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The clerihew is a relatively new poetry form introduced by Edmund Clerihew Bentley in 1905. It is usually a single quatrain of light verse rhyming aabb, without a standard meter. The first line usually ends with a name, often one difficult to rhyme with, and comes up with a ridiculous rhyme for it in the second line. At the SCP, we usually require meter. Could the lack of meter in the clerihew be an attempt to capture a charming sense of school-boy doggerel or is it just a lack of skill and aversion to the modern stigma placed on tradition? At any rate, this contest seeks a specifically metrical clerihew just for the fun of it.

Talbot Hook has submitted the below metrical clerihew to get the ball rolling:

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The ever straight-shooting Diogenes,
No stranger to creatures’ biologies,
Gave Platonic depiction a lickin’
By presenting him with a plucked chicken.

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Post your metrical clerihew in the comments section below. The meter does not have to be the same as Mr. Hook’s above.

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CODEC Stories:

77 Responses

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    A shrivelled-up bitch named Pelosi
    Has a place in the House that is cozy.
    When the GOP come, she’ll be out on her bum —
    Her future don’t look very rosy.

    Reply
    • Patricia Redfern

      Excellent, I think! Would pray your clerihew becomes a new and a saner reality!

      The recent house Pelosi break-in, was, of course, President Trump’s fault? As is each crisis on planet earth! Enough of fabled narratives!

      Reply
  2. Dan Ward

    Those pandemic games of Fauci’s
    Offensive as any foul breeze;
    In Congress, defended his rules –
    “Don’t question my Science, you fools!”

    Reply
  3. Daniel Janeiro

    King Saul
    Was not a king that we would want at all,
    And proved what kind of trouble having a king
    Would bring.

    Reply
    • Monika Cooper

      King David
      So avid
      For God’s house and after His heart
      Gave the monarchy a second start.

      Reply
  4. James A. Tweedie

    The MLB Yank Aaron Judge
    Gave Maris and Ruth each a nudge.
    With 62 swings of his bat
    He made both their records go splat.

    Reply
  5. Paul Freeman

    The kitten-grabbing Donald Trump
    came down to earth with a bump.
    The voted out one-term president
    is a White House ex-resident.

    Reply
    • Joseph S. Salemi

      A senile buffoon is Joe Biden,
      As cheap as aluminum sidin’.
      When patriots come to start lynching the scum
      I wonder where he will be hidin’.

      Reply
  6. Peter Surtees

    President Biden
    Acts like he’s died ‘n’
    One day will awake and say
    Where’ve I been since yesterday

    Reply
  7. Peter Surtees

    Oh dear, Donald Trump
    Is back on the stump
    Wooing voters to say yes
    To another four year mess

    Reply
  8. Mike Bryant

    Ukraine’s the cash cow of joe Biden.
    We all know the things he’s hiding…
    Corruption and incompetence,
    Alzheimers, incontinence.

    Reply
    • Patricia Redfern

      Mike!

      A smash hit clerihew on Biden!-))
      Hope the New House finds specifics. he’s hiden!

      Patricia

      Reply
  9. Paul Freeman

    Do you remember Jerry Springer?
    Each show was a high-octane zinger.
    When his guests weren’t fighting, their mum and dad issues
    caused tear-leaky eyes and much reaching for tissues.

    Reply
  10. Dan Ward

    The daughter of Victor Hugo
    From a closet, picked her blue coat
    “Else in this miserable cold,
    I’ll be hunchbacked ere I grow old.”

    Reply
    • Cynthia Erlandson

      Hi, Mike, apparently youtube doesn’t like this video; they sat it’s “unavailable”.

      Reply
  11. Dan Ward

    Quarterback “Broadway Joe” Namath
    Cashed in his Super Bowl fame with
    Those cringe-worthy Medicare ads;
    His work was much better in pads

    Reply
  12. Cheryl Corey

    That portly porker, Caligula,
    was constipated. An enema
    was thus injected in his ass.
    His turds exploded like shards of glass.

    Reply
  13. Talbot Hook

    The ineffable Guy Fieri
    Is our nation’s greatest canary;
    In each diner, drive-in, or dive,
    He’ll confirm you can come out alive.

