Poem-A-Day for the Month of April - Day 28: Clerihew

Day 28: Clerihew
Four lines rhyming a-a-b-b.

I couldn't find clerhew in my dictionary, so I turned to Google and learned a tiny little 'i' had slipped away, lost by a missed touch. The correct spelling is clerihew, the middle name of Edmund C. Bently, who concocted this new form when he was sixteen and later published volumes of clerihews.

I'm passing this knowledge on to you just for fun.
After all, a clerihew is just for fun and has only four rules:
    1. four lines
    2. end rhymes a-a-b-b
    3. first line ends with a person's name
    4. the whole thing must be fun and whimsical.

Rhythm, syllables, line length, or other rules do not apply in a clerihew. The more contrived the last line, the better. Famous people are the usual subjects, treated with whimsical humor.

Mrs. Lincoln
Mary Todd Lincoln
Her heart still a sinkin'
Felt disgust and dismay
When a reporter asked, "Other than that,
Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think of the play?"

Here's another of my stabs at it:

Henry Ford
By men admired, by women adored.
But a car in every garage, Ma'am,
Facilitates smearing rush hour roads with traffic jam.

Clerihews, while fun to write, can also be quite a challenge. Though it may seem easy to toss aside poetic rules and write a bad but clever poem, to do it inadvertently is no problem at all.

Anna Arnett

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