In Poor Taste: Clerihews for the End of Time

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by Petrus Tornarius (March 2023)


Two Laughing Men
, Hans von Aachen, before 1574

 

It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing. —Duke Ellington

 

W.H. Auden
wrote clerihews too.
He aimed at the many,
but spoke for the few.

 

 

Amelia Bloomer
wished she’d done it sooner.
However, it seems,
her pantalettes weren’t jeans.

 

 

Andrew, Duke of York,
hated rude talk
but loved without fail
a nice little tale.

 

 

Hildegard von Bingen
wouldn’t quit singin’.
She lives in the cupboard
of the late rediscovered.

 

 

Adolf Hitler
had only one ball.
He was all too careless
of what might befall.

 

 

Rudolph William Louis Giuliani
is a martyr to blarney.
But he’s seldom averse
to the bad or the worse.

 

 

Xi Jinping
missed that Maoist zing.
He somehow forgot
he hadn’t liked it a lot.

 

 

Petrus Tornarius?
His scribbling’s a bore!
Is he coming or going?
Don’t know any more!

 

Table of Contents

 

Petrus Tornarius is the latinized name of the South African American poet Peter Dreyer—a form often used by some of his medieval German ancestors. He employs this pseudonym to sign poems he thinks “worth publishing, but perhaps a bit infra dig.” Dreyer is the author, among other books, of A Beast in View (London: André Deutsch), The Future of Treason (New York: Ballantine), and Martyrs and Fanatics: South Africa and Human Destiny (New York: Simon & Schuster; London: Secker & Warburg).

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