Style Invitational Week 1502: It’s Hi- time for Limerixicon XIX
Write a limerick featuring a word or name beginning with ‘hi-.’ Plus winning poems that misuse words.

By Pat Myers

August 18, 2022 at 9:31 a.m. EDT

Click here to skip down to the poems with misused words

My doorman will never say HI.
He won’t even look in my eye.
Why’s he wishing me dead?
Was it something I said?
(Hm, my anti-tip stance could be why ...)

As we have every August since 2004, when his life’s work was a wee little dictionary-baby, we check in once again with limerick impresario Chris Strolin and his quest to create a full English dictionary with every entry in limerick form, one letter at a time. With more than 115,000 five-liners, from thousands of writers, approved for inclusion, Chris currently estimates the finish date for at Nov. 3, 2063 (a couple of years from last year’s projection). And for the third year running, our 19th sliver of the dictionary is still in the H’s. This week: Supply a humorous, previously unpublished limerick significantly featuring any word, name or term beginning with “hi-,” as in the example above by Our Bob Staake, who’s been taking it upon himself to contribute the zamples these days. By “significantly,” we mean that “him” or “his” won’t count as the word unless your limerick focused on that word — if it were about gender, or using pronouns, for example.

Please see our guide “Get Your ’Rick Rolling” for our fairly strict rules on limerick rhyme and meter (in a nutshell: “perfect” rhyme, and a strong “hickory-dickory-dock” rhythm within Lines 1, 2 and 5; a “dickory-dock” in Lines 3 and 4; extra unaccented syllables on either side are fine). Read the example above out loud, with big accents on the accented syllables, and you’ll see what we mean. See about submitting limericks there, if you like, after this contest is over.

Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the web address). Deadline is Monday, Aug. 29; results appear Sept. 18 in print, Sept. 15 online.

Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives the handsome new book “The Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks,” which celebrates, with art-scholarly descriptions, some truly, um, memorable creations, such as “Mana Lisa” pictured here. Donated by Edward Gordon. (See this week’s Style Conversational for the Invite’s own World’s Worst Painting.)

Other runners-up win their choice of our “For Best Results, Pour Into Top End” Loser Mug or our “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, “A Small Jester of Appreciation” or “Close, but Ceci N’est Pas un Cigare.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at The headline “Bardy Har Har” is by Jesse Frankovich; Tom Witte wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at; “like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at; and follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.

The Style Conversational: The Empress’s weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. See this week’s at

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago ...

Bardy har har: Misused-word poems from Week 1498

In Week 1498 we asked for poems in which a word is used with a meaning it doesn’t really have — like “literary” describing someone who litters. In some poems below, the word works both with the faux meaning and the real one, like “flagellate” to hit with a flag.

4th place:

Betsy Ross, when she sewed those few yards,
Never dreamed it would be in the cards
That her stripes and bright stars
Would be used to give scars
And to flagellate Capitol guards. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

3rd place:

Hadn’t seen or heard from my daughter dear,
Nor on social media, for nearly a year,
So her post of a baby hit with a bam –
Just like that, voilà! I’m an instagram! (Jeff Rackow, Bethesda, Md.)

2nd place

and the desktop woodpecker toy:

At cursing, I’m not slow,
I answer to the call:
Six languages I know —
I’m effluent in all! (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:

Just think: If at our nation’s birth
The views of QAnon abounded,
We’d have to teach our children how
Our country was dumbfounded. (Bob Kruger, Rockville, Md.)

English muffin’: Honorable mentions

I caught a whiff of peppermint
Or was it wintergreen?
Coming from the piggy bank
I gave my daughter Jean.
“What are Altoids doing here
Inside your piggy, honey?”
“Don’t you see,” she grinned and said,
“I’m minting my own money.” (Fran Ludman, Baltimore)

Queer animals? What a surprise!
Who knew how a bird or beast yearns?
But musing I soon realize
I don’t know just how one discerns
If birds on the beach are two guys
Or hetero mating cisterns. (Terri Berg Smith, Rockville, Md.)

When Clapton played the sitar, he was awful, nothing less.
The notes he played all seemed to come out wrong.
The strings were tuned improperly, his picking was a mess.
He couldn’t get the tempo of the song.
His teacher said, “My ears can’t take another second of this racket,
Your playing is abysmal, I’m not bluffin’.
Go back to playing blues, because the sitar, you can’t hack it,
I beg you, sir, to quit the raga-muffin’.” (Mark Raffman)

The bride-to-be, distraught and sad,
Lamenting her father’s estrangement,
To walk the aisle, put out an ad,
To seek a Pa-rental arrangement. (Mark Raffman)

Cucumbers crunchy,
Celery munchy,
Pass the asparagus, carrots and peas!
I’m not that cool
With the kids at my school,
But I think it’s rad-ish to eat what you please. (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)

Captain thought the coast was clear;
First mate thought the same.
When the torpedo hit the ship
Subconscious they became. (Tom Rymsza, Chambersburg, Pa., a First Offender)

The puppy ate my Visa bill
Before I’d read a word.
Consequently, I can’t say
What charges were incurred. (John Glenn, Tyler, Tex.)

