Thursday, December 11, 2008

double dactyl

Someone participating in last week’s wordzzle alluded to a form called double dactyl. It’s like a limerick but with more rules. Of course I had to check and see. Here are the rules, according to Wikipedia:

A dactyl is a poetic foot of the form >-- (ON-off-off). For example, matador, realize, cereal, limerick, etc. A double dactyl can therefore mean simply two dactyls in a row.

A double dactyl is also a verse form, also known as "higgledy piggledy," invented by Anthony Hecht and Paul Pascal in 1961. Like a limerick, it has a rigid structure and is usually humorous, but the double dactyl is considerably more rigid and difficult to write. There must be two stanzas, each comprising three lines of dactylic dimeter followed by a line with a dactyl and a single accent. The two stanzas have to rhyme on their last line. The first line of the first stanza is repetitive nonsense. The second line of the first stanza is the subject of the poem, a proper noun. Note that this name must itself be double-dactylic. There is also a requirement for at least one line of the second stanza to be entirely one double dactyl word, for example "va-le-dic-tor-i-an".

So there you have it.

And here is my first attempt:

Corruptus Int’ruptus

Rod R. Blagojevich

Auctioned the senator’s

Seat on the cheap.

Claimed twas for family

Sold with alacrity

Surrender Dorothy

Sow what you reap.


Jeff B said...

Splendid job, both on the writing and the deciphering of the rules.

Dr.John said...

I think you did well but I have trouble with the rules.

Maithri said...


What a gift you have...

Loved every word,

Peace and laughter, Maithri

Raven said...

Wow! Well done. Too difficult for me, I think. Rules always scare me.
Missed you at wordzzles, of course, but this was brilliant.

gabrielle said...

Jeff B – Thanks so much. Was it you who suggested the double dactyl form? I had so much fun with it!

Dr. John - I too have trouble with rules.

Maithri - So happy you stopped by. I had lots of inspiration from Chicago for this ditty. Sparkling laughter to you, my friend.

Raven –Thanks so much for the kind words. I only follow rules that make sense. These were somehow irresistible. So I was determined to see if I could make sense of them. Enjoyed all of the clever wordzzles this week. See you again this Friday.

Dianne said...

I love this! I had to read the rules several times but I'm still not sure I could do it

I'm still struggling with Haiku ;)

love the subject matter!

the walking man said...

Oh great; another form to learn.

Gabrielle you have just made a lazy poets life harder by a degree or two.
Thank You!

gabrielle said...

Diane – I’m so glad you enjoyed my ditty. I have no doubt you could write one if you wanted to. You are a truly gifted writer. But honestly, you have to be a little coo coo to venture into the territory. Be advised. A double dactyl is usually easier if preceded by a double anything of your choice.

The walking man - Thank you. I am honored. Your poetry is exquisite.