Spring is when a limerick writer's fancy apparently turns to thoughts of vaccinated and unmasked love.

At least that's the conclusion you might reach from some of the submissions we received in the Star Tribune Limerick Contest.

About 2,000 poems were e-mailed to us to help celebrate National Poetry Month with limericks on the theme of the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.

Many of you lonely scribes waxed poetic on the desire to finally rip off the mask and get affectionate when things get back to normal. But we also got limericks about Zoom fatigue, COVID weight gain, vaccine indecision and shutdown disputes.

Submissions came from all corners of the country and from all walks of life, including rhyming doctors, lawyers, pastors, teachers, college professors and high school students.

The winning poet will receive a custom scarf proclaiming, "I (heart) Limerick" and pencils from Sprout, a pencil brand that contains seeds for a tree, vegetable or flower. Best of all, our top poem has been given a dramatic reading by a surprise celebrity. Check out the video to find out who it is: strib.mn/3gt7Wc1

Here's our grand prize winner:

There's a virus inside us, you know,

And it's closed down all places to go.

So we stayed in our houses

"Rediscovered" our spouses

That's as far as I really should go!

- Brenda Corbett is a retired English teacher and a West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan school board member.

Honorable mentions:

Minnesotans must now wear a mask

An apparently difficult task

For in retail hell

Employees must yell

"Is 'no nose' just too much to ask?"

- Madeline Edgar is a senior at Mounds View High School who came up with this poem in creative writing class.

I work, play and eat in four rooms.

Don't shower and wear no perfumes.

Not feeling desirous,

I blame the dang virus.

Plus all of my dates are on Zooms.

- Patty Morrissey, Apple Valley, wants to reassure her husband she's not actually going on virtual dates.

I asked of my trusted adviser

"Get Johnson and Johnson or Pfizer?"

She tilted her head

Then quietly said

"The first one that's offered is wiser."

- Arthur Brakob, St. Louis Park, says the important thing is to just get vaccinated.

The lady went on a blind date

In a hurry to find a good mate.

But she ventured to ask

That he take off his mask

And decided that then she could wait.

- Shirley Binius, of Edina, sent us this poem about the perils of looking for love during the pandemic.

The changes that came — never sought 'em

Clean shirts for Zoom calls — I got 'em

With the restricted view

These boxers will do

Cuz that's all I wear on the bottom.

- Thomas Kendrick, a schoolteacher from Minneapolis, jokes that you can be a bit more casual in virtual meetings.

This pandemic has been a real meanie.

Neither family nor friends come to see me.

I'll keep wearing my mask,

And empty my flask.

Then mix my next gin quaran'tini!

- Robert and Kate Johansen of Amery, Wis., are spouses who sent in competing limericks. Kate won.

Minnesotans — we're birds of a feather

Widely known to be cold as our weather

Don't tell us it's smart

To stay six feet apart

We NEVER get that close together!

- Bruce Thorstad reports he's a Minneapolis-born, "full-blooded Norwegian" living "behind the Cheddar Curtain" in Dresser, Wis.

I started the crisis quite slender

Filled time using mixer and blender

The cakes and the shakes that I daily did make

Quite soon had ballooned my rear-ender!

- Lisa Backer, Lakeville, wrote about a common COVID condition.

As a mom of three under 8

I thought family time would be great.

But after awhile

And a huge laundry pile

For a vaccine I could hardly wait.

- Andrea Potashnick, Plymouth, notes how more time with the family can have its downsides.

After 12 months of worry, I hear

Vaccines give me much less to fear.

I hope the rumor is true

As my face is quite blue

From holding my breath for a year.

- Charles Crowley, Minneapolis, told us, "I wonder what they'll name the hurricane?" when the whole world sighs in relief post-pandemic.

I've been doing some reminiscing

About all the things I've been missing

I want to go shopping

And maybe bar hopping

And I want to do lots of kissing.

- Pat Helmberger, Grand Rapids, Minn., said for the past year, she's only kissed her cat.

It's the season to get all hormonal.

And we're longing to get back to normal.

After vaccines you can ask

For your love to unmask,

Because kissing in one is too formal.

- Julie Quinn, Le Center, Minn., also had kissing in mind when she took up her pen.

"How long will this pandemic last?"

Is a question I frequently ask.

Still I must concede

Though it's painful indeed,

That my looks are improved by a mask.

- Karen Reamer, St. Bonifacius, wrote one of several limericks we received from people concerned about their appearance during the pandemic.

Should I dress for my meeting on Zoom?

Who'll know when I enter the "room"?

With video off,

I can hide my sad coif

That looks like I fly on a broom!

- Grooming is less of a worry if you just turn off your camera, according to Elizabeth Scheurer, of Minneapolis.

As our Governor Walz now directs us,

We may ease protocols. This dejects us.

Precautions eschewed?

The plague déjà vu'd?

This decision appalls. We're not Texas!

- Len Yaeger, Minneapolis, is worried that we're relaxing COVID restrictions too quickly.

"Get a shot," we told him he should,

But we wondered if really he would.

Our advice he derided.

"No shot," he decided.

In his casket he looked really good.

- We got several COVID limericks that rhymed Nantucket with kicked the bucket. Michael Rogness, a retired seminary professor from St. Paul, expressed something similar here.

In a year where we're feeling frustrated,

And the danger of breathing's debated,

It seems risky to ask

"Would you take off your mask?"

A bare face can seem almost X-rated!

- Anne Ulmer, Cannon Falls, Minn., is a retired Carleton College German professor who won this contest last year.

We didn't hold COVID at bay

And a half-million souls passed away.

Yes, that number is bad.

Sure, their families are sad,

But who cares? The Dow hit 30K!

- Josh Weisenburger, Minneapolis, used his poem as a commentary on putting profits before people.