There once was a young man named Keith
Who screwed in the river of Lethe
“It’s a sure bet
That she’ll soon forget
Just who she’s gotten beneath.”
There once was a young girl named Kate
With whom Lachesis wanted to mate
But she died young
Without using her tongue
For it’s unwise to go tempting fate.
There once was a Norse god named Loki
Who occasionally liked to get cokey
He awoke in the bed
Of a drag queen named Fred
For services most assuredly not free.
Zeus came to Leda as a swan
(A mating from which Helen was spawn)
When asked how he’d did it
Or how she had fit it
She said he was less of a king than a pawn.
I think of Laius as crude
Begetting an odious brood
Who killed dad and the sphinx
Turned mum to his minx
And went on to influence Freud.
(True, the rhyme is a little off in this one but credit should be afforded for keeping a limerick involving Oedipus this clean.)
But, the worst tramp of all by far
Is that bitch goddess Loviator
She’ll give you diseases
As foul as she pleases
Often from the backseat of your car
Sometime back in September
Lord Leza sliced an inch off his member
“I know that the reason,
Has to do with the season
But I’m so stinking old that I can’t even think of a way to end this goddam limerick let alone explain what the hell I was thinking.”
The sex in Lesbos is steamy
But fellas better listen to me
The ladies will strip
If you adhere to my tip—
It helps if you wear a bikini.
Liber, the fertility god,
Had habits that seemed a bit odd
Women threw themselves at him
For his prowess was legend
But he seemed to prefer a cold cod.
Lilith liked to do it on top
Otherwise she’d tell Adam to stop
“Can’t just for a while
We try missionary style
And not use your black riding crop?”
(The real reason they were exiled from Eden.)
The Lotus-eaters were perfectly queer
Simple tasks took them over a year
They were so slow
It took an hour or so
For their image to show up in a mirror.
Lucina, the goddess of childbirth
Was blasphemed all over the earth.
For not just the pain
Or the urges insane
But for causing such increases in girth.
How shameless was Great God Lug
Who often gave his manhood a tug
Any size bust
Would so fill him with lust
That he’d thoroughly muck up the rug
When Legba was caught with a lie
No excuse was he unwilling to try
Once found with a goat
And freedom remote
He claimed it was just lint in his fly.
Lachesis (“drawer of lots”): one of the three Fates, who controlled the destinies of each person. Lachesis measured the cord of life of each person to determine how long they would live.
Laius or Laios (“Herdsman of the people”): Regarded in some legends as the Greek’s first pedophile (as Cain was the first murderer in Judeo-Christian tradition). The rightful heir to Thebes, as a child, he was banished by political rivals. During his exile he attempted to convince a boy named Chrysippus to become his queen; Chrysippus refuses so Laius abducted him but in the struggle the boy was killed; Laius eventually became king of Thebes only to learn by oracle that his son would kill him and marry his wife. Laius refused to have sex with his wife until she got him drunk when they conceived Oedipus. Laius drove a spike through the baby’s feet and abandoned little Oepidus who eventually returned to Thebes to unknowingly fulfill the prophecy.
Leda (“Lady”): daughter of King Thestius of Aetolia, Zeus came to her as a swan, causing her to lay an egg which produced Helen of Troy, her sister Clytaemnestra, and the heroes, Castor, and Polydeuces. (Many versions of this story exist, some of which claim Zeus violated the Goddess Nemesis as a swan and the egg somehow landed on Leda). Some mythologists believe the story is a remnant of older pre-pantheon myths of bird deities that were marginalized and discredited by the later religion. Leda was a fairly unimportant figure in myths until poets and artists from the 19th century and forward turned their attention to her. D.H. Lawrence, Robert Graves, and most famously William Butler Yeats all helped popularize her story.
Legba: Trickster god of the Voodoosi of Benin. Son of Mahoalissa, the Supreme male and female deity. Through Legba’s subterfuge, Mahoalissa abandoned the earth, leaving the world to its own devices.
Lesbos: A island off Asia Minor, settled by the Greeks, home of the great poet Sappho whose love poems lent the island’s name to female-female intimacy. Despite its reputation in poetry and culture, few myths took place there.
Lethe (“Oblivion”): A river in the Greek underworld, named after the Goddess of Oblivion. Drinking from the river caused dead spirits to forget their lives.
Leza: supreme god of Tonga, of central Africa, so ancient that his eyes water, forming rain. Due to his advanced age, Leza doesn’t hear or answer prayers as often as he used to. (The Egyptian god Ra went through this process, beginning as the supreme deity but dwindling to a senile, drooling codger.)
Liber: uniquely Roman god of the countryside, associated with wine and fertility, similar to Dionysus. Marginalized by the adoption of Greek myths, and esclipsed by Bacchus/Dionysus, Liber and his fellow old gods like Janus still remained to some capacity.
