Tag Archives: clerihew

Haiku, clerihu and an idle moment

I’ve successfully procrastinated the morning away since dropping Julia at work. I blogged, I slept, I composed twelve haiku on modern subjects, I reflected on Clerihews and their superiority to haiku and I replied to a few comments. I even read one post from someone else. It was fascinating, though it didn’t seem promising at first. Try Repro Arts of Great Yarmouth. It’s a print shop, but one that has made at least one fascinating blog post. I say “at least” because I have not yet read any of the others. They may all be fascinating, but in line with my theme for the morning, I’m going to read the rest later.

I recently invented a new poetic form – the haiklerihew. So far the world’s stock of haiklerihews is one. It’s probably all we need. I’m thinking I might have a crack at the clerihu next, though amalgamating a four line humorous poem nobody values with a three line nature poem that people are very serious about could take some doing.

 

from ancient Japan we have Basho

who never has gone out of fashion

deep in the woodlands

a nature cliche gestates

serious poem

 

I’ve amalgamated the first two lines of the clerihew, with the name, then added a haiku underneath. Clerihews, for those of you who have missed previous efforts, are allowed to be bad in terms of rhyme and scansion. I think I have achieved that here.

The haiku is a bit unkind, but some of them are a bit cliched in terms of the nature reference – I know mine are. I’ve used the 5-7-5 syllable format which is now seen as a bit old-fashioned – that way you can tell it’s a haiku. I had to change woods to woodlands to get the five in the first line, which is in the bad poetry tradition of the Clerihew.

All in all, a satisfactory poetic form, and much better than the haiklerihew.

I’m now going to brace myself for death threats from haiku poets.

Writers of Clerihews are much more laid back.

And Another Clerihew

When I checked after posting yesterday I still need to use the word canicular in a poem. And yes, I use term loosely – it’s the clerihew again.  Here goes.

George Croydon Marks 

Designed railways for parks

And the famous Saltburn funicular,

which is fun on days canicular

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Clerihew, it’s OK to be bad, in fact it’s almost a feature of the form.

Having said that, this is definitely taking us into William McGonagall territory. Do I dare hope that one day I will be elevated to the status of The Great McGonagall and Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings?

 

I Invent a New Poetic Form

Well, it’s been a thought-provoking day.

It started when I wrenched myself from bed and took Julia to work. The mornings are already significantly darker than they were a month ago. By 6.15 I was taking photographs by the roadside and at 6.30 arrived at the services ready to collect Number Two Son. He was supposed to be off shift at 7.00 but nobody turned up. Eventually he was relieved at 8.15 after ringing round.

 

I tried to pass my time profitably, by writing haiku and watching people. The people-watching didn’t go well as there was nobody interesting to watch, apart from a hairy middle-aged man wearing only shorts and flip-flops. Even that wasn’t really interesting, just an anthropological footnote.

The haiku? They soon degenerated into my favoured format – the clerihew. I didn’t produce  any of note this morning but this one has been hanging round in the drafts for a while. It features a Japanese word so it’s a hybrid form I just invented, the haiklerihew.

Martin van Buren,

was au fait with shitsuren,

and, stressing ideology over personality,

opened an era of boring banality

It’s a niche market and I can’t help feeling I may have written more haiklerihews than the world needs.

Now I just need to use canicular.

 

Then I did laundry, shopped, snoozed and picked Julia up from work. We had salad for tea. We were going to have roast vegetables and belly pork but I fell asleep in front of the TV and it was a bit late to start cooking.

I can’t help feeling I’m not using Sunday to its full potential.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Strange clouds over the Trent Valley

Butterflies, Curries and Clerihews

We went to Derbyshire today. Despite  being a Bank Holiday it wasn’t crowded and we managed to buy Julia the shoes she needed for the Maltese trip. We also bought some books and ice-cream.

We saw half a dozen Orange Tips and a pair of Brimstones. It really is looking like a good year for both species – I don’t remember seeing as many as this before.

On our return home we scurried round, changed and went for a birthday curry with my fellow shop workers and a few customers. It was a good night, and unlike last time, I was on time (just!), parked across the road and didn’t get rained on.

Yes, for those of you who may be wondering, I am now 60. That’s the “three score years” done with – just the next ten to worry about now.

I’m now going to write some poetry as part of my 200 poems in a fortnight challenge. Don’t worry, I won’t be subjecting you to my efforts, unless I write more limericks or clerihews. I seem to remember I was supposed to be writing more clerihews.

Christmas Clerihews

I’ve decided to branch out from politics, as it’s Christmas. Even I get infected with jollity (if only briefly) at this time of year and as jollity and politics don’t really mix I decided to go Christmassy for the clerihews.

It’s only the subject that has changed though, the quality is still as dodgy as ever.

Those of you who aren’t from the UK may need to consult this link to try and make some sense out of the last one. Not that there is much sense in any of them at the best of times.

 

Father Christmas

loves sherry and citrus,

though he’s lately been thinking

of cutting out drinking.

