A Clerihew is Funny

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…………………………………………..(David Haldane)

“Clerihews are funny poems you write about specific people.

[The form is AABB.]

Clerihews have just a few simple rules:

  1. They are four lines long.
  2. The first and second lines rhyme with each other, and the third and fourth lines rhyme with each other.
  3. The first line names a person, and the second line ends with something that rhymes with the name of the person.
  4. A clerihew should be funny.

That’s it! You don’t have to worry about counting syllables or words, and you don’t even have to worry about the rhythm of the poem.

Let’s look at an example. Let’s say your art teacher was named Mr. Shaw, and you wanted to write a clerihew about him. You might start your clerihew like this:

Our art teacher, Mr. Shaw,
Really knows how to draw.

Notice that the first line ends with the name of the person the clerihew is about, Mr. Shaw. The second line ends with “draw” because it rhymes with “Shaw.”

To finish the clerihew, you need to write two more rhyming lines. In a well-written clerihew, those next two lines will make the poem funny, like this:

Our art teacher, Mr. Shaw,
Really knows how to draw.
But his awful paintings
Have caused many faintings.”

…………………………(Kenn Nesbitt)


“The clerihew form has also occasionally been used for non-biographical verses. Bentley opened his 1905 Biography for Beginners with an example, entitled “Introductory Remarks”, on the theme of biography itself:

The Art of Biography
Is different from Geography.
Geography is about Maps,
But Biography is about Chaps.”

…………………………………………………………..(wikipedia)

Today’s Assignment:

Write a Clerihew or two.