Saturday, December 04, 2010

How to Write Clerihews

Lewis and Clark

Lewis and Clark

Lewis and Clark were quite a pair;
together, they journeyed everywhere.
They explored to the Pacific in tandem.
Yet, at the end, their deaths were random.

Christopher T. George

Per Wikipedia:

"A clerihew is a whimsical, four-line biographical poem invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley. The lines are comically irregular in length, and the rhymes, often contrived, are structured AABB. One of his best known is this (1905):

"Sir Christopher Wren
Went to dine with some men
He said, "If anyone calls,
Say I'm designing Saint Paul's."

Here are some more clerihews that I have written recently:

Laurel and Hardy

"This is another fine mess!!!" Ollie'd say to Stan.
In each flick, we moviegoers expected it, man, oh man!
Eternal victims of life's pranks:
Stan, the clueless Brit, and Ollie, the bumbling plump Yank.

Not Elvis

Elvis sang "I'm All Shook Up!"
swiveled his pelvis, didn't look up--
That was then. . . this now: it's all
Elvis sighted in every shopping mall.

The next one is not biographical but seems to fit here, given the season:

Soon, before we know, it will be another Blue Christmas!
Believe me, if you miss it, you won't miss much!
Nowadays, it's so tawdry, so indecently commercialized!
So -- hold your gifts, your offerings, whatever size!

And a couple more clerihews for good luck:

As a working poet, I always remember the example of Sir John Betjeman:
when they complained, "That's no poem!" Sir John said, "You betcha, man!"
He might have written near doggerel,
but he didn't pen it to earn his doctoral.

Siegfried and Roy

Ja, you knew better than to play with tigers
but those big cats paid your wages;
always disaster threatened
-- the sharp teeth beckoned.

Burns and Allen

You could always trust Gracie Allen
to play the dimwit, without failin' --
a lovable, clueless broad
that George and the whole world adored!

2 comments:

Sherry said...

i like these a lot!

Christopher T. George said...

Thanks, Sherry. Nice to hear from you. Hope things are well with you. All the best for the holiday season from rainy Baltimore.

Chris