Lilith, Lilitu, Lamme, Lamia, or Lamashto (“storm-lady” or “owl-hag”): Initially a Sumerian and Babylonian child-killing demon called Lilu or Lilitu who unsuccessfully challenged Gilgamesh. She found more fame in Hebrew lore, mentioned in the Bible once in Isaiah 34:14. In the Middle Ages, in the writings of the Alphabet of Ben Sira, her role was expanded and she was cast as the first wife of Adam. In this new legend, she was created out of mud like him but she refused to submit to his masculine superiority, wanting to have sex on top. Replaced by the more docile Eve, Lilith became the queen of the demons, and preyed upon babies for their first eight days of life. At one point, Lilith took Samael, one of her own sons, as a second husband, but this so offended Jehovah that he castrated poor Sam. Dante Gabriel Rossetti wrote a poem about her, “Eden Bower,” which portrayed her as a serpentine creature but some consider her as the first vampire.
Loki or Lopt (“alluring” or “fire”): a Norse mischief maker, at some times an important ally of Odin, at others, particularly as Ragnarok drew near, a principle god of evil. Son of Farbauti, a giant, and the goddess Laufrey (aka Nál). Exant texts mention two brothers, Byleist and Helblindi, but their exploits appear in no surviving text. The Norse represented him with fire but Christian missionaries saw him as the Devil. Loki mated with the giantess Angrboda (“She Who Offers Sorrow”) to produce the Midgard Serpent, Fenrir Wolf, and Hel. Unlike the ultra-masculine Norse society, Loki wasn’t afraid of showing his feminine side–once, to save the gods, he transformed into a mare and became pregnant from a stallion and another time became pregnant after eating a woman’s heart. After Loki was bound to a rock by his son Nari’s intestines and a venomous snake placed above him to drip poison upon his face, Loki’s wife, Sigyn, continued to hold up a basin to catch the vemon (when she must turn to empty it, the snake’s venom drips on him, and his convulsions cause earthquakes).
Lotus-eaters: a group of people encountered by Odysseus on his journey home from the Trojan war. No one is quite sure what this Lotus was but it was highly addictive. The lethargic Lotus-eaters did nothing all day but consume their drug of choice, the lotus. Odysseus barely was able to break his men of their addiction and set sail from their slothful shores.
Loviator: Finnish goddess of plagues; daughter of king and queen of the underworld; she had every disease on earth; after having sex with the wind, she produced nine horrid children: black death, cancer, colic, consumption, fits, gangrene, gout, ulcers, and the worst, the nameless disease
Lucina: a Roman goddess of childbirth, eventually entangled in the persona of Juno. Sometimes Lucina seemed a separate individual from Juno, at other times the name was simply a title Juno used when she presided over births. (Similarly Juno was connected to Zygia, the Goddess of marriage.)
Lug or Lugh (“Light” or “Shining One”): Celtic sun god, worshipped as Lugos in Gaul. When the king of demons, Balor, learned that his grandson was fated to kill him (similar to Laius but with less incestuous results), he locked his daughter Ethlin in a glass tower with guards who denied any man entrance. The god Cian of medicine snuck in while in the form of a woman, resulting in the conception of Lug. Balor threw Lug in the sea but the baby survived. Later he joined the gods and eventually killed his grandfather. As Celtic gods were not immortal, at the end of his long life, he became bent and small–the first leprechaun. Lug’s two Welsh counterparts were Llwch Llawwynawc and Llew (or Lleu). Lug’s son Cuchulainn became one of Ireland’s greatest heroes.
In Micronesian myths, another, entirely unrelated Lug captured human souls to feed to the monstrous creature Nomou to prevent them from obtaining paradise.
Limerick: a form originated either by the English or French (the controversy rages). A five-lined poem, with a rhyme scheme of aabba, similar to the madsong. Although English limericks can be dated back to 1821 with Richard Scrafton Sharpe’s “As a little fat man of Bombay,” it was popularized in England by Edward Lear’s (1812-1888) Book of Nonsense in 1846 with a slightly altered form (the fifth line often was the same or at least had the same last word as the first. Contrary to some sources, Lear was not the first to write them in English (two earlier collections of poetry that included limericks, Anecdotes and Adventures of Fifteen Young Ladies and The History of Sixteen Wonderful Old Women, were published in 1820) but he was most influential.
Initially it was seen as a humorous verse for children but soon adopted by jolly perverts and bathroom graffiti-artists everywhere. One of the most famous began in the Princeton Tiger, initially reading as:
There was an old man of Nantucket,
Who kept all his cash in a bucket;
But his daughter, named Nan,
Ran away with a man.
And as for the bucket—Nantucket!
So unknown poetic genius later determined that two alternate rhymes for “tucket” might gain the poem a wider audience.