Writer makes waves with seafaring verse

Maggie Ballinger winning limerick writer
Maggie Ballinger winning limerick writer
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Mum wins competition to find best maritime limerick

MAGGIE Ballinger has a way with words - and her literary talent has seen her crowned the winner of a national poetry competition celebrating life on the ocean wave.

The 60-year-old Sheffielder, who specialises in penning humorous verses, entered a contest to find the best maritime limerick and said she was ‘surprised and delighted’ to be chosen as the winner.

Maggie, from Fulwood, was inspired to write her seafaring poem after watching a television documentary about giant waves.

And, instead of spending hours labouring over the limerick, she said the lines came ‘very quickly’.

“I’ve just been writing verse all my life, it’s not that difficult,” said Maggie, a retired former manager of Jessops Hospital.

“I just find it easy, but then there are lots of things I wish I could do, more useful things!”

Revealing the secret of her success, Maggie added: “The lines have got to scan properly, it’s got to have the right metre and not too few or too many syllables - and it’s got to have a punchline.”

Run by the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, the entries were judged by South Yorkshire poet Ian McMillan, known as the ‘Bard of Barnsley’.

“Maggie’s limerick covers a number of emotions which is hard to do in five lines,” Ian said.

The mum-of-two is now working on a children’s book called Baa Baa Pink Sheep, which she hopes to get published.

The swell, and the towering wave,

Cover many a seafarer’s grave.

So to land Britain’s dish,

(What are chips, without fish?)

A man must be strong, skilled and brave