The Flying Trapeze


My recent Writing Group prompt proved rather challenging; involving both a genre in which I’m not adept as well as a topic that sadly holds little interest. 

The topic was circus and more on that later. The genre was a limerick – although I enjoy composing some for a laugh after dinner, I’ve never seriously tried to write any. 

My first port of call was ever reliable google and helpfully I discovered the basic principles of limericks; the first, second and fifth line have the same number of syllables (approx 7 -10) and rhyme, whilst the third and fourth rhyme but have fewer syllables (4-6). As often happens one site led to another and soon I became engrossed in the history of limericks, which came from Ireland but are thought to have originated in France and first appeared in England in the Middle Ages. To read more about limericks click here.

Circuses never held any fascination for me and way before the current spate of scary clowns, I’ve always found clowns frightening. On top of that I worried about the exploitation of animals which meant I have never been to a circus. However, I would be thrilled to witness the exploits of acrobats and trapeze artists, such as the ones in the limerick below – hopefully under far less eventful circumstances!

On writing my limerick I approached it from the story first and sketched this out. Quickly I realised this would not be one or even two limericks, rather an epic limerick or perhaps more accurately a poem with limerick verses. After endless revisions, tapping out the syllables repeatedly, this was my contribution – I hope you enjoy it. 

I surprised myself by have an absolute ball writing the limerick and ‘perfecting’ it – just proving that it’s always good to write outside one’s comfort zone. You never know what will emerge!


The Flying Trapeze

The man on the flying trapeze

He felt just a little unease

The girl he had missed

The Earth she had kissed

And died of a fatal disease.


He now had death on his hands

Which he did not understand

Had he been tricked?

Had he been picked?

As part of somebody’s plan.


In a seat in the back of the tent

Sat the person who had the intent

So pleased that their dream

Achieved by their scheme

She smiled, gave a laugh and then went.


The cause of the sudden demise

Was about her increase in size

She’d put on weight

And in that state

Her future was not a surprise.


A justified lesson would be taught

The ultimate revenge must be sought

She who took her place

Would fall on her face

And the culprit would never be caught.


To ensure there would be no scandal 

She took wax from an old church candle

For her anger to cease

She applied candle grease

All along the long trapeze handle.


The man on the flying trapeze 

Had failed in his innocence pleas

He’s now serving time

Without reason or rhyme 

And spends all his time on his knees.

© Annika Perry

72 thoughts on “The Flying Trapeze

  1. Hi – so glad to have found your. Blog through restless jo!
    I have been peeking around your blog and this post is my fav so far.
    I have an old children’s book on limericks and it is a keeper – I can see how your exploring led to so many trails and your trapeze poem came out wonderful.

    1. Thank you so much for visiting and browsing around my blog. So glad you liked this limerick story – they are such fun and this was a delight (though at times crazy) joy to create. Your children’s limerick book sounds very special and as such should definitely be treasured!

  2. Great limerick…. Not only you nailed the poetic form: but you told a story… and it is a good one, which includes love, dissapointment, ironic twists and revenge…. Love it!.
    Wishing you well, dear Annika…. 😀

    1. Ahh…thank you so much for your warm and kind comment – my heart is glowing now! 😀 I am so glad you liked the limerick and can see everything I was trying to achieve with it – I really do like coming up with story ideas! Wishing you a lovely weekend. 😀

  3. Oh, I loved your limerick Annika. Beautifully done. And you’re right, it’s so much fun to write outside our usual comfort zone. You painted quite a picture here.

    1. Thank you so much, Miriam – I had such a visual imagine in my head of the three trapeze artists, the cirucs etc I spent ages looking for something that resembled it. This exercise has definitely given me the taste for spreading my writing challenges and I’m now looking out for more opportunities. Wishing you a very special weekend, Miriam. 😀

  4. Haha…love your ‘epic’ limerick Annika! The only ones I know are quite rude lol 😀 I can really feel the fun you had writing this and sense that once you got started, the words, story and rythym had you in their easy flow grip. Very well done my friend, very enjoyable, loved the ending. And I’m with you, circuses worry me and as for clowns, they’ve always scared me…even more so now with this crazy evil crown phase, which hopefully will soon disappear. These days though, it seems anything can happen…say no more! xxxx

    1. I know, as if people weren’t scared enough of clowns before all this! So glad you enjoyed the limerick and you’re right it was a matter of getting into the rhythm of it particularly. Even then when it sounded right the syllable count was just slightly off…lot of maddening fun! My mind is boggling as to the rude limericks you know! 😀 I’ve obviously got a lot to learn!

