By Elaine Magliaro
One of my favorite Guiterman poems is Ancient History. Here’s how the poem begins:
I hope the old Romans
Had painful abdomens.
I hope that the Greeks
Had toothache for weeks.
I hope the Egyptians
Had chronic conniptions.
Click here to read the rest of the poem.
Today, I’m posting some examples of a specific form of light verse called the clerihew. A clerihew is a four-line poem composed of two rhyming couplets. The clerihew pokes fun at a famous person. The first line should end with the name of the famous person. The form was invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956). Here is one of Bentley’s clerihews:
Sir Humphrey Davy
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium.
Here are three clerihews that I wrote in 2008:
In her birthday suit,
Tempted Adam with forbidden fruit.
Sir Isaac Newton—
There’s no refutin’—
With a force of nature had to grapple
When he got conked on the head with a falling apple.
Were deducted, so they say,
Through an interminable series of Q and A.
Here is a clerihew that I wrote about Max Baucus after the story broke that he was having an affair with a staffer named Melodee Hanes when he nominated her for a position as a US Attorney.
Senator Max Baucus
Of the “slap and tickle” caucus
Considered Melodee Hanes
To be one of his Capitol gains.
Click here to read more clerihews written by Bentley and others.
Philosophical Clerihews by Ronald de Sousa
Maybe some of you would like to try your hand at writing a clerihew. If so, share yours with us by posting them in the comments.