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Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The 2008 Groundhog Awards: Winning Limericks

Better late than never!

From the Master of Ceremonies

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your patience with the judge, your humble blogger, while he took a few unscheduled days off from blogging to have a life. I am now ready to announce winners in the 2008 LocalCommentary.com Groundhog Day (Observed) Limerick Contest, or 8LGD(O)LC, for short.

The entries this year were numerous and delightful, and the quality was surprisingly high from top to bottom, with a lot of fine limericks clustered right near the top. They have wit. They have edge. They have insight. Some came with titles, some even with historical or political footnotes. One of them came in two versions, one for public consumption and one for my private appreciation (which reportedly led to its author's spouse giving birth to a full-grown female beef). Some of the limericks are erudite, some plain-spoken. They came from published poets and writers and gifted artists and musicians, and from otherwise ordinary people whose bosses probably thought they were working. Among these literary adventurers, it was an actual poet who rhymed "Ahmadinejad," as you will see below. I am in awe.

I thank all who entered. Some will have their efforts published here; others will not -- but rewarded or not, limerick-writing is good for the soul. If I were a huggy person, we would now have a big (virtual) group hug. Since I'm not a huggy person, shall we have some limericks instead?

On second thought, first a story. I happened to be engaged as a substitute lecturer in a freshman survey of literature last week at a post-secondary institution in the area. It was a three-hour evening class, and it was the first night of a unit on poetry. When we came to the end of the regular teacher's lesson plan, and I had already used up a bit of extra Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson I had prepared, we read and analyzed some of these limerick contest entries. The audience -- I mean the class -- loved them.

I have chosen more than one winning limerick in two of the categories, but the winning limericks are by three poets in all, each of whom receives a prize. One of last year's winners, Sam Beeson of American Fork, figures prominently here, along with a couple of new entrants (who happen to be married to each other).

American Fork: First Place

We can boast, we can yell, we can call!
We can sing, "A.F. High's best of all!"
   But deep in our hearts
   We ain't got the smarts,
'Cause our mascot's a Neanderthal.

Sam Beeson, American Fork, Utah

American Fork: Honorable Mention

Marching bands think they've all made the grade,
When crowds clap for a song that they've played.
   But you know your band's made it
   When they have played it
In Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.

Christopher Carlson, Springville, Utah

Though the quest might be less than Homeric, a
Keen researcher of esoterica
   Might with relish go foragin'
   For the mainspring or origin
Of the moniker "Fork of America."

Marilyn Nielson, Provo, Utah

2008 Presidential Race: First Place (Tie)

Critics gripe with such glee---"Bush's chin is odd!
He's provincial! An oaf! Hardly been abroad!" --
   that they quite lose their heads!
   (But they don't wind up dead --
Grace not shown by their friend Ahmadinejad.)

Marilyn Nielson, Provo, Utah

In the great presidential campaign
Only those with the riches will reign.
   If McDonald's© gives money
   To anyone, honey,
You can guess they'll McSponsor McCain.

Sam Beeson, American Fork, Utah

2008 President Race: Honorable Mention

Party A tries to pull him one way.
Party B discounts all that they say.
   But both he despises,
   When he realizes
They're two wings of the same bird of prey.

Christopher Carlson, Springville, Utah

As Republicans watch them on cable,
The candidates step to the table.
   We look with disdain
   At the gloating McCain
And wonder, Where is McAbel?

Rose Marie Taylor

Consider the case of Obama.
His campaign's a grammatical drama,
   For his clauses, while myriad,
   Put no doubt-ending period
To questions, but more of a comma.

Marilyn Nielson, Provo, Utah

"Mitt's-too-clever-by-half" complaints hover.
"He's too perfect!"-- But if we discover
   Iran's "peaceful intent"
   Was not lit'rally meant
We won't mind a "beyond-and-above"-er.

Marilyn Nielson, Provo, Utah

Groundhog Day: First Place (Tie)

In a world full of terror and treason
It is hard to find wisdom or reason
   Why we laugh or we cry,
   When we fully rely
On a groundhog to tell us the season.

Sam Beeson, American Fork, Utah

No Groundhogs Need Apply

The shadow-seer tale came from Germany
But was not necessarily vermin-y.
   So when Candlemas* fell,
   Even badgers could tell
When there'd be met'rological harmony.

(* German holiday from which Groundhog Day was derived)

Sam Nielson, Provo, Utah

Reasons for Relish in a Groundhog's Pessimism

Long cold winters inflame the irascible;
Make post-rodent eclipses less passable.
   Yet I personally dread
   The congestion-filled head
That renders spring's coming "alas"-able.

Sam Nielson, Provo, Utah

Though the ordin'ry groundhog's not brawny,
Ere winter's cruel weather is gone, he
   Finds holes mausolean.
   Can you blame him for bein'
Resentful of Phil Punxsutawney?

Marilyn Nielson, Provo, Utah

(Due to the unusually large population of winning limericks, there is no honorable mention in the Groundhog Day category.)

Parting Thoughts

Folks, the bar is set pretty high for next year's contest. Let's have a big round of <applause>applause</applause> for all our poets.

See you next year.

Please note: No striking Hollywood scriptwriters were employed in the making of this program.

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