fiendish, not at all. i'm assuming people who read homer can read the dactylic hex, but if not, i'll give a simple explanation...
a homeric line could have 12 long syllables.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.
to break up the monotony, you can switch any of the even
numbers (apart from 12) for 2 short syllables. e.g.
1, 2, 3, 4 4
, 5, 6, 7, 8 8
, 9, 10 10
, 11, 12
the 2 short syllables do not kill the line's rhythm, because they're each sung only half the length of a long syllable (together the 2 shorts add up to a long syllable). so out loud, you kind of trip over the short syllables (saying them as quickly as possible), and the long syllables, you sustain the vowel sound for a moment.
normally the 10th long syllable is switched for 2 short syllables.
that's dactylic hex. the trick is for composing it, to find the words you need to use, search for them in homer, figure out where they are in the line
, and build up the rest of the line around them. that's how homer did it.
have fun! cheers, chad.