In selecting the hit man to whack Jimmy Hoffa,
The Mafia don chose his very best offer. (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

My problem with comedians
Whose schtick is more slapstick than subtle
Is when they are done, if I LMAO,
Then I have to leave time for rebuttal. (Bob Kruger)

The cruise ship’s crew was loath to speak
When a voyage was aborted.
Truth is, the ship had sprung a leak.
Clearly, it had to be reported. (John Glenn)

I know a guy from Baltimore
Who throws his trash right on the floor.
When driving, either near or far,
He chucks his empties from the car.
It's very plain to see: this man
Has no use for a garbage can.
He's messy, selfish, thoughtless, rude;
He's quite a literary dude! (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

Here’s a novel production I’ve planned:
“Mr. Ed” on the stage! Could be grand!
But we’ll need a good start,
So the star learns his part,
Or this horseplay could get out of hand. (Mark Raffman)

The rabbit was trying to quiet its breath
To avoid a swift, toothy and scarlet-furred death
(The foxes are hunting today).
It poised, tensed, on the landscape of shelterless rocks,
While there, close beside, the still unseeing fox
Was only a hare’s-breath away. (Daniel Galef, Tallahassee, Fla.)

The Chinese leader’s book of quotes
Is, unlike Mao’s, not red.
Instead, it’s titled cleverly;
It reads: “That’s What Xi Said.” (Kevin Ahern, Corvallis, Ore.)

I got a second mortgage from my local Utah bank.
They lent me twenty thousand that I turned around and sank
Into the finest cheese shop that my city’s ever known —
Something I could not have done without that Provolone. (Chris Doyle)

They’d munched the Tree of Knowledge food,
Said Eve and Adam, “Whoa, we’re nude!”
They gave their loins discreet fig-leafing—
The very first to get a briefing. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

I still can recall how I shuddered and shivered
As they asked me, “Delivered?” when I placed my call.
I answered, “Of course I want pizza delivered –
But why would you put liver on it at all?” (Marcus Bales, Elyria, Ohio)

When I was a babe in my high chair
Getting fed, a bad habit I had
They said I would always spit out all the fruit
All over my dear old Dad.
And that’s why he fed me outside,
So the carpet he'd not need to guard;
My brother still swears that the day that Dad died,
I berried him in the backyard. (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

When I asked my coworker, solicitous,
“Would you like me to help?” “That’s felicitous,”
She replied somewhat greedily,
“Copy all of these, speedily!”
Then I saw she was being duplicitous. (Frank Osen)

The former prez, with snarling face,
Said, “Who would bother trying?
The press can’t shake my foil-hat base,
Which laps up my relying.” (Mark Raffman)

When you don’t know if someone’s “hello” was for you
There’s a widely used trick that can save
You both from embarrassment; barely respond
With an easily missed microwave. (Coleman Glenn, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.)

All men, as they age, amass midsection fat
(A beer belly, to be less formal).
You won’t catch me crunching to sculpt my obliques –
I’m happy just being abnormal. (Bob Kruger)

Bakery customer:
Ate lots of rye bread to
Free him from needs.
Later he queried so
“Shouldn’t they work, all those
Caraway seeds?” (Karen Lambert, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Wailed the drug mule, “This looks like goodbye!”
The gang told him he’d have to comply;
“Hide that much—how and where?”
They said, “Trust us, we swear,
This is nothing you can’t rectify.” (Frank Osen)

Look, shiftless Joe’s pushed out the door;
They’ve sent him off to join the Corps.
“Make him a leatherneck!” wrote Dad.
“I hope you’ll Marinate this lad.” (Duncan Stevens)

Can it save precious space? Yes, it’s able
But your meals might be slightly unstable
When it comes time to sup
Just hold on to your cup
While I pump up your new InflaTable. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

If anything falls onto or disrupts a power line,
The company’s new switches will help us do just fine.
The power will shut off so there cannot be a spark.
Instead of wildfires, folks will just be in the dark.
Entire towns and neighborhoods need not be affrighted
They may complain of lack of power, but they’ll safely be delighted. (Marli Melton, Carmel Valley, Calif.)

I hear there’s a new Galaxy phone;
They claim it ranks a 10.
But I just saw it and I’m afraid
It’s the Samsung all over again. (Kevin Ahern)

Every day on my company’s shuttle
We share some hash brownies – a perk;
Heavy traffic is never a problem
When we’re taking the highway to work. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

A feller once told me that pomes grow on trees.
He musta had some kinda mental disease!
I asked him, you mean like them pomes what is read?
He said yep! Feller ain’t got a brain in his head! (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

Oh my meat-loving dad liked to curse,
And at dinner it sometimes got worse.
When raw veggies were served
I have often observed
That the crudites flew in free verse. (Roy Ashley, Washington)

If your tailor fights change
It will mean aggravations
When you come for a fitting
You’ll get altercations. (Kevin Dopart)

Each morning, when I wake up, before putting on my makeup,
I stare into the mirror, and I groan.
For I’m looking at my preface, it’s my “Woe! Oh Woe Is Me!” face,
And I hate that it’s the only one I own.
There’s no doubting the foundation for this feeling of deflation,
But I’m trying hard to battle my dismay.
I just slather on the cream, and resist the urge to scream,
As I brace myself to face another day. (Stephen Gold, London)

Still running — deadline Monday night, Aug. 22: Our contest for unhelpful “acts of kindness. See

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Examples:(Bob Staake)
Title:(Jesse Frankovich)
Subhead:(Tom Witte)
Prize:(Edward Gordon)