Double Dactyl


I’ve been working on a couple of poems lately, but they’ve been stubborn, resisting tweaking. I suspect they’ll languish for a week or two or more as report cards and comments take over. Perhaps they’ll be better for the break. Or perhaps I will be.

At any rate, I really wasn’t sure what I was going to share today, but then, this week on Facebook, poet Heidi Bee Roemer posed a challenge to write a double dactyl. Huh?  A double what? I’d never even heard of it and once I researched it, I was even more astonished.  There are more than a few hoops to jump through. It’s a double quatrain poem. The first three lines in each stanza must be double dactyls and the ending lines are dactyl spondee pairs and must rhyme. (Yeah, I totally had to look that up!) 

There are a few more requirements: You begin with a nonsense line, then name a person in the second line. The poem is then intended to “poke fun” at that person. Oh, also, the 6th line must be a one word double dactyl (like coincidentally or genealogical), but it should never have been used before in a double dactyl. (No, I’m not making that up, but I do think that final rule is typically disregarded.) I think that’s about it, but you can check out the definition here.

For some reason, I’ve been playing around with the form ever since. (Can you say “report card procrastination”?) I really do like the rhythm of it, and the challenge of jumping through those hoops. I tried to explain the form to my husband and to explain why it was fun to play with, but he just looked at me oddly. It’s still not quite where I want it, but it meets most of the listed requirements. I’ll keep tweaking this one too, but for now, without further ado, here’s my debut double dactyl:

Higgledy, Piggledy
Anakin Skywalker
tempted by dark forces
altered his name.

If he’d considered an
would he have risen to
cinema fame?

Molly Hogan ©2019

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by the wonderful Michelle Heidenrich Barnes of Today’s Little Ditty fame. She’s celebrating the release of her new collection, “The Best of Today’s Little Ditty, 2017-2018.” I’m over-the-moon excited to have three poems included in this collection.

17 thoughts on “Double Dactyl

  1. Linda Mitchell says:

    bwahahahahaha….bonus points for getting the word, “adenoidectomy” in a poem! I’m so glad you enjoyed this before finishing report cards.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lindabaie says:

    Oh my, I did the same thing this week, and I can’t even say that I had ‘report card procrastination’ but I’ve certainly worked on it quite a lot. I love what you wrote, and it is amazing what looong words we can come up with because of the “double dactyl”!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      It’s so much harder than it looks! Have you found yourself still randomly considering and saying words and names and considering if they’re double dactyls? lol I have!


  3. margaretsmn says:

    You rocked that DD challenge! Adenoidectomy? so clever!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. cvarsalona says:

    Wow, Molly. I had to get through the long definition before hitting upon your fun poem. You did a great job for a first time attempt. I am not sure I will even be able to get through the organization of the format.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I had to look up a lot to even decipher what the format was. I am not well versed in poetic terminology! Thanks for persevering through the long form description to read the poem 🙂


  5. Higgledy Piggledy! What an excellent double dactyl debut, Molly! Yes, lots of rules, but a ton of fun and so VERY addictive. Here’s a seasonal one I wrote a few years ago that you might enjoy:

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Oh, Michelle! Your double dactyl is extrasplendiferous (see what I did there? 😉 I struggled to make mine cohesive and you knocked that out of the park, along with all the other requirements! Love it!!! Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. kareneastlund4898 says:

    Great double dactyl, great final question! I’m challenged by DDs also… maybe I’ll post one sometime…Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well Molly, I’ve definitely been inspired by your poem and this form–nice poem! I’ve been working on one and may share it next week… Thanks!


  8. laurashovan222 says:

    Ha ha ha! This is hilarious, Molly. I’m going to be chuckling over the adenoidectomy all day.


  9. haitiruth says:

    Fun! Ruth,


  10. Bravo, Molly! That was quite a challenge. Thanks for sharing a bit more about the form.


  11. […] After enjoying far too many holiday goodies, I played around with a holiday double dactyl.  […]


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