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Double-Dactyl

A Double-Dactyl is a fun (and often silly) form of poetry to write, with some challenging rules to follow.

First, the poem must be written in dactyls, a metrical foot which consists of one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables.

The poem has two stanzas, and each stanza has four lines. The first three lines of each stanza must contain two dactyls, and the fourth line must contain a single dactyl followed by one accented syllable.

The last lines of the two stanzas must rhyme.

In addition to these requirements, the first line of the first stanza must be nonsense words, then second line of the first stanza must be a proper noun, the subject of the poem. Finally, one line of the second stanza must be a double-dactyl word (a word such as valedictorian or Mediterranean, which contains six syllables in the meter stressed, unstressed, unstressed, stressed, unstressed, unstressed.

With all of that as background, here is an example of double-dactyl poetry:

George Washington's Cherry Tree
Axity Waxity,
President Washington
Chopped down a cherry tree
When just a child;

All of this foolishness,
Historiographers
Tell us, is only a
Legend most wild.

(Copyright 2010 by Douglas Twitchell)

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