Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Clerihew of Revision


Djuna Barnes
Repeatedly yarns
All the bits that were good
Into Nightwood.

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Brainstorm: Detective Stories from the World of Neurology, by Suzanne O'Sullivan


"If a patient were to tap their tongue rhythmically in their mouth it might register in the brainwaves to look something like a seizure. The EEG electrodes cannot tell if the electrical activity they record comes directly from the brain or somewhere else. It is up to the doctor to differentiate a tapping tongue from a seizure."

From Chapter 6, August

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Clerihew for a Pale Writer


Katherine Anne Porter
Collected her shorter,
And then to no one's real surprise,
Promptly won the Pulitzer Prize.

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Siege of Krishnapur, by J. G. Farrell


"Sometimes, when you try to peer too intensely into the gloom, your eyes make you see things which do not exist..."

From Chapter 10

Monday, October 29, 2018

Clerihew for a Merry Fellow


Were I to call it,
Tobias Smollett
Should rank among the best of men;
Author, doctor, sailor, friend.

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Unvanquished, by William Faulkner


"The bullet went through the flesh of the inner side of the arm that had the rheumatism; that was why Uncle Buck cussed so bad: he said the rheumatism was bad enough, and the bullet was bad enough, but to have them both at once was too much for any man."

From Vendee, 2

Sunday, October 28, 2018

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From According to Queeney, by Beryl Bainbridge


"His deficiency of vision, Baretti observed, was generally most in evidence when he had no interest in the subjects before him."

From Revolution

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Clerihew for The Last Empire


Gore Vidal
Went to the wall
For what he thought was true and just
Even as the Empire went to dust.

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Dark Brain of Piranesi and Other Essays, by Marguerite Yourcenar


"It is not for us, so myopic when it comes to evaluating our own civilization, its errors, its chances of survival, and the opinion of it that the future will have, to be astonished that Romans of the third or fourth centuries were satisfied to the last with vague meditations on the vicissitudes of Fortune instead of interpreting more clearly the signs that their world was coming to an end."

From Faces of History in the Historia Augusta

Friday, October 26, 2018

Clerihew for a Fictional Diarist


Uwe Johnson
Drew upon gone
And forgotten Germanies
When writing Anniversaries.

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From A Far Cry from Kensington, by Muriel Spark


"'He's a pisseur de copie,' I said, and I said it because I couldn't help it. It just came out."

From Chapter 8

Thursday, October 25, 2018

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From In the Tennessee Country, by Peter Taylor


"It seemed clear to me, as such things are clear to children of an even mildly perceptive nature, that neither of those ladies had any marked fondness for children. Neither had had children of her own, and they were not women of remarkable imagination."

From Part One, page 49

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Lighthead: Poems, by Terrance Hayes


Ladies and gentlemen, ghosts and children of the state,
I am here because I could never get the hang of Time.
This hour, for example, would be like all the others
were it not for the rain falling through the roof.
I'd better not be too explicit. My night is careless
with itself, troublesome as a woman wearing no bra
in winter. I believe everything is a metaphor for sex.
Lovemaking mimics the act of departure, moonlight
drips from the leaves. You can spend your whole life
doing no more than preparing for life and thinking.
"Is this all there is?" Thus, I am here where poets come
to drink a dark strong poison with tiny shards of ice,
something to loosen my primate tongue and its syllables
of debris. I know all words come from preexisting words
and divide until our pronouncements develop selves.
The small dog barking at the darkness has something to say
about the way we live. I'd rather have what my daddy calls
"skrimp." He says "discrete" and means the street
just out of sight. Not what you see, but what you perceive:
that's poetry. Not the noise, but its rhythm; an arrangement
of derangements; I'll eat you to live: that's poetry.
I wish I glowed like a brown-skinned pregnant woman.
I wish I could weep the way my teacher did as he read us
Molly Bloom's soliloquy of yes. When I kiss my wife,
sometimes I taste her caution. But let's not talk about that.
Maybe Art's only purpose is to preserve the Self.
Sometimes I play a game in which my primitive craft fires
upon an alien ship whose intention is the destruction
of the earth. Other times I fall in love with a word
like somberness. Or moonlight juicing naked branches.
All species have a notion of emptiness, and yet
the flowers don't quit opening. I am carrying the whimper
you can hear when the mouth is collapsed, the wisdom
of monkeys. Ask a glass of water why it pities
the rain. Ask the lunatic yard dog why it tolerates the leash.
Brothers and sisters, when you spend your nights
out on a limb, there's a chance you'll fall in your sleep.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Brush Fires in the Social Landscape, by David Wojnarowicz


"My earliest memory is of hearing a police siren go by."

