Saturday, March 24, 2012

A clerihew

My Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms defines a "clerihew" as "a form of comic verse named after its inventor, Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956). It consists of two metrically awkward couplets and usually presents a ludicrously uninformative 'biography' of some famous person whose name appears as one of the rhymed words in the first couplet."

The dictionary offers this example:

Geoffrey Chaucer
Could hardly have been coarser,
But this never harmed the sales
Of his Canterbury Tales.

Reading that, I suddenly remembered a poem W.H. Auden once recited on the old Dick Cavett Show, and at last I recognized it for the clerihew it was:

John Milton
Never slept in a Hilton
Which is just as well.

So here, now, is a clerihew of my own (actually my only one) on a musical subject.

Johann Sebastian Bach
Possessed a limitless stock
Of contrapuntal profundity
And full-frontal rotundity.

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