Writing Exercise – The English Quintain

by | November 6, 2014 | Writing Exercise | 4 comments

 by Ashley Lister

We screw and screw
the weekend through

We do not stop. We
take no break.

On Saturdays it’s all
we do

You tame my one-eyed
trouser snake

We’re at it ‘til our bodies

We screw and screw
through all Sunday

You ride me like a thoroughbred

These two-day-long
rolls in the hay

Can leave my looking
like I’m dead

Yet still I’m grateful
that we wed.

A quintain, is recorded by the Collins English Dictionary
with two definitions:

1 a post or target set up for
tilting exercises for mounted knights or foot soldiers

2 the exercise of tilting at such
a target

The dictionary overlooks the fact that a quintain is also a
five line poem. Obviously we’ve looked at many short poetic forms on here in
the past, several of which are limited to five lines. Both types of cinquain  (traditional and contemporary) can be counted
as quintains. Similarly, the typical limerick falls under this header. As does the
English quintain, such as the one above and the one below.

The rhyme scheme for English quintains is usually A-B-A-B-B.
There is no set measure or foot (the number and type of syllables or feet). Sometimes
quintains work well in longer ballads. Other times a single verse is enough.

Do me in the morning

Or do me late at

Do me without warning

Don’t bother being

But please just do me

As always, I look forward to enjoying your English quintains
in the comments box below.

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

    Luscious examples!

  2. Lisabet Sarai

    Observing Thanksgiving (English Quintain)
    By Lisabet Sarai

    I'm still your slave, absurd as that might seem
    Three decades and two continents apart.
    Of kneeling naked at your feet I dream,
    of yielding all to you, both whole and part,
    my lips and tits, my cunt and ass and heart.

    You, poised above me, eager to deflower
    vanilla innocence…and years unwind.
    That moment when I understood your power
    burns fresh as ever. Once again you bind
    me, wrists and ankles, heart and mind.

  3. Ashley Lister

    One of the things I love about these exercises is that each writer uses the form in their own distinctive voice. These quintains could only have been written by you – very stylish.

    • Lisabet Sarai

      Thanks, Ashley.

      Even my poetry is cerebral… ;^)

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