Last year, I started what I hoped would become a long-running tradition on this blog: an annual prairie limerick challenge. I asked all of you to help me remember to do it again this year. Guess how many of you did so? Exactly none.
Despite that, I’m forging ahead with year two of the Prairie Limerick Challenge. Thank you to Pete’s Plants for once again sponsoring this event (see their ad at the bottom of this page).
Prairies, of course, are deserving of epic poems, or at least adoring sonnets – but who has the time to write those? Besides, prairies are among the most underappreciated, and even derided of ecosystems by snobs who think nature has to have towering trees or waterfalls in order to be beautiful. With that in mind, the limerick seems the perfect poetic form with which to celebrate prairies.
The rules of this challenge are simple. Write a limerick that has a prairie(ish?) theme and submit it below in the comments section of this post. I’ll select some of my favorites and highlight them in next week’s post. You have until midnight on December 1, 2019 to make your submission. Feel free to submit as many as you like.
Remember that limericks do have a particular format to them. This website might be helpful to those who are unsure of the ‘rules’ of limerick writing.
Here is an example limerick I wrote that might help get your creative juices flowing:
Some religions build churches with spires
And then worship with hymns sung by choirs
We build prairies from seeds
And then honor our deeds
With singing? Nope – big roaring fires
Or this one, which might be appreciated only by those who hang around with botanists:
A botanist out in the prairie
Once posed a most interesting query
He held out a flower
And asked with a glower
“Is that peduncle glabrous or hairy??”
I look forward to reading your submissions. Thanks in advance for your work!
(Sorry, everyone, Pete’s Plants is a fictional company. Mostly, I needed an excuse to use the “give Pete’s a chance” phrase.)
To wander, to pause, and to gaze
is considered by some to just laze.
But those who take time
will see prairies are fine —
they nourish, console, and amaze.
On days when the sunlight is waning,
And one’s very life force is draining,
Then get out on the prairie,
Let your heart be merry,
And maybe you’ll quit your complaining.
The prairie grass bends in the breeze,
And hosts rodents and birds and bees.
So please take good care,
For their future we bear,
Conservation is what we must seize!
Love this challenge! Thanks for remembering ! All those posted today are very clever, Pete’s included! Look forward to the work of those creative souls that will take on the challenge.
What is a Prairie?
Nothing Big on a Prairie?
But wait, as I get out of my car.
The color, ever changing, is everywhere on the Prairie
The silence is deafening out here on the Prairie,
Then, the birds, the buzzing of bugs and maybe a distant mammal.
Ah, there is a fragrance out here on the prairie
Get down on your knees and there is much more
Wow, there is so much to see, hear and smell out here on the Prairie
Me and my nose and the ants
Never mind the dirty knees on my pants
The heck with the laundry
or the laughs from all and sundry
Just let me commune with the plants
Ahhhh, U know the feeling
with soul healing
be careful though when reeling!
great reply! could almost be a haiku.
Cerrado, Savannah or Prairie
Tall grass or short grass or varied
With the rodents and birds
And the great mammal herds
Make an ecosystem extraordinair-e
My choice for winner!
Oh thank you!
There’s not a cloud in the sky
She said with a cry
But its glorious hue
It is azure blue
As the rusty patch bumblebee flew by
Does Petes Plants, have a website? There is no link.
Sorry, no. It’s a fictional company. It’s kind of an inside joke, but I’ll edit the post to make that more clear.
A short time lived in the fecal
Killed! Then impaled by a needle
Just follow that herd
And look close at the turds
Such is the life for the common dung beetle
When wearied by all life’s demands
The wise among us understand
It’s easy to capture
A moment of rapture
By seeking the nearest grasslands
**I take no credit for these gems- that belongs to my father in-law Greg.
Remnant prairies are something to treasure
For thousands of years they have bought people pleasure
But politicians with a pen
Can bring them to an end
SO VOTE AS A COUNTERMEASURE!
Aldo and Gaylord and Sven
Were considered heroes among common men.
“Sven who?” Did you say?
You fell victim today
To a knock-knock that flowed from my pen.
“You don’t know what you’ve got til its gone”
Was made famous by Joni Mitchell in song
So heed her advice
Not just once or just twice
But instead make care of prairies lifelong.
An Eastern Meadowlark had nowhere to land
Her migration wasn’t going according to plan
Just then she spotted a prairie
as things were getting hairy
She exclaimed “thank god humans are beginning to understand!“
It’s not mostly about prairies, but I have an anthology called The Echoing Green: Poems of Fields, Meadows, and Grasses
While turkey-foot tickles the sky,
the little blue pleases the eye.
But the fine bushy bluestem
can bring forth an “Amen!”
when sending its fluff off to fly.
This makes a lovely picture!
On the prairie the grasses do blow
It’s a place that we’ll never mow
Flowers will bloom
There is so much room
For sparrows, meadowlark and crow
Tall grasses flowers and birds
Inspire so many words
Bees buzz about
The critters come out
It’s a place for us natural nerds
Prairie grasses blow in the breeze
In winter small ponds rend to freeze
Flowers burst out
We sing and shout
For birds all the critters and bees
Tend to freeze
Finally….I drove across Kansas today and had a lot of time and inspiration.
The prairie is covered with grass
It almost comes up to my ass
There are birds mice and bees
Not many trees
It’s not a good place for this lass
From my colleague Craig, about us girls doing grassland surveys in Australia….
Grassland botanists have occasionally signified
That one tends to be somewhat more dignified
When approaches the hour
To shake the dew from one’s flower
If a botanical screen is more lignified
truly the wittiest limerick!
The deep loamy soil has a taste
A palate for all things there placed
Buried roots, sticks, stones
And buffalo bones
Below not a thing goes to waste
While bison look small in the prairie
Up close they can be much more scary
So stay in your truck
And don’t test your luck
Keep your eyes peeled and always be wary
A trillion seeds in search of bare soil
Only to find that thatch is their foil
Transported over coulee and slough
Hoping to be the fortunate few
Lucky to land on the gopher’s moil
Ooooh, I like your limrick!
To the faithful steward of the land
Work in the prairie is always in demand
With various species big and small
Flying, rooting, and on the crawl
Calloused hands can make it grand
Darkness falls upon my sheet
Keeping warm in the mercury vapor heat
Light casting out like a blaze
Drawing in critters that will amaze
Every new night is an unknown treat
Atop hills grasses . wave as the wind blows
I wonder what lessons this land knows
So across the prairie I wander
I observe and I ponder
And slowly but surely my wisdom grows
Picky pruners pull out frogfruit,
Defending its value, most moot.
The plant’s not a weed,
to Skippers it’s feed,
and food for the crawling cute newt.
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