Somehow, there are more symbols of Ireland than there are of other European countries, and these symbols make for great funny Irish poems. France has the Eiffel Tower, and maybe a beret; Germany has the pointy WWI helmet; and England has those bushy beefeater hats and Big Ben. But Ireland, Ireland has a treasure trove of symbols, all perfect for funny Irish poems.
Leprechauns. Consider the legendary leprechaun. Think "Lucky Charms" to get the right image. Leprechauns are not so much about luck as about the fantasy of instant wealth. Leprechauns, two-foot-high cobblers (shoemakers), are cranky old fairy-men rumored to each own a "pot of gold." These tricky little guys have to give up their gold so long as you can keep them in your sights. But if you are tricked into looking away, the leprechaun vanishes.
Blarney. And talk about Blarney! Blarney is the Irish gift of persuasive gab. The best way to get it, according to legend and lore, is with a kiss of the Blarney Stone. The Blarney stone is set in the base of the Blarney Castle, in Blarney, Ireland. Many of us don't travel so far for this gift of gab and instead buy a bottle of it at the corner market.
Shamrocks. What would St. Patrick's Day be without a shamrock? You might think that a shamrock must have four leaves, but you'd be mistaken. While many people do believe that a four-leaf clover is particularly lucky, the official shamrock is the classic three-leaf variety. St. Patrick himself used the three-leaf shamrock to explain the trinity, somewhere during the 400s AD, while a missionary in what is now Northern Ireland. You have to wonder if he did his explaining at the pub, or if he had any inkling of the holiday that would evolve in his name.
Limericks. If you're thinking funny Irish poems, you're probably thinking limericks. But the truth is that the limerick form was first made popular in England because of the famous nonsense-writer, Edward Lear. However, a good funny Irish poem can always be written as a limerick or in any poetic form.
Fun. The most important element of a secular celebration of St. Patrick's Day is fun! (Yes, many Irish do attend church for this holiday. Really.) in addition to the parties, the food, the friends and the green beer, it's good to also include the pure free fun of funny Irish poems.
Happy St. Patrick Day to you!