Poetry Challenge 7: Post Your Clerihews!

I need another week!

But challenges are delicate things, and not to be trifled with.

What part was hard for you? For me, the anachronisms didn’t really happen. Although I did manage to put my subjects into situations in which we don’t ordinarily think of them.

Also, did you find yourself wanting to write about people you like or people you don’t like? I ended up writing about people I mostly like, and I think this may have been a rookie mistake. There’s not much bite in that. (And I’m thinking I may write another or two before the day is done. Can you believe, I’m having a hard time thinking of someone I dislike, besides popular performers? I know there must be someone… I guess this reflects my reading habits: the down-side of my trail-of-delight theory.)

Josh’s Marx poem, on the other hand, certainly doesn’t indicate any affection on his part for the politically autistic Karl, and I did find it quite funny. He reads people he hates so he can critique them intelligently.

Since Josh posted his clerihew ahead of time, I’ll start things off by re-posting for him in the comments below, and then adding mine. Let’s post one clerihew per comment.



  1. Musical preference, Puritan; inability to appreciate
    Peace, disturbing the, contumelious practice of

    Nathaniel Hawthorne
    invented the Scoff-horn.
    It is played with gyrations
    that dismay most relations.


  2. A curlihew or two

    Mary’s little lamb
    ‘s not white, not black, but crammed
    With everything
    That’s God. A wholly catholic king.


    Will Mr. Obama
    Remain aloof despite the drama
    When he to Hillary
    Gives keys to the media pillory.

          *             *

    I broke the rules
    But hey they’re just tools.
    Trying again,
    This time with a regular pen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was lacking inspiration for a clerihew but then reading one of Albert’s inspired me to go political. 🙂 Palin’s endorsement speech has had me cackling, which I have to think that was her intent. I might rewatch it and concoct a clerihew series in commemoration.


      • Ah, but that would be leaving out the point that the real Sarah was funnier than the parody. However, I think the last line needs a livelier verb. What do you think of “out crazied”? Is slang frowned on in our challenges?


        • What about “upstaged”? Or” outplayed”? Or–if curlihews are still curlihew with variable syllable count–the line could read, “She played the role of Tina Fey.” (Sorry, Leah, got carried away. It’s just that there’s less pressure writing other persons’ poems; much more fun than struggling with my own!)


        • Generally the clerihew should sound literate. I think placing a slang-word (like “sauced” for “intoxicated”) in these well-appointed little word houses is acceptable, provided they don’t take the place over. The butler should retain a firm hand upon the back of the slang-word’s collar.

          No – in the clerihew, making a point is a far deadlier sin than letting in a slang word or two.


  3. I forgot about titles. Also forgot how hard it is to rhyme smoothly and sensible, and still keep a rhythm going. It’s like turning screws to write curlihews. More fun to read them, especially above. I “like” all.


    While Francis the pope
    Provides a coffee-jolt of hope
    church doctors strive
    To keep its malfunctioning heart alive.


  4. Sarah Palin,
    your ship went sailin’
    in 2008?

    The Election Was Getting Boring, but

    Now there’s Sarah Palin,
    arms a flailin’
    spinnin’ heads and muddlin’ zingers
    for “bitter clingin’ proud clingers!”


    Sarah Palin,
    glory trailin’,
    are you the setting light
    on the blank stage of the right?


    • No, I don’t think you’re wrong. I think that’s an important point. I found the following quote a few months ago in Google Books somewhere, and can’t find it again… but here it is now in an article:

      “The classical clerihew,” Ewart writes, “is free from malice. . . . The clerihew could easily be used for satire, and even satire of great bitterness, but as far as I know it never has been.” He describes the tone of the clerihew as “both civilized and dotty”, a mini-cocktail.”



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