Friday, May 16, 2014

Double Dactyl

It's Poetry Friday and Elizabeth Steinglass hosts the roundup today.

The double dactyl is one of the craziest forms of poetry I've every tried to write, but it's lots of fun.

Rules for writing a double dactyl:

1. Two stanzas of four lines each.

2. All lines except 4 and 8 are dactylic metrical feet. A dactyl has a stressed beat followed by two unstressed beats.

3. The first line is rhyming dactylic nonsense, like Higgledy, piggledy.

4. The second line introduces the topic of the poem, usually a person or a place. It helps if the name is naturally dactylic, like Hans Christian Anderson.

5. The second line of the second stanza is a six-syllable, double dactylic word, like parliamentarian.

6. Lines four and eight have one dactyl and one stressed syllable.

7. Lines four and eight rhyme.

Frontispiece portrait of Roald Amundsen, 1872-1928. In: "The South Pole", Volume II, Treasures of the NOAA Library Collection, by Mr. Steve Nicklas.

First to the Pole

Lickety splickety
Roald E. Amundsen
hitched up his huskies and
raced for the goal.

Finishing first, his team
raised Norway's flag as they
claimed the South Pole.

© Doraine Bennett


  1. This came out so well, Doraine! I love your nonfic spin. :)

  2. Thanks all. I wish I had time to respond to everyone, but comments are at the very bottom of my to do list today. ;)

  3. Nice! I love how you used his middle initial. Very clever. I like the nonfiction spin too.

  4. I always love learning about poetic forms and structures - I know I have more to learn in disciplining my verse to fit a specific type of rhythm. :) Thank you for this!

  5. What a great double dactyl, Dori. I've been working on one this week, but it doesn't hold together nearly as well as yours!

  6. Late to this party, but I do love me some double dactyls!
    Bravo, bravo - terrific. :0)