Sunday, August 28, 2005


Limericks are the bottom-feeders of the poetry world. Simply structured and often profane, good limericks are like all great Filthy Literature: you know ’em when you see ’em.

When I was newly graduated from college, my Dad gave me a great and prodigious gift - a book entitled The Limerick, by one Gershon Legman. Mr. Legman, it seems, has made it his unique Scholarly Endeavor to study Matters Sexual and Scatological. He has written several tomes examining the institution of the Filthy Joke, and his landmark collection of limericks contains over 1,732 individual poems, all of them hair-raisingly obscene.

Most great limericks are written in English, but occasionally you will find one in other languages, where they are more of a curiosity than they are Works of Quality.

Except for this one, created 12 years ago by my friend Harris. It may well be the only limerick written in Hebrew, and it is definitely a Work of Quality.

I will provide it here, for the delectation of my friends and Esteemed Readers who are familiar with the lashon kodesh (here, appallingly misused):

V’hayah ish u-sh’mo Nachum,
V’hu lo hayah talmid chacham.
Hu m’tzacheik im ha-beitzim,
U-shalakh chazak eitzel ha-eitzim.
V’anachnu omrim, “Eil malei rachamim.”

[English translation is provided in the Comments.]

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