Thursday, February 5, 2009

From snakes to verse

If you needed another reason to be grateful you did not live 60,000 years ago, you now have one in the person of the largest snake ever. Giant vertebrae fossils of an alligator-hunting boa constrictor-type snake who weighed in at a ton have been found in Colombia. And if you need another reason to panic about the inevitability of global warming, consider this: our friend the giant snake thrives in steamy tropical temperatures much hotter than we are currently experiencing.
Chances are Edmund Clerihew did not worry about giant snakes because he was so busy inventing a the four-line poem that would be named after him. I find it hard to believe that I have lived all my life unaware of these delightful poems and that sad state of affairs would have continued had it not been for my friend Helen Barolini, doyenne of Italian-American letters and fellow member of the esteemed and centenarian Literature Club of Hastings on Hudson.(More about that later.) Clerihew's initial foray into the world of poetry was this:
Sir Humphry Davy
Was not fond of gravy.
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium.
And in his honor I posit this:

Of the the poet Edmund Clerihew
I never knew
His comic verse

To be so terse

Which probably makes it abundantly clear why I will not be seeking employment with Hallmark cards.

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