Writing Exercise

by | July 6, 2012 | Writing Exercise | 25 comments

By Ashley Lister

After the fun of last month’s blog post on cinquains, I wanted to stay
with poetry again this month and look at one of my all-time favourite poetic
forms: the limerick.

There once was a man from

Who kept all his cash in a

His daughter, called Nan

Ran off with a man

And as for the bucket, Nan took

I recite this version in classes because it’s more acceptable than the ribald
version.  I’ve reprinted the ruder version below
with the offending language carefully censored.

There once was a man from

Whose c**k was so long he could
suck it.

He said with a grin

As he wiped off his chin,

“If my ear was a c**t I could f**k

Why do I like the limerick? It’s fun and it’s ribald. It’s also a
legitimate form of poetry exemplifying balanced meter and disciplined rhyme
schemes. The limerick is characterised by the a-a-b-b-a rhyme scheme and it’s
fairly easy for anyone to attempt.

1          A
vice both obscene and unsavoury         a
2          Kept the Bishop of Barking in
slavery       a
3          With horrible howls                                    b
4          He deflowered young owls                         b
5          That he lured to his
underground aviary.  a

Personally, I think the sophisticated rhyme scheme in this limerick is
quite remarkable.  The three syllable
rhyme (ay-var-ee) at the end of lines 1, 2 and 5 is a powerful reminder of the
poem’s strong construction. The same can be said for the rhyme in lines 3 and 4
(ow-uls). Not bad for a throwaway verse based on the idea of a bishop
having sex with owls. 

There was a young woman from

Who swallowed a packet of seeds

Within half an hour

Her **** grew a flower

And her **** was a bundle of

I could talk here about the syllable weight in this poem. Instead I’ll
simply say that it’s effective because it remains true to the form and it’s
still funny because of the ridiculous images it suggests. The same can be said
for the final example below.

There once was a young man called
Who had a hexagonal ball
The square of its weight
And his c**k’s length (plus eight)

Is his phone number – give him a

The usual rules apply to this blog post. If you can come up with a
limerick that you want to share, please post it in the comments box below. Obviously
no one wants to read anything defamatory or libellous but saucy and ribald are
the lifeblood of the limerick so I’ll be happy to see your risqué rhymes there.

As always, I look forward to reading your poems.

Ashley Lister

Ashley Lister is a UK author responsible for more than two-dozen erotic novels written under a variety of pseudonyms. His most recent work, a non-fiction book recounting the exploits of UK swingers, is his second title published under his own name: Swingers: Female Confidential by Ashley Lister (Virgin Books; ISBN: 0753513439) Ashley’s non-fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines, including Forum, Chapter & Verse and The International Journal of Erotica. Nexus, Chimera and Silver Moon have published his full-length fiction, with shorter stories appearing in anthologies edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Rachel Kramer Bussel and Mitzi Szereto. He is very proud to be a regular contributor to ERWA.


  1. Lisabet Sarai

    A popular harlot called Alice
    Would pleasure her johns with a phallus.
    While she buggered them well
    To arouse them she'd tell
    All the gossip from Buckingham Palace.

    It's taken me weeks, but I couldn't NOT contribute something!

  2. Ashley R Lister


    Thank you – that was genuinely worth waiting for 🙂


  3. Craig Sorensen

    A man with aim badly untrue
    Contracted a whore that he knew
    Said she, "I feel troubled
    that the charge just doubled"
    but you jizzed my favorite shoe

  4. Ashley R Lister


    That too was worth waiting for. There's something about the limerick that brings out the wicked in writers 🙂


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