From A Conversation with Nan Goldin

Monday, October 22, 2018

Clerihew for a Sortabiography


Eric Idle,
In search of a title,
His autobiography meaning to write,
Turned once again to the side which is bright.

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Tao of Travel, by Paul Theroux


"If the customs and manners of men were everywhere the same, there would be no office so dull as that of a traveller; for the difference of hills, valleys, rivers; in short, the various views in which we may see the face of the earth, would scarce afford him a pleasure worthy of his labour..."

From Travel Wisdom of Henry Fielding

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Clerihew for the Funny Lady


No simple band
For La Streisand.
She much prefers full orchestrations
Behind her lush vociferations.

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Last Stories, by William Trevor


"He felt for the key in his pocket, wanting to take it out and look at it because sometimes if you did a memory would come out of the fogginess of nothing. But he didn't in case the woman would think he was peculiar, looking at a key."

From Giotto's Angel

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Clerihew for ein gutes Deutsch


Gregor von Rezzori
Decided he must tell the story
Of that ancient, deadly blight
In The Memoirs of an Anti-Semite.

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Wings of the Dove, by Henry James


"Luckily he didn't wish, even though there might be for a man almost a shade of the awful in so unqualified a consequence of his act."

From Book Ninth, Chapter I

Friday, October 19, 2018

Clerihew for Thalassa


Rachel Carson
At the bar one
Explained a dune.

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From A Mencken Chrestomathy, by H. L. Mencken


"Even pedagogues, it appears, have a certain capacity for learning.
But not much."

from The Striated Muscle Fetish

Thursday, October 18, 2018


Clerihew for a Towering Queer


Stefan George
Despite being "that way",
Was unmoved by Nazi beauties
Preferring anti-fascist cuties.

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Poems, by Stefan George, translated by Carol North Valhope


I journeyed home: such flood of blossoms never
Had welcomed me… a throbbing in the field
And in the grove there was of sleeping powers.
I saw the river, slope and shire enthralled,
And you, my brothers, sun-heirs of the future:
Your eyes, still chase, are harboring a dream,
Once yearning thoughts in you, to blood shall alter…
My sorrow-stricken life to slumber leans,
But graciously does heaven's promise guerdon
The fervent… who may never pace the Realm.
I shall be earth, shall be the grave of heroes,
That sacred sons approach to be fulfilled.
With them the second age comes, love engendered
The world, again shall love engender it.
I spoke the spell, the circle has been woven…
Before the darkness fall, I shall be snatched
Aloft and know: through cherished fields shall wander
On weightless soles, aglow and real, the God. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Clerihew for Lolly


Sylvia Townsend Warner
Sat down in the corner
Fed the cat a bit o' flitch
And turned the lady into a witch.

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl


"Good heavens, thought James. What is going to happen in that case if they do meet an earthworm?"

From Chapter 5

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Clerihew for a Wee Queen


As a child,
Oscar Wilde
Would grow quite pale
At any mention of Reading Gaol.

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Delights & Shadows: Poems, by Ted Kooser

After the funeral, the mourners gather
under the rustling churchyard maples
and talk softly, like clusters of leaves.
White shirt cuffs and collars flash in the shade:
highlights on deep green water.
They came this afternoon to say goodbye,
but now they keep saying hello and hello,
peering into each other’s faces,
slow to let go of each other’s hands.

Monday, October 15, 2018

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Charles Bovary, Country Doctor: Portrait of a Simple Man, by Jean Amery, translated by Adrian Nathan West


"The man who writes about Emma Bovary knows nothing of what will happen to him later. He knows only that these things occur, that it is sad, but also suggests a lapse in the person affected."

From The Reality of Gustave Flaubert

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Clerihew Through Doors


Should you read
Mohsin Hamid,
You'll find little rest
In Exit West.

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid


"We are all migrants through time."

From Chapter Ten