way of looking up the etymology of "Ay-yi-yi"?? I think it's entirely possible that it came from Africa (the slave trade of the 17th-19th centuries would be a prime suspect) to Cuba to Desi Arnaz and finally to the U.S. via "I Love Lucy."
Also, if anyone else would like to take up this same limerick challange, feel free. DAB just today emailed me a limerick with the same word used nine times in a logical and grammatically correct construction. The word is "had" but the line is not a retelling of that famous puzzler involving the grammar test where the answer is "I had had, 'had had' etc."
Now that I've seen what you can do with an aye-aye, I'm affraid to ask what you might do with a dik-dik.
I might be able to think about this rationally once I stop laughing - in a week or so.
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
Or a Dou dou (the name for any kind of bug in Kiswahili - though I'm not sure of the spelling)
I'll take the challenge.
When none of the toilets were free,
Poor Pee-Wee considered a tree.
"If people can see
Me then do," pondered Pee-
Wee, "we wee-wee? Oui-oui! We wee-wee!"
(Sorry about the stress shifts in the last line.)
Excellent Virge, though I think that to have the first line, "In France, where no toilets are free," would set up the "oui-oui" in L5 better.
Which do you say:
. . . .--I had good grades before I went to college.
. . . .--I had had good grades before I went to college.
If you're a student, the answer is that you say whichever your professor prefers, even if it's inferior.
That is the lesson of this verse:
Had had "had had". "Had had" had had "had"
Surpassed in effect.
Nonethess, I suspect
The professor deemed John's effort bad.
*watches Hic raise the bar by 33%*
This challenge reminds me of a French phrase I heard many years ago (in school). It was about a worm (ver) and green (verre) glass (vert). Unfortunately it's a very vague memory.
Le ver vert va vers le verre vert. -- The green worm is going to the green glass.
That's the one. Thanks neveu.
Very interesting. I tried all the online sites I know to see if I could find the etymology, but I couldn't. Anyone?
As far as the specialty limericks, I have a hard enough time with regular limericks!