Today is Clerihew Day, a holiday that celebrates the birthday of British author and journalist Edmund Clerihew Bentley (July 10, 1875-March 30, 1956), who invented the purposefully silly type of rhyming verse that bears his middle name.
A clerihew consists of four lines in AA, BB rhyming couplets. (The first and second lines rhyme with each other; the third rhymes with the fourth.) According to legend, Bentley constructed the first clerihew as a schoolboy, regarding Sir Humphry Davy.
Sir Humphry Davy
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered Sodium.
To which we would like to add:
We’re not sure why Davy
couldn’t stomach gravy.
Was it his fault?
Did he add too much salt?
One of our favorite clerihews comes from X.J. Kennedy’s Famous Poems Abbreviated:
Once upon a midnight dreary,
Blue and lonesome, missed my dearie.
Would I find her? Any hope?
Quoth the raven six times, “Nope.”
Here’s our challenge to you, dear reader:
Why not compose a clerihew?
If you enjoy it, write a few.
Soon you will be called a poet
But none will say you didn’t know it.
Have a happy Clerihew Day!