Tag Archives: Clerihews

Letter to North West

Dear North (of Kim and Kanye West),

When feeding, bite your mother’s breast

For giving you the sort of name

That fills one’s life with tears and shame.

a clerihew by Paul “Whitberg” Burgess

“Taylor Swift”

Vindictive Missus Taylor Swift
Provided her career a lift
With spiteful songs about the guys
Who’d spent some time between her thighs.

a clerihew by Paul Burgess

…“Pills” gave me chills, so for a lift…a bit of “Taylor Swift”

“A Disappointed Hunter Reads Harper Lee” by Paul Burgess

“A Disappointed Hunter Reads Harper Lee”

Mendacious Missus Harper Lee,
Your book’s misleading as can be.
From start to end, there’s not a word
On how to kill a mockingbird.

“Little Bo Peep” and “The Wife of Bath”–2 Clerihews by Paul Burgess

“Little Bo Peep”
Neglectful Little Miss Bo Peep
So poorly tends her flock of sheep
That Earth and Heaven now forbid
Her being mother to a kid.

“The Wife of Bath”
Chaucer’s loving Wife of Bath
Began to learn the art of math
To help her better keep the count
Of men who she’d been known to mount.

Edgar Allan Poe, Marie Antoinette, Mary Queen of Scots, and Ernest Hemingway–4 Clerihews by Paul Burgess

“Edgar Allan Poe”
Edgar “Raven” Allan Poe
To cemeteries liked to go
And mourn the cousins lying dead
Who nevermore would share his bed. *

*While many of my clerihews are absurd, this one comes somewhat close to the truth.

“Marie Antoinette”
The queen, Marie Antoinette,
In Vegas made a foolish bet.
She wagered both her neck and head
On men forgetting what she’d said.

“Mary Queen of Scots”
Mary, lovely Queen of Scots,
Refused to sleep on hay or cots.
She cried, “This cot’s no feather bed!”
Queen Bess* replied, “Off with her head!”

*Elizabeth I’s nickname.

“Ernest Hemingway”
Insecure old* Ernest Hemingway
Was afraid that people’d think him gay*,
So he vowed he’d never leave Japan
‘til he’d fought Godzilla like a man.*

*In the first foot of each line, I have used anapests instead of iambs.
*Hemingway was the sort of “manly man” who would exaggerate his masculinity to alleviate his sexual confusion.

*I apologize for the sexist assumption that only men would fight Godzilla.

Elizabeth I–the 5th Clerihew by Paul Burgess

A clerihew about the brilliant “virgin” queen:

“Elizabeth I”
Good Queen Elizabeth the First
Among all liars was the worst.
She was a virgin, people said,
Including those who shared her bed.
(Alternate ending: Because they’d rather keep their head[s]…)

“Old McDonald”–a 3rd Clerihew-inspired quatrain by Paul Burgess

“Old McDonald”

On Old McDonald’s cattle farm
There was no anti-theft alarm
Ensuring that he’d be awake
When thieves did all his cattle take.

“Mother Goose”–a 2nd Clerihew by Paul Burgess

[The 1st in a series of clerihews and clerihew-inspired quatrains about figures from nursery rhymes, folk tales, legends, and myths. I will call these poems “clerihew-inspired quatrains” when no lines end with the subject’s name.]

“Mother Goose”

Though kindly looked Old Mother Goose,
Her morals were extremely loose.
She robbed some banks and used the cash
To build upon her cocaine stash.