A funny personalised poem can be a great gift for a friend or relative on his or her birthday - as long as the recipient has a good sense of humour. (If the celebrant does not appreciate jokes, then you will probably want to consider a different gift). If you decide to try writing a funny birthday poem, here are some tips to help ensure your gift will be appreciated.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Think about the person for whom you are writing the poem. What can you say about the recipient that would be funny? Does this person have a particular habit or characteristic that she often laughs about? Have you shared a humorous experience with this person that he would enjoy reliving? Does your friend have a good sense of humour about the fact that he is getting older? Make a list of possibilities.
Decide on the topic of your poem using the list you have made. Although it can be tempting to just choose the topic that you think is funniest, or that other people might laugh hardest at, it is important to choose a topic that the recipient will find funny as well.
Decide on the form that you want your poem to take. Some poetic forms are funnier than others. For example, rhyming poems - especially if some of the rhymes are unexpected - are generally funnier than poems that do not rhyme. Limericks, which are humorous five line poems, are relatively easy to write and thus can be an ideal format to try if you are new to writing funny poems. They follow a specific rhyming pattern, known as AABBA: the first, second and fifth lines rhyme with one another and each have seven to ten syllables, while the third and fourth lines rhyme with each other and each have five to seven syllables.
Start by writing an opening line. Make sure it ends with a word that will be easy to rhyme. Many limericks begin by describing the person they are about, so you can try something like, "There once was a man named ," or "There once was a woman from ."
Come up with your rhyming words first. You can then build the rest of the poem around them. If you have difficulty, try using a website that finds rhymes for entered words.
Use truth as well as humour. If you make up something outlandish for comedic effect, be sure to base it in fact, or it will not make sense to your subject.
Use literary techniques to increase the humour of your poem. Exaggeration, amusing word choices and the element of surprise can all make a poem on a funny topic even funnier.
Once your poem is complete, read it aloud to make sure it works rhythmically. If any of the lines sound strange or jarring, try substituting shorter or longer synonyms for some words until it flows better.
Writing your poem
Tips and warnings
- As an example, a poem like the one below may work well for an older male relative or friend from eastern Scotland who enjoys telling risqué jokes:
- There was an old man from Dundee
- Whose punchlines none could foresee.
- As he got ever older
- His jokes got much bolder
- Until he had to go wee.
- Know your audience. If the person celebrating a birthday does not like to be mocked, find your humour in shared experiences instead.
- Keep in mind that your funny birthday poem may be better appreciated if it is written in a card rather than read aloud at a party. The recipient can then decide for herself if she would like to share it with others.
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