Tag Archives: clerihew

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.