The Curious Case of the Double Dactyls and the Wasted Time

So here’s a thing – I’ve just discovered my new favourite verse form. It’s called the double dactyl, and I was thrown under the wheels of this particular poetical omnibus while following the tracks of noted Clerihovian Sam Wong. There are rules galore, but as with most things apart from keyhole surgery and flower arranging it is easiest to learn by example.

There are some beautiful such examples online – here is a selection of my favourites:

Higgledy Piggledy
Loch Ness’s residents
Have, in a beautifully
Elegant twist,

Uncovered evidence
Proving conclusively
Shouldn’t exist
(A. H. Templeton)


Vladimir Nabokov
Wrote with intelligence,
Passion and verve –

Middle American
Got him denounced as a
Dangerous perv
(Hardeep Q. Bompast)


Thundery Blundery
Alfred Lord Tennyson
Zealously studied the
Light Brigade’s Charge,

But never stopped to gain
With his own agent’s,
Which proved to be large.
(Cyrus Zangwill and Mordecai Oleogaster)


Plinkety Plonkety
Quantum mechanicists
Tried to tell particles
How to behave

Not having realised
Means every particle’s
Also a wave.
(Tyquon Doe)


Higgledy Piggledy
I know a scientist
Who thinks that infra red’s
Quite infra dig;

One day he said to me
“This is the decade that
Gonna be big.”
(Elizabeth Termagant [née Brunswick])


Higgledy Piggledy
Tenzing and Hillary
Once had a fight that went
On for a week,

Before concluding that,
What they had found was the
Wrong type of pique.
(Norman Tebbit and the Broadway cast of Rent)


Tra-la-la Fa-la-la
Kiri Te Kanawa
Once to Sarkozy was
Heard to exclaim:

I’m from New Zealand, Sir”
“Qui?” said the Frenchman and
“Oui” said the Dame.
(Eric Morecambe and Nathan the Wise)


“Hallelu Hallelu
Oscar B. Templeton
Died doing what he loved
Most – shall we say –

Passing the time, ahem,
Autoerotically –
With the exhaust pipe of
His Chevrolet”
(Edward Saïd with thanks to Nora Ephron)


Pat-a-cake Pat-a-cake
Cameron Mackintosh
Keeps getting scripts to his
London address,

Sent by a musically
Literate bevy of
Inkers no less.


Oy gevalt, Oy gevalt,
Jesus of Nazareth
Died on the cross so our
Souls wouldn’t die:

Now every Easter this
Life is remembered with
Chocolate – but why?
(St Augustine of Hippo and St Anthony of Rhino)

March 22nd 2013

Sadly, more to follow…


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