    Reply
  14. Brian Yapko

    In France they were fond of Napoleon
    Who consumed Europe with some aioli in.
    The British, dismayed by his style,
    Had him twice carted off into exile.

    Reply
  15. Brian Yapko

    A writer named Amanda Gorman
    With luck that exceeds any four men,
    Was named laureate poet of youth
    But sans talent and challenged on truth.

    Reply
  16. Evan Mantyk

    Dr. Salemi’s limerick dressed as a clerihew above has me thinking that the clerihew may just be understood as a version of the limerick, perhaps better suited to difficult-to-rhyme names since you don’t need that second rhyme. But for many names, why not a limerick…

    The entrepreneur Elon Musk
    Is sharper than an elephant tusk:
    He builds rocket ships, AI, microchips
    And to politicians he is brusque.

    Reply
    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Yes, Evan, you’re correct — I slipped into limerick form because it’s so easy to do when trying to compose a clerihew. Here’s a true clerihew in the more acceptable form:

      Niccolo Machiavelli —
      Was he really that bad? Oh well, he
      Called things as they were,
      And that always causes a stir.

      Reply
  17. Joshua C. Frank

    The Blessed Virgin Mary
    Was never once contrary
    To God’s Law, or to any other—
    A grace so she could be God’s mother!

    Reply
  18. Talbot Hook

    The wife-fleeing Rip Van Winkle
    Stopped in the woods for a twinkle;
    But he aided a dutchman to carry his keg,
    And awoke to find his beard reached his leg!

    Reply
  19. Talbot Hook

    The anomaly Zaphod Beeblebrox,
    More brainless than a large bag of rocks,
    Is far more useless than a Quaker’s gun,
    But he’s still the best bang since the big one.

    (I couldn’t resist.)

    Reply
  20. Joseph S. Salemi

    Andrea Dworkin
    Didn’t believe in porkin’.
    “Intercourse is oppression!”
    She screamed in a psychiatric session.

    Reply
  21. Mike Bryant

    Ivan Petrovich Pavlov
    Took a couple of days off.
    A bell brought him out of his fog,
    He said, “I must feed the dog!”

    Reply
  22. Mike Bryant

    Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
    Thought his ideas were peachy.
    He once said that God was dead,
    But God had the last word instead.

    OR

    Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
    Was visited once by a preacher.
    The reverend approached Nietzsche’s bed,
    But God told him, “Nietzsche is dead.”

    Reply
  23. Mike Bryant

    It’s reported that Great Socrates
    Said hemlock’s a drink that agrees
    With all the philosopher set…
    The hangover’s not over yet!

    Reply
  24. Mike Bryant

    Antonio López de Santa Anna
    Met Yellow Rose in his cabana.
    They say he scored, but when he snored
    At San Jacinto he lost the war.

    Reply
  25. Mike Bryant

    Everybody knows that Johnny Cash
    Was up for making bets considered rash.
    He ate a pound of peppers, then retired.
    When morning came, he felt ‘The Ring of Fire.’

    Reply
  26. Paul Buchheit

    As an orator, young Aristotle
    was renowned for a voice epiglottal.
    Over time, as he waxed syllogistic,
    he was deemed, sad to say, egotistic.

    Reply
  27. Joseph S. Salemi

    Joy Behar
    Looks like she should be smoking a cigar.
    She dominates “The View” —
    A screechy, estrogen-challenged crew.

    Reply
  28. Mia

    1
    Edmund Clerihew Bentley
    Was genteel and almost saintly,
    For he liked to poke fun
    And wound with a pen, not a gun.

    2
    “Don’t mess with a Biden,” said Joe Biden
    “I am Biden-in-chief and know how to frighten,
    Why only the other day I was let loose by the podium
    And let me tell you the carnage was truly odious.”

    3
    “We will fight to the end,” cried Boris Johnson
    But the end came to soon, now he’s lonesome,
    For the good times have ended
    And now Carrie’s garden he’s tending.