 

Rudolph and Donner and Blitzen and Dancer,

Cupid and Vixen and Comet and Prancer

are all quaffing claret

after giving up carrots.

 

In the panto, Ebeneezer Scrooge

overdid the rouge

and ended up quite cranky,

made up as a manky Twanky.

 

Happy Christmas to everyone, though I have to ask if you should be doing more important things than reading a blog. 🙂

 

A Day for Clerihews

The Clerihew, according to Wikipedia, is a four line biographical poem invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley, with a rhyme scheme of aabb. The lines are irregular, though the first line should feature the name of the person who is the subject of the poem.  Bentley believed that the name should be at the end of the line as part of the challenge lay in finding a rhyme for awkward names. It can be whimsical, absurd and inaccurate.

In other words, they aren’t very demanding in terms of technique and historical research.

Here are three that I’ve written as part of a series about British Prime Ministers. Don’t rely on them if you are revising for an exam on the subject. I’ve covered PMs in other posts, but as there have been around 57 of them I still have a way to go.

I will try a few more over Christmas as I will have (a) time and (b) an unpleasantly crotchety attitude, which are both useful for political subjects.

 

 

Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford,

was known to be fond of his orchard.

He was in power for 20 years.

And he raised gin tax, causing many tears.

 

Augustus Henry FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton

never wore a kaftan.

As a Chathamite Whig

he was a bit of a prig.

 

 

PM Stanley Baldwin

had a disagreement with the King.

A man of stately carriage,

he opposed King Edward’s marriage.

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Prime Ministers

Following on from the clerihews yesterday, and the challenges from Derrick Knight and Clare Pooley, here are a few more.

 

Anthony Charles Lynton Blair,

had a certain, easy flair,

for acts of great mendacity,

but sadly not veracity.

 

Sir Edward Heath

was famous for teeth.

With music and sailing, an  undoubted geek,

who gave us all a three day week.

 

Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman

was sound around geraniums.

He was Prime Minister and Father of the House

and was known for being portly, as was his spouse.

 

This is post 1,001 – post 1,002 will return to more familiar topics.

 

 

Political Clerihews (Again)

Today it’s back to clerihews.  This might be a bit incromprehensible to non-UK readers – sorry if this is the case. I could, I suppose, write them about foreign politicians, but that seems a bit rude. It’s not my place to take the mickey out of politicians from other countries – that’s for you to do. I’ve added a few links to help out.

Theresa May,

or she may not.

But she’s being rather shifty

on the subject of Article Fifty.

 

Blondie Boris Johnson

always has a response on

world politics and affairs of state

but his hair looks like he got up late.

 

Sir Michael Fallon

was a trifle too hands on.

He touched up a lady reporter

which he didn’t oughter.

 

Just a quick note – it’s OK for clerihews to be bad, that’s really part of the form. In fact I’m worried that these scan too well, which comes close to making them limericks.

I’m thinking about doing a whole series on UK Prime Ministers, because the world needs more poems about Pitt the Younger and the Earl of  Bute, though at least the latter will be easy to rhyme. I’m not looking forward to Campbell-Bannerman.

Political Limericks and Other Poems

Warning, this post may include tedium. This is particularly true for overseas readers who may not recognise any of the names.

I was intending to write some political limericks last week, but haven’t been firing on all cylinders after being ill. A limerick, with five lines, two rhymes (AABBA) and anapestic meter is trickier than it looks. Even when my brain is replete with fish and purring like a sardine-stuffed cat, questions of metre have a tendency to take the shine off my day.

The answer I adopted, in line with my normal policy of lowering standards to match results, is to cut out all the difficult bits. That would suggest a clerihew, a form often used to make fun of famous figures. The rhymes are easy (AABB) and it has a sensibly easy-going view of line length and metre.

Theresa May

Gave a poll lead away

She lost her majority

and offended her sorority

or

Jeremy Corbyn

Rhymes with next to nothin’

A beardy, weirdy smarty

Who leads the Labour party

To be fair, I’m not sure how smart he is. As long as it isn’t libellous (and I’m pretty sure that accusing politicians of intelligence is not defamatory) I think I’m in the clear as accuracy doesn’t seem too important in clerihews.

Nicola Salmon

Has a tendency to bang on

About places north of the border

That sound a bit like Mordor

Other parties are available, but I can’t remember the names of any of the leaders.

I then had a look at senryu. They are like haiku but without the rules –  no cutting words, no season words and no nature. Seventeen syllables or less. You can include humour and human foibles. They are almost the limerick of Japanese poetry and, apart from throwing a selection of words on the table to see what happens, there can’t be many easier ways to write a poem.

Ripples of applause

A political speech

The sound of lyres

Sorry, it’s a cheap shot but I couldn’t resist.

As for my comment on throwing a selection of words on the table, there is a poet who does that at workshops. I forget her name but she was on Radio Four a couple of weeks ago when it was National Poetry Day. She travels the world with a big bag of words running poetry workshops in a career that makes professional cuddler look almost mainstream.