tagHow ToDoggerel for Dummies Pt. 02

Doggerel for Dummies Pt. 02


In May 2007, I wrote a "How to" essay entitled "Doggerel for Dummies," which consisted of suggestions on writing fun poetry. This is a continuation of that first essay, and it discusses more advanced rhymestering.

At that time, I concentrated on couplets and limericks. The former are two consecutive lines that are in the same meter and have last words that rhyme. An example was:

the BLONDE in THE caSIno, WORE her COAT down TO her KNEES.
she WALKED up TO the TAble AND she SAID, "ExCUSE me, PLEASE.
i WANT to SHOOT some CRAPS here AND i WANT to BET the MAX."
and PLACED her MOney ON the LINE that SAID that SHE would PASS.

As I said before, an iamb, which rhymes with "my lamb" is two consecutive syllables, with the second one stressed, or accented. As I did then, I have written the stressed syllables in all caps.

Of course, poems with an iambic meter are not the only kinds of doggerel, although they may be the most common. Another form of meter is the dactyl, which rhymes with "Jack will" and is a stressed syllable followed by two that are unstressed. An example, also one which I wrote a few years ago follows:

a YOUNG man was MOving inTO an aPARTment and ON down the HALLway he STRODE.
a WOman was STANDing aLONE by a DOORway; her BOdy was WRAPPED in a ROBE.
they STARted conVERsing; she SPREAD her arms Open, the ROBE opened UP in the FRONT.
the YOUNG man was TREATed to VIEWS of her TITties and OF her magNIficent CUNT.

This was purely doggerel, because it was a joke told in the form of a poem. If you want to see the punch line, you'll have to look in my index to find it, but it's three stanzas, all of them made up of double dactyls.

Here is another one and, once again, if you want to read the punch line, you can go to my index and find it. I use my own stuff because I like to have people read it and I don't want to run afoul of any copyright laws.

a BIG bunch of BIkers were HANGing toGETHer one NIGHT in their FAVorite PUB.
when IN walked a WOman who LOUDly anNOUNCED that she WANTEDed to JOIN in the CLUB.
"i FUCK and i SUCK and my PUSsy is WET and my ASS is all OILy and SLICK.
so START lining UP; it's a TRAIN that i WANT, any GUY with a COCK or a DICK."

Before I go any further, I want to say that I always capitalize the first word of a line of poetry, even doggerel, and the first person singular "I" is also in the upper case. I have used the lower case letters here for the purpose of better clarity.

I might actually be fudging a bit with the stanzas of doggerel I have included here. You may notice that I start each line with an unstressed syllable and end them with one that is accented, which is not quite in keeping with the definition of a dactyl. That's okay. You write doggerel for your own fun and for the enjoyment of some people who might happen to read it. There is no such group as the poetry police, or even the doggerel police who are going to haul you off to prison for breaking the rules.

However, there is a verse form which has quite stringent rules, and it is called the double dactyl. Like limericks, these are fun poems, or doggerel. A double dactyl type of poem consists of two stanzas, each one having four lines, with the last words or syllables in either of the two stanzas rhyming. It's called a double dactyl because the first three lines of each stanza consist of a pair of dactyls, and the last lines of the stanzas are made up of a dactyl and the final, rhyming word. These are sometimes called "higglety-piggleties," because the first line of the first stanza is most often a nonsense line in double dactyl form, and that collection of syllables is a good example. The purpose of the nonsense line is to establish the meter of the poem.

One sticky rule about Double Dactyls is that one of the lines that includes two dactyls has to be the name of a reasonably well known person, such as EDward m. KENnedy or WILliam the CONqueror. The name can appear in either stanza, and the other sticky rule is that the stanza that does not include the name has to include a word that consists of six syllables and is also a Double Dactyl, such as HETeroSEXual or IDioSYNcrasy.

To use an example, here is a double dactyl I wrote concerning a series of incidents that happened about ten years ago:

SILlious BILlious
HUSband of HILlary
MADE it with INterns and
LIED to the COURT.

ONE day the HOUSE told him
THIS is just SCANdalous
KEN Starr's rePORT.

Or, for the sake of bipartisanship, although this one will only be timely for a short while longer:

PRESident DOUBle-you
LIStens to PREACHer men
TELling him LIES.

HE needs a KICK in the
JOGgle his BRAINS to get
RID of those GUYS.

As you can see, the "name" doesn't necessarily have to be a proper name, as long as it clearly identifies the subject of the poem. The six-syllable word must be a single word, although it can be hyphenated, such as in the example.

Neither this essay nor the previous one are meant to describe all doggerel. I will be writing more on the subject, and repeating more examples in future essays.

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