    4
    “I am The President,” says Donald Trump,
    “The one who comes first and will never be last-
    Everyone knows I was not defeated
    But was truly and roundly cheated.”

    5
    “ Please,” observed Charles the Third
    “ Why can’t I say, Off with his head!
    What is the point of being crowned King
    When one is constantly told what to think!”

    Reply
  29. David Watt

    The Swiss have a cheese they call Klaus,
    With more holes than a derelict house.
    Guaranteed by elites to be better than sweets,
    Though it’s spurned by the hungriest mouse.

    Reply
  30. Jeff Eardley

    Ever since they elected Liz Truss,
    Our economy’s under a bus,
    The news is so painful to foller,
    Now the pound is worth less than the dollar

    Reply
    • Mia

      Great Clerihew!

      A cynic might think it is almost as if she is going to ‘Truss’ the UK..
      Pardon the pun, of course I couldn’t possibly comment.

      Reply
  31. Talbot Hook

    The poet Fernando Pessoa
    Was a difficult writer to know-a:
    Every week he seemed a different man:
    The sign of a short self attention-span.

    Reply
  32. Talbot Hook

    The repressive tyrant Qin Shi Huang,
    Believed in the right of the pitiless strong;
    He buried alive some hundreds of scholars,
    Then went belly-up with mercurial hollers.

    Reply
  33. Adam Sedia

    Ketanji Brown Jackson,
    When asked her reaction
    To womanhood: just an apology
    For not being versed in biology.

    Reply
  34. Paul Freeman

    His Royal Highness King Charlie the Third
    was once considered a nerd.
    An original climate change battling warrior,
    he’s watched our planet’s state getting sorrier and sorrier.

    Reply
  35. Joseph S. Salemi

    Senator Chuck Schumer
    Would be improved with an inoperable tumor.
    We thought he’d kick off
    From a COVID-based cough
    But alas, that was only a rumor.

    Reply
  36. Mike Bryant

    George Joshua Richard Monbiot
    (He’s “Moonbat” to those in the know.)
    Is saving the earth from the terrible trio:
    True Tories and beef and no snow.

    Reply
  37. Mia

    Turkey has a president called Erdogan
    Who boasts that he is friends with everyone,
    Look at Armenians, Greeks, Syrians or Kurds,
    They could be friends if they gave him their turf.

    Reply
  38. R M Zimmerman

    The man who keeps the border is Mayorkis.
    When we say it is open, he will “Bork” us.
    But when the border’s like a leaking sieve,
    that makes it hard for honest folks to live.

    Reply
  39. Paul Freeman

    If you want to kill off Count Dracula,
    try U-V effects of a facula,
    which to those in the know is a luminous spot
    on our Sun’s solar disk – like an over-bright dot.

    Reply
    • Talbot Hook

      I just watched the 1931 Dracula with Bela Lugosi for the first time a week ago, so this made me smirk. It’s an oldie and a goodie. And I love the scientific nature of your clerihew.

      Reply
      • Talbot Hook

        The Hungarian Bela Lugosi
        With the commies was overly cozy;
        Fleeing his home to avoid further scares,
        He was type-cast in Horror on account of his stares.

  40. Mia

    “Arrogant girl!” cried Athene,
    when Arachne boasted of her very fine weaving,
    “You can indeed be the weaving queen,
    catching flies for your tea!”

    Reply
  41. Talbot Hook

    Persnickety Maurice Ravel
    Made audiences endure hell:
    He took a theme the weight of a sparrow
    And tortured it into his bloated Bolero.

    Reply
  42. peter venable

    Oktoberfest

    A full-page ad gave readers’ sound advice.
    “Do not binge drink or drink out of a shoe.
    While the brass band plays with tubas and lutes,
    I’ll start a new fad and drink from my boot.

    The Debates

    The wise old owl said “I don’t give a hoot
    Because their posture and cant are truly moot.
    With skullduggery vows, they quibble, refute—
    But each with their snoot licks the hand pledging loot.”

    Reply
  43. David Whippman

    Let’s spare a thought for Julius Caesar –
    A statesman, a soldier, a true Roman geezer.
    He died two thousand years ahead of his time,
    the very first victim of senseless knife crime.

