One of my limerick-writing pals has challenged me to hold a Double-Dactyl-Off. My initial response was “What the hell’s a double dactyl?”
So I Googled it, read the rules, and attempted to write a couple of them myself. I’ll try to summarize the rules here and will provide links to some good resources and samples. (Don’t worry if you find the rules confusing. Once you read a couple of examples, they make more sense.)
1) A double dactyl is a two stanza (eight line) humorous poem consisting mostly of dactyls. What’s a dactyl? A dactyl has three syllables, one stressed followed by two unstressed (/ _ _ ).
2) Line 1 is a nonsense phrase consisting of two dactyls (like Higgeldy Piggeldy or Dickery Dockery or Flippity Flappity.)
3) Line 2 is the name of a famous person (usually historic) but must be a double dactyl (like Emily Dickinson or Joseph DiMaggio or Hans Christian Andersen.)
4) Lines 4 and 8 must rhyme.
5) Somewhere in the second stanza there’s is a double dactyl formed by a single word (like megalomaniac or gubernatorial or idiosyncrasy.)
Here’s the form which I borrowed from Miss Rumphius.
1 – double dactyl nonsense phrase (like Higgeldy Piggeldy)
2 – double dactyl of a person’s name
3 – double dactyl
4 – one dactyl plus a stressed syllable (/ _ _ / )
5 – double dactyl
6 – double dactyl
7 – double dactyl
8 – one dactyl plus a stressed syllable (/ _ _ / )
(Wikipedia provides the rules and examples.)
Here are my first two attempts. (I invite you to post your own in my comments.)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Wrote the Eroica,
Sadly went deaf.
Gifted and masterful.
Some say he’s better than
Brahms. Need a ref.
David A. Paterson
Got to be gov cuz boss
Patterson governed us
Sure’s been a while since a
I’m looking forward to your double dactyls. Have fun! And if you’re on Facebook, please post your double dactyls here on Facebook too.