From Anne Cutler, I learn that the light verse form the double dactyl is popular in Dutch — I knew it only in English, where it originated — thanks to “an outstanding practitioner of the art” (as Anne put it) in the Netherlands who writes under the pseudonym Drs. P. (Drs is an academic degree). A while ago Anne was inspired to try her own hand at it in Dutch, with a bit of an academic sting in its tail.
Dutch Wikipedia tells us that Drs. P. is the pseudonym of Heinz Hermann Polzer (born in Thun, Switzerland, in August 1919 [insert a Zwicky cheer for the Swiss here]), who is, among other things, a writer, cabaret artist, poet, and composer. The double dactyl form is known in Dutch as ollekebolleke (compare English higgledy piggledy and the like); Dutch Wikipedia page here. Drs. P.’s book Zeslettergrepigheid (‘Sixsyllabicity’) runs to 234 pages of ollekebollekes, not including footnotes and index; he’s good at finding single double-dactylic words for the 6th line (even, Anne tells me, masturbatorium).
Double dactyls (including background information about the verse form) on this blog include:
5/25/11: Double dactylic sniff (link), using the line “Musk and testosterone”, which is cheating, since it’s not a single double-dactylic word; as an English double dactyl of Drs. P. explains: Second line, second part / Hexasyllabical
12/5/11: Rudy the Christmas elf (link), a double dactyl for Christmas
4/8/12: Double dactyl for Easter (link)
That brings us to Anne’s verse, about the dearth of women professors in the Netherlands. Reproduced here with her permision, the Dutch original on the left, Anne’s more or less literal translation (with very light amendment by me), not in double-dactylic form, on the right:
Rector magnificus Rector magnificus* rijen decanen en rows of deans and gans het bestuur all the [university] executive stellen hoofdschuddend vast: decide, shaking their heads: Mannen zijn simpelweg Men are simply professorabeler** more suitable to become a professor Vrouwenvolk, bliif maar nog Womenfolk, just be good and braaf in de kast*** stay in the closet
*vice chancellor/university president.
**literally ‘professor-[suit]able-er’; even long adjectives can take comparative -er in Dutch.
***yes, in de kast means ‘in the closet’.