Double Dactyls

October 1, 2020

October Snakeskin is full of good things, but its most noticeable feature is a Festival of Double Dactyls, featuring the work of several excellent versifiers. For those of you who don’t know the Double-Dee, this Wikipedia page gives a good summary. But if you go to October Snakeskin and plunge in, you’ll get the idea pretty quickly.

The Double-Dactyl really must be the jolliest of light-verse forms (I much prefer it to the limerick). Here’s one I wrote a very long time ago:

Chungalow Bungalow
Hans Christian Anderson
Wrote of sweet mermaids who
Grace the sea-bed.

When people asked him for
Details he stammered and
Went very red.

If you’ve any double-dactyls of your own, why not add them to the comments section of this post?

Meanwhile, today (October 1st) is National Poetry Day, an annual occasion which I celebrated in verse a while back. You can read the poem here.


14 Responses to “Double Dactyls”

  1. Nell Nelson Says:

    I adore this form! I had missed that it was coming up. Will go and take a squinny!

  2. That’s a tricky form, but fun. Here’s one …

    Hip Hippopotamus
    Louis of Battenberg’s
    Name is preserved in the
    Battenberg Cake.

    Although not Prussian-like
    Quirky, delectable
    Easy to bake.

  3. I cheated a bit there, George. Love this poetic form. It’s new to me and quite challenging. I’ll practice.

  4. Nina Parmenter Says:

    Ooyakah Booyakah
    Dear Queen Elizabeth’s
    ninety-third birthday turned
    into a rave.

    She did the running man
    crafting a move from her
    famed royal wave.

  5. Joe Crocker Says:

    Here are a couple of failed entries to the recent Spectator competition looking for double-dactyls celebrating musicians.

    O-bla-di, O-bla-da,
    John, Paul, George, Ringo Starr,
    Lovable Liverpool
    Lads – the mop tops!

    Spawned Beatle mania,
    Madness?). Just once
    Playing Top of the Pops.


    Scaramouche, Scaramouche,
    Frederick Mercury,
    Killer Queen, laser beam,

    Rhapsody (Parody!)
    Hit the high notes,
    Needing no helium.

    • Joe Crocker Says:

      Oops. Incorrectly formatted last line on both examples. (First word of last lines should be last word of penultimate lines.)

  6. John Wood Says:

    Fumbly bumbly
    Captain Calamity
    “Follows the science” with a
    Grin and a wink.

    Just as he, riskily,
    Peers optimistically
    Over the brink.

  7. John Wood Says:

    Finding this rather addictive!

    Tearily beerily
    Lily Labotmy
    Lives in obscurity
    None know her name.

    Reckon the chances are
    This double dactyl will
    Shoot her to fame.

  8. John Wood Says:

    Last one, I promise!

    Bankable bunkable
    Valery Singleton
    Still brings a tingle on
    After so long.

    Picturing clearly her
    Flashes of childhood these
    Forty years on.

  9. John Wood Says:

    One more then. Appreciate the vote but I badly need to clear my head of spinning dactyls!

    Prodigal shodigal
    William McGonagall
    Lived in an age where great
    Craft was admired.

    Now, it seems, dissonant
    Unstructured poems are
    What are required.

  10. John Wood Says:

    OK, here’s the second. It came to me, unwelcome and uninvited, in this morning’s bath. Perhaps this is to be my eternal torment. . .

    Trampily Trumpily
    King Ozymandias
    Lives in a fable of
    Power and greed.

    Whether dynastic or
    Featureless desert is
    Where they will lead.

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