A clerihew has the following properties:
1. It is biographical and usually whimsical, showing the subject from an unusual point of view; it usually pokes fun at famous people.
2. It has four lines of irregular length (for comic effect); the third and fourth lines are usually longer than the first two
3. The rhyme structure is AABB; the subject matter and wording are often humorously contrived in order to achieve a rhyme
4. The first line consists solely (or almost solely) of the subject's name.)
I wrote a bunch of rock-and-roll clerihews last year to show my creative-writing students that I was willing to do what I was asking them to do. Not all of them turned out well. Below, in alphabetical order by subject, are some that did.
Than Robert Zimmerman
there was seldom a slimmer man.
Like the thin man about whom he once wrote a ballad,
he was by any standard one tossed salad.
made a roll in the hay
seem like medicinal fun.
Too bad his father owned a gun.
Odd--even his hero, Peter Pan,
has the rudiments of a tan.
was no John Wesley.
True, he often sang praises to his Savior,
but, Lord, did he engage in bad behavior!
LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III
The tertiary Wainwright
got human pain right.
But it was his song about a dumb skunk’s blunder
that made him into a one-hit wonder.