    Reply
  44. David Whippman

    The Greeks were cultured; but in truth
    The Romans were a bit uncouth.
    And yet, when all is said and done
    The Greeks lost and the Romans won.

    Reply
    • Mia

      Great clerihews.
      This one though is thought- provoking.
      Sadly the cultured lose and the uncouth win. It sounds a bit like the kind of essay question we used to get in school many years ago. The one that always made a statement and ended with Discuss.

      Reply
      • David Whippman

        Thanks Mia, glad you liked them. I remember those essay lead-ins, but I doubt if my clerihews will provoke any dissertations!

  45. Jennifer

    It’s said the Olympian Hermes
    Could travel on winged sandals for his journeys
    He could flit from the mortal to divine
    Shame, I can’t even walk a straight line

    Reply
  46. Kalli

    The man’s wife Lydia
    Gave her husband Chlamydia.
    So he lived in the shame
    Of his daughter’s new name.

    Reply
  47. Suzanne S. Austin-Hill

    A Clerihew to the Environment

    Public, John (and Jane) Q.
    their vehicles garaged because there’s nothing they can do.
    Animals roam freely, air quality improves.
    As the quarantine is lifted, the Earth again disapproves.

    Reply
  48. Lucia Haase

    Is it possible Robert Frost
    in a bright yellow wood, got lost?
    It all began when he was urged
    to try to find two roads diverged!

    Reply
  49. BDW

    A Clerihew Gone Amok
    by E. Cleridew Basu

    He is one of those about whom these days is written very little.
    I guess, because his reputation, like Edward C. Bentley’s, was quite brittle.
    A compatriot of James Thurber, in that terribly dismal era,
    he was less like Ezra Pound than he was like Yogi Berra;
    and yet these days, except for a few things, like green tea, pasta salad, and cash,
    I would like to get a line or two from Frederic Ogden Nash.

    Reply
  50. Pat Tyrer

    As Agent James Bond, Sean Connery
    Was gorgeous but always quite ornery
    With lovely blue eyes, he was every girl’s spy
    You can count me as one of them, honestly.

    Reply
  51. Kathy Band

    Father winter throws autumn blaze
    Hold the moment in place
    December shakes autumn
    December tree crowns have lost their shape

    Reply
  52. Kathy Bahr

    Father Winter throws autumn blaze,
    hold the moment in place.
    December shakes autumn.
    December tree crowns have lost their shape.

    Reply
  53. Morrison Handley-Schachler

    I have no doubt the worthy Francisco José de Goya
    Y Lucientes would have had the brains to be a lawyer
    But counsel’s wise opinion was, when all is said and done,
    That artists can make money too and have a lot more fun.

    Reply
  54. Samantha Gravelle

    The Irish fairies of folklore, the Sidhe;
    Capture kids and refuse to let them free.
    Obscured in the medows’s vibrant bluebells;
    The fables live and cast their cursed spells.

    Reply
  55. Anthony Harrington.

    Alessandro. Bottticelli
    Painted women large in buttocks and belly.
    Seeing the ads in Vogue, he’d not find sexy
    Models so anorexy.

    Reply
  56. Mary Gardner

    For you SEC football fans:

    Bama’s Crimson Tide
    Has a team deep and wide.
    Fear Big Al,
    Beat you he shall.

    Auburn’s War Eagle ,
    A mascot regal,
    Swoops with a scream
    Just like the team.

    LSU
    Is fun to boo,
    But let’s admit, Coach Kelly
    Has fire in the belly.

    U of Mizzou
    Is called “The Zoo,”
    But mention their football crew
    And everybody says, “Who?”

    Texas A&M
    Will kick your (ahem)
    Someday, but not the way
    They currently play.

    Vanderbilt
    Every year gets kilt.
    Academics is their forte,
    Not football sport.

    Florida
    Is like the bullfighting corrida
    Where you are the toro
    And they’re the matador-o.

    U of Georgia
    Last year had a winning orgy-a.
    It was sweet
    To be unbeat.

    Reply

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