Mister Micawber

Double Dactyls

 (The double-dactyl is a short verse form invented by the American poets Anthony Hecht and John Hollander in 1966. The poem consists of one sentence containing forty-four syllables that are distributed over eight lines and fall into two four-line stanzas.  The first three lines of each stanza are dactylic dimeter; the last one is a choriamb. The two stanzas end with a masculine rhyme on the last syllable of the choriamb. The final feature of the form is found in line six of the poem: a single, six-syllable word which is a double dactyl.)


Higgeldy piggeldy
Thomas A. Edison,
Deaf old inventor and
industry's friend,

Ushered the age in of
post-incandescency,
leaving his mark on it:
Reg. US Pat. pend.


Higgeldy piggeldy
William the Conqueror
brought to the Britons
the continent's taste.

They in a manner quite
Anglo-Saxonian
stubbornly stated that
Hastings makes waste.


Hibbitry-hobbitry
J.R.R. Tolkien
conjured a world up of
wizard and elf.

Leagues of beleaguering
antidiluvian
detail suggest he be-
lieved it himself.


Higgeldy piggeldy
Jesus of Nazareth –
water to walk on and
turn into wine;

But, sour-graped by one
Pontius Pilate, he
(anthropomorphically)
died on the vine.


Higgeldy piggeldy
H.R.H. George the Third,
fraught by colonial
tax discontent,

Muttered laconically,
semi-Teutonically:
"Vat do dey know about
zelf-government?"


Higgeldy piggeldy
Gilbert and Sullivan,
musical comedy's
crème de la crème –

Higgeldy-piggeldy's
Mephistophelean,
idiot verses will
get back at them!


Higgeldy piggeldy
Helena Rubenstein,
builder of beauty from
shadow to base,

vendor of all things that
ultracosmetically
aid the less comely in
saving of face.