July 10th Clerihew Day

Never heard of Clerihew? Neither had I, but I knew of his work. He became a poet at 16 years of age when he developed well… the Clerihew. His name was Edmund Clerihew Bentley and as  a student he came up with a 4 line biographical, whimsical poem, sort of like a limerick. It follows an AABB pattern, with the first line always containing some famous person’s name, normally at the end of the line where the rhyme comes from. His most famous Clerihew was written in 1905 and went like this…

Sir Charles Wren

Said, “I am going to dine with some men.

If anyone calls

Say I am designing St. Paul’s.”

Oh, did I mention it’s not supposed to make a lot of sense and the lines can be any length that you want. So, it’s the perfect poem to write for someone who doesn’t really understand poetry. Even I think I could write a poem or two like these.

I wonder how, or what, Clerihew’s would have written today? Especially now with the election cycle…hmmm???

How to celebrate: Write a few Clerihews yourself. Find Clerihew’s book and read it for yourself, though it might be a bit difficult to find and even harder to understand. Try to invent your own form of poetry, apparently it’s not all that hard to do!




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