MaryJane Butters was milking her cow

When Megan cried, “Hurry, Mom, follow me NOW.”

Together, they ran to the garden to see …

A beanstalk (heirloom) as big as a tree.

Photo by Tim Sackton via Flickr

That, my friends, was a clerihew.


No—like this:


More than mere willy-nilly rhyming verse, this type of half-pint poem has rather distinct rules. A true clerihew must contain …

  1. A bit of wit
  2. Four lines of uneven length with the rhyming scheme AABB
  3. The name of the subject within the first line

But, wait—there’s more …

According to Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956), originator of the form (at age 16!), a true clerihew will either a) position the subject’s name at the end of the first line, or b) use only the name as the first line. Why? Because the whole point of the poem, he declared, is to rhyme with awkward names.

Maybe I need to take another stab at it? Perhaps something more along these lines:

MaryJane Butters

Was stymied by stutters

When she spied a strange cat

Wearing THIS as a hat.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    That clip of the kitty and chicken is too much! I am trying to imagine my Mr.Bump doing that and somehow I keep “seeing” a dead chick!

  2. Karlyne says:

    Thanks for the first, and probably one of the best, laughs of the day!

  3. Nice job! You are quite the poet, do you know it? And kitty is very patient! Too cute!

  4. Cindi says:

    Oh that was fun!!! The cat and the hat … 😀

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