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Spectator competition winners: Foggily-froggily/ Michel B. Barnier…: topical double dactyls

3 December 2017

9:45 AM

3 December 2017

9:45 AM

The latest competition, a wildly popular one, invited you to compose topical double dactyls.

The double dactyl was dreamed up in 1951 by the poet Anthony Hecht and the classical scholar Paul Pascal. My well-thumbed copy of Jiggery-Pokery, a wonderful 1967 compendium of the form edited by Hecht and the poet John Hollander, reveals with pride that Auden (to whom the book is dedicated) used the form ‘thrice’ for the choruses in his Aesopian playlets Moralities.

Double dactyls generally bring out the best in you, and this comp elicited an entertaining parade of double dactylic notables — and pursuits egomaniacal, unoligarchical, prosecutorial, heterosexual, philoprogenitive…

The winners earn £15 each, but in a strong field Bill Greenwell, Penelope Mackie, Philip Roe and J. Kerr shone too.

Hugh King
Michel B. Barnier,
Consummate bureaucrat,
Raises the price,

Crushing the will of our
Flummoxed and browbeaten
Held in his vice.

Nick MacKinnon
Higgledy piggledy
Pastuso Paddington
gets himself banged up in
Pentonville gaol. 

Even the lairiest
joins in the whip-round for
Paddington’s bail.

Adrian Fry
Manchester’s Morrissey
Goes back to crooning, his
Novel a fail.

Hoping his audience,
Still want to hear a man
Tunelessly wail.

W.J. Webster
Anthony Joshua
Heavyweight champion
Top of the pile;

Talks of his legacy
Nemesis listens and
Smiles a slow smile.

George Simmers
Benedict Cumberbatch,
Won’t you indulge in a
Three-in-bed romp?

While you’re behaving so
I have got nothing to
Mock in this comp.

Rob Stuart
Yummily, mummily,
Catherine Middleton’s
Pregnant again to the
Rapture of Wills. 

I’d be as lavishly
If I could stretch to the
Nursery bills.

Joseph Conlon
Emily Thornberry,
Feminist lawyer and
Labour MP,

Speaks with a manner quite
Save when men style her as
Lady Nugee.

Rob Hirst
Taxily, maxily,
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Gave the inheritance
Levy a hitch. 

Trump says ‘Repeal it! Our
Future depends on my
Kids staying rich!’

Frank Osen
Limberly, Kimberly,
Khloé Kardashian,
Kourtney, and Robbie seem
Destined for Fame’s

Roster, since they all have
Speaking) stupendously
Talented names.

Robert Schechter
Higgledy piggledy,
Ludwig van Beethoven,
if he could glimpse what our
world has become,

likely would find a new
for his immortal phrase:
dum dum dum DUM!

Max Gutmann
George Papadopoulos,
‘Fetcher of coffee’ the
Trumpists have said,

Met with the Russians, so
Maybe Trump sent him for
Vodka instead.

Your next challenge is to provide a new year’s resolution (or more than one, if you like) in verse. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to by midday on 27 December.

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