    1. Thank you, Lana! 😀 I love stories so thought why not weave that together with a longer limerick piece – my original plan had been quite longer but my mind was going rhyme/syllable crazy!

  5. Anonymous

    Love this Annika. I’ve only ever seen limericks in the single verse form before, but you’ve pulled off a complete limerick poem. And such a sad but amusing story to boot.
    Very well done indeed. Any chance of another one?

    1. Haha! 😀 Mike, although I this was so much fun I do love prose writing and look forward to returning to that – much easier!! Oh, a bit of tragicomedy always works well and even more so in limericks.

    1. Jacqui, I could just imagine you writing limericks! They are such fun, hysterically so at times when trying to get just the right number of syllables – it is very different from just sitting around a table making them up to preparing one to read aloud in front of non-family members!😀

  6. What a great limerick–er, poem with limerick verses 🙂 I always find it a great learning experience to venture outside my comfort zone. After the initial “oh my gosh I can’t do this” reaction, of course! Thanks for sharing, Annika!

    1. Julie, oh, yes there was definitely a “oh my gosh I can’t do this” moment, which spread into many such moments and days. It even got to the stage where I considered contacting another writer on the group who has made writing limericks into an art form! I thought this might be ‘cheating’ so buckled down and so glad I did in the end. A totally different method from short story / longer fiction writing.

    1. Diana, I’m known for not being able to keep any piece of writing short – Christmas/birthday cards always adorned with an ‘essay’ as my family call my words. There was no chance I’d be able to stick to just five lines – so much to tell…alas no room/effort left for the alternative additional ending I’d planned!

    1. It’s odd with limericks that they initially strike fear into the novice limerick writer but quickly the fun element takes over – for me I loved the freedom and opportunity to be a bit wacky! Wow, I’m impressed you had such a forward thinking teacher to suggest writing limericks! Kudos to him/her.

    1. Russ
      I’m glad that you seem like a fan
      And I did it the best that I can
      It took a long time
      To make the words rhyme
      But now I’m finding it exceedingly difficult at this early in the morning to make the sounds scan! 😀😃

    1. Thank you so much, Bette! 😀 I think you’ve written about limericks before and the benefits of the fun of word play, rhythm and rhyme and I kept trying to keep the limerick’s playful nature in mind – mostly worked! 😀

    1. Ah, David, the happy ending? I’m afraid there is not much hope of one here…although I had written an eighth verse with an alternative ending with the ‘spurned woman in the clink’. Got slightly confusing…thank you so much for your comment.😀

    1. Ahh…many thanks, Kathy. I must say I was surprised how much fun it was writing this and then I enjoyed the constant re-working. It’s a laugh when you can get by with being quite mad and not totally logical and sensible!

    1. JC, I don’t know what it is about me but I often go the tragic route on my short stories…my initial idea was even more involved and tragic but my rhyming head lost the plot after 8 stanzas (then cut to 7). Nope, I’ve never written any before but made up lots for fun!

  7. delphini510

    Fantastic Annika. This is really quite a tragic story and yet
    I can’t help but smiling. Limerick obviously has this hidden ingredient.:))
    You go girl, a new genre to add to your reportoire.

    1. Mirja, many thanks for your lovely comment. 😀 I’m not sure about adding this to my repertoire permanently – I don’t think I’ve worked and re-worked on a piece so much before! It is fun to be so tragic and funny at the same time – a real hoot – the freedom an unexpected joy!

    1. Thank you so much, Jill – after the positive reaction of my writing group I dared share it here…if they had been half-hearted about my piece I’d probably have chickened out! Hope you’re having a lovely Saturday. 😀

    1. Pete, thank you so much for your great comment! 😀 So glad you liked the limerick – after my initial dread it was a joy to write, and re-write…My initial story plan was even more convoluted and crazy but had to drop that!

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