It’s Limerick Time!

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.)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Chris Helzer. Bookmark the permalink.

About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.

39 thoughts on “It’s Limerick Time!

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. “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.

  11. 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!“

  12. 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

  13. Tall grasses flowers and birds
    Inspire so many words
    Bees buzz about
    The critters come out
    It’s a place for us natural nerds

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. 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.

  22. Pingback: Prairie Limericks By You (Easiest Post I Ever Wrote) | The Prairie Ecologist

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