I love writing for many reasons, but one of the most important reasons is because it’s fun. Now and again I stumble upon something that reminds me of this fun factor. Just over a year ago I heard about clerihew. It’s a poem of sort, a few quick, rhyming lines that are intended to bring a smile to the reader.
What is a clerihew?
A clerihew consists of four lines, the first rhyming with the second and the third with the fourth. They are usually short with a little twist at the end. They’re written about famous or well-known people. The meter doesn’t matter.
The clerihew was created by Edward Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956). Apparently, he was a sixteen-year-old boy in science class when the first one formed in his head:
Sir Humphry Davy
Was not fond of gravy.
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium.
He published the best-known clerihew in 1905 in his first of three volumes of clerihews, Biography for Beginners:
Sir Christopher Wren
Said, “I am going to dine with some men.
If anyone calls
Say I am designing St. Paul’s.”
Naturally, when I discovered this fun little poem style, I had to write my own:
Silly me, I thought it was understood.
There’s limited quality to Ronald’s food.
Those who eat it shouldn’t run it down.
After all, they trusted their meal to a clown.
and made Nova Scotians work every day.
Canada Day, Christmas and Labour Day, too.
I’ve a list of nasty thoughts, Rodney, all for you.
Rascal McTaz has a beard and a bell
When he’s in runt he’s got a keen smell.
He’ll stick out his nose and run for a mile
Or maybe he’ll stick around to make you smile.
Can you write a clerihew in five minutes?