Category Archives: English Limericks

গগনবেড় — Pelican

A limerick that cannot but remind you of Ogden Nash, was apparently not written by him. It seems to have been penned by yet another American, Dixon Lanier Merritt, in 1910. There are two versions of the poem.

Version 1.
A wonderful bird is the pelican.
His bill can hold more than his belican.
He can hold in his beak
Enough food for a week,
But I’m damned if I see how the helican.

Version 2.
A funny old bird is a pelican.
His beak can hold more than his belican.
Food for a week
He can hold in his beak,
But I don’t know how the helican.

Incidentally, I searched for other poems by Merritt, but could not locate a single one other than this one.

Produced below are two of my own Bengali adaptations of the limerick.

Version 1.

আজব পক্ষী বাবা পেলিক্যান
উদর চাইতে তর ঠোঁইট ক্যান
ধরে বেশি খাইদ্য?
শিবেরও অসাইধ্য
দেওন এ রহইস্যের ব্যাইখ্‌ক্যান।

Version 2.

গগনবেড় (পেলিক্যান)
গগনোবেড়, সে জাতে ক্রৌঞ্চ
উদর ছাপায়ে যার চৌঞ্চ
ধরে বেশি খাদ্য
বোঝে কার সাধ্য —
সে কি শুধু অলীকো প্রপৌঞ্চ ?


A crow I’m told’s a smart lil’ creecha

Which can master, all thachew teecha

Except for singing,

For by its upbringing,

A crow is supposed to caw excreetcha.

Inspired by Ogden Nash.


There was a Zimbabw’an with a zebra
Which he wailed didn’t know alzeebra
A subject he’d been taught
But with age he forgot
And couldn’t teach alzeebra to h’z zebra.


There was this old man stranded in an island
Who wanted to disappear inside his iPand
Which could hide, he said, all that he possessed
Except himself which made him feel offendessed
Lamented the old man with his iPand in the island.


I love you so, dear chimpanzees
I wish I lived as happily as thzees
High up on a lofty tree
Draped in leaves, lovely and free
In blissful ignorance of democrazies.

Lear Leer

There was a man who lived in a hospital in Coimbatore
He was at least hundred and ten and an improvisatore
And he recited mournful verses
For all his attending nurses
Till he drowned in her tears, each nurse there was, in Coimbatore.


Gator-Eater: A Limerick

Drawing by Argha Bagchi

It is best that you munch your gator
While atop a volcano’s crater
And if the gator tries to bite
Just let it slip without a fight
To be roasted and savoured later.