Lucy Vickery

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

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