Double Dactyls

Not THAT Double Dactyl!Today’s contest is a little harder than the others have been. But – that means you’ll have less competition for the prizes! We’re asking you to write, and send us, a double dactyl.

What’s a double dactyl? Here’s the definition, plus a few examples. To be clear, we’re asking for the 8-line poem, not just two dactyls in a row. Here are a few more examples, though I’d take issue with the third one. There are many others online too, you don’t have to look hard to find them.

They don’t have to be about handhelds, mobile, or any kind of tech – we’re adding no restrictions to the ones imposed by the form. Just write a double dactyl following the rules (8 lines in the correct meter, 2 rhyming verses, one proper name, one single-word line).

It’s not really as hard as it sounds, once you get started. I gave people here a few days to work on theirs, and at least some of us had a hard time stopping.

We’ll judge and announce winners on Monday, so you can have all weekend to work on them.

Good luck!

This is the last contest in our week-long 11 year anniversary celebration. We’ll give away one $121 Amazon gift certificates for the best and funniest entry, and runner-up prizes of a complete package of our software and swag to many others. Enter as many times as you like, by sending your entry as a reply to this post. Employees and friends of Ilium Software aren’t eligible to win the prizes, but are welcome (and encouraged) to participate anyway. Today’s contest closes at 9:00 a.m. eastern time Monday morning.

36 thoughts on “Double Dactyls

  1. Ellen Post author

    Here’s mine:

    Sneakity snakitly
    Salazar Slytherin
    Founded his house back when
    Hogwarts was new

    Students who lived there, quite
    Fought on the side of the
    Dread You-Know-Who

  2. Ellen Post author

    A few words to help you get started:


  3. Matt

    While thinking about this quote…
    Responding to questions from New York Times correspondent John Markoff at a Churchill Club breakfast gathering Thursday morning, Colligan laughed off the idea that any company — including the wildly popular Apple Computer — could easily win customers in the finicky smart-phone sector.

    “We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,” he said. “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.'”

    … I came up with this tribute to Palm CEO Ed Colligan:

    Lumpity, Bumpity
    CEO Colligan
    thought that the iPhone would
    not be a threat

    Stock market analysts
    say Palm stock buying is
    not a good bet.

  4. Matt

    Lickity Splickity
    Rex Racer/Racer X
    Hard to believe it but
    No one suspects.

    Isn’t it obvious
    “Speed Racer” guys that ReX
    Racer is “X”?

    (note: in the movie Speed suspects almost immediately but in the original cartoon it takes him many episodes to work it out)

  5. Matt

    One more. I can quit at any time.
    Dedicated to our product manager, Marc:

    Starwarsy, Starwarsy
    Marc Tassin, Marc Tassin
    Star Wars’s biggest fan
    equalled nowhere

    Stressed from defending the
    prequels from haters he
    tore out his hair

  6. Matt

    Ok, I think I have to admit I actually can’t stop. They tell me that’s the first step to realizing you have a problem.

    Kevin (our QA guy) says: “why isn’t the next release of eWallet out yet?” “Our programmer was writing poems instead.”

    Wappity Bappity
    Ilium Software, Inc
    Had a new contest to
    Make up a rhyme

    Postponed is next release
    ‘Cause on this contest I’m
    Wasting my time.

  7. Marc

    Snickerty Snackerty
    Candidate Hillary
    Swears up and down that she’s
    still in the race

    Points at statistics and
    Shouts that they prove her right
    Tries to save face

  8. Marc

    Palmity Malmity
    Foleo notebooky
    “Changing the way that you
    use your device!”

    Hawkins loved it so much
    Sold his Palm stock at lunch
    Actions speak twice

  9. Marc

    Boolean Doolean
    Ilium programmers
    Slave away on software
    Till their heads spin

    Then Marc comes tumbling by
    “Change this and that,” he cries
    They start again

  10. Ellen Post author

    Shinily binily
    Mirror of Erised
    shows a reflection of
    What you want most

    Used as protection, it’s
    Left little Harry
    Completely engrossed

  11. Bob

    In Memoriam

    Dell’s Axim Fifty Vee
    Had a life shorter than
    Fruit flies on speed.

    Proved that their managers’
    Couldn’t make hay with their
    Geeks’ wondrous seed.

  12. daverage


    bo diddley bo diddley
    strumming and shuffling, i
    can’t stop my foot tapping,
    four to the bar.

    rock’n’roll pioneer,
    here’s to your sound and your
    rhythm guitar.

  13. daverage

    Rilium Dilium
    Ilium Software is
    Having a geek contest.
    Who wins the race?

    Of the employees, it’s
    clear it’s a big 9-way
    tie for first place.

  14. spmwinkel

    This one is not for me. 🙁 I don’t understand the descriptions on Wikipedia and looking at some of the examples I don’t suddenly get enlightend. The long words scare me as well.

    Ellen said that it’s not as hard as it sounds. However, when it’s too hard for me to understand then it IS as hard as it sounds. 😉

    Good luck to the others in this contest!

  15. Bob

    Lest We Forget

    Ilium’s eWallet
    Snarfed all my passwords
    And stuffed them in code.

    Memory’s passé now:
    Keep all your secrets in
    Virtu’l abode.

  16. Bob

    A Slip (or alter-Ilium)

    Sigmund Freud’s Grandmother
    Cautioned the lad to lay
    Off of his sex.

    Couldn’t stop fondling his
    Leaving him membered like
    Tiny T-Rex.

  17. Ken

    I can’t think!
    I can’t think!
    I can’t think!
    This is hard.

    What the hay,
    I really say,
    does this rhyme
    mean anyway?

  18. PS

    Palm-edy, trauma-dy
    far ahead years ago,
    paradigm shifter that
    was my Treo

    Monday brings iPhone 2
    bye to 650 now
    only thing I will miss
    is dear List Pro

  19. Bob

    The Doc’s Stocks

    Sigmund Freud, Esquire
    Swollen-head, inner-itched,
    Hungry for fox.

    Diagnosed fin’lly as
    Outside the box.

  20. Bob

    OK, OK, I’m hooked:

    Ad Verbs

    Safe-ishly, rafe-ishly
    eWalletitis pro-
    vides all a means for a
    Homeland Secure.

    Keeps e’en your name in a
    Lockbox innoculate:
    Passwordal cure.

  21. DougP

    A Curly Tale

    Piggly, Wiggly
    Purveyor of chow
    Load your cart with Twinkies
    chips and beer

    Go through express lane
    forty items plus
    Complete snackage
    Because the dip’s already here

  22. DougP


    Rikkity, Tikkity
    This just in
    News of an RSS reader
    Robust yet sublime.

    Load it up with feeds
    Infotainment galore
    Second mortgage
    pays for air time.

  23. DougP


    Tappity, tappity
    This just in
    Countless feeds
    From ridiculous to sublime.

    Can’t have too many headlines
    Miss my deadlines
    Second mortgage
    To pay for airtime.

  24. Singh

    Pocketa pocketa
    Steve Jobs
    Spied a smartphone for
    Cows who say Moo

    Thus he tested the iPhone
    Releasing a smartphone for
    Pigeons who say Coo

  25. Matthew Miller

    This is a tough contest and I hope that my entries are getting it right. I spent lots of time Googling around to try to get the feel for the way the words need to work together in this rigid format.

    Here is my first entry titled: The HTC Touch Diamond (a device I am reviewing right now)

    Bombastic bamboozle
    Horace Luke Peter Chou
    Inventors of mobiles
    Fantastic pair

    Working to provide us
    Shiny bright Diamonds
    Gaining your stare

  26. Bob

    Shopping List

    Martha O’Stewartus
    Helps us to name what we
    Lust for and need.

    ListPro then aids us, we
    Pleasure-bent hedonists,
    Milk, meat, and seed.

  27. Bob


    Sickens our minds with its
    Paranoid woe.

    Fin’lly it cures all our
    Saving with passwords our
    Fear of Big Bro’.

  28. Bob

    (Please help me stop!)

    A Racecar Named Desire

    Corvette by Chevrolet
    Drove a young man to a
    Car-based wet dream.

    As a result of this
    He has matured as a
    Speedster extreme.

  29. Bob

    A Good Time Was Had by All

    Ilium Software Inc.
    Played with our psyches and
    Launched this damn test.

    Now we have learned well that,
    Silence is best.

  30. Will Lane

    Higgledy Piggledy
    Albert A Michelson
    Did his experiment,
    Came away miffed.
    “Need a more accurate
    Back to the drawing board —
    Can’t get the drift.”

  31. Rico

    Yo-tweedle, no-needle,
    Doctor Van Shotz.
    “A medical checkup?
    I feel quite fit!”

    Menacing M.D. says
    ever so eerily,
    Won’t hurt a bit!”

  32. Laura

    My Wicked Hero

    Plashedly bashedly
    George Gordon, Lord Byron
    Dashed off his poetry
    Just as he spoke.

    Would that I could do just
    as the bard did, moving
    from bad to verse.

  33. Charley

    (My humor isn’t meant for just anyone …)

    Artzilly fartzilly
    Frederic Remington
    Reads in McCalls mag that
    Claire Booth is Luce

    Switches to oils which are
    Only to find that Lau
    Trec is Toulouse

  34. Laura

    My Wicked Hero Once Again, or Never write at 2 a.m.

    Plashedly bashedly
    George Gordon, Lord Byron
    Dashed off his poetry
    Just as he spoke.

    Would that I could do just
    as the bard did, moving
    bad to verse poke.

  35. Bob

    How Much is that Doggerel in the Window?

    Odgen Nash Trashery
    Goldenly celebrates
    Rhyme as the king.

    Diff’rently celebrates
    Rhythm’s bright bling.

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