erotic poetry

Writing Exercise – the Gwawdodyn

 By Ashley

My fetish is not for your bottom
Although I think yours is a hot ‘un
But it’s not your cheeks making my interest pique
It’s your skin beneath skimpy white cotton

The gwawdodyn is a Welsh form of poetry.
With four lines, an internal rhyme on the third line, and a relatively fixed
metre, it’s a form that is easy to understand and fairly simple to master. Diagrammatically,
the structure looks something like this:


This diagram shows the suggested syllable
count (9/9/10/9) and the end rhymes (a) and internal rhymes (b). My personal
habit with this form seems to be go over the syllable count – but I’m fairly
happy with the content so I’m not going to change these too much.

Whenever my love gets a hankering
To have her backside get a spankering
I punish all her fails when she’s spelling towns in Wales
And she gratefully gives me a thankering

I’ll be honest and admit I’ve seen a few
different versions of this form. I think I like this one because it reminds me
of the limerick which means I can be more playful with the content.

To make your pleasure become first class
I shall stick my left thumb up your ass
The sensation is great but don’t reciprocate
Cos your nails are as sharp as cut glass

As always, I look forward to seeing your poetry
in the comments boxes below.


Writing Exercise – The Hymnal Measure

By Ashley Lister

Amazing Grace is quite a treat
She likes to suck my toe
I suck hers too, she thinks it’s neat
But how I wish she’d blow.

Whether you call it the hymnal measure, the hymnal stanza or
common metre, this simple yet effective form of poetry is seductively easy. This form consists
only of two rhymes per stanza (a, b, a, b), alternating with iambic tetrameter (eight
syllables per line) and trimeter (six syllables per line).  Most of us are already familiar with this one
from the rhythm of Amazing Grace. And, once you start writing in this form, the
rhythm is difficult to escape.

Expose your ass, assume the pose
It’s time to spank again
Please bend forward and touch your toes
I’ll go and fetch the cane.

Admittedly, the stress on the third line of that stanza is
FORward, rather than the usual pronunciation of forWARD, but this is a small
sacrifice for the sake of the sentiment I want to convey.

As always, I’d love to see your hymnal stanzas in the
comments box below.  

Writing Exercise – the shadorma

 By Ashley Lister

The shadorma is something of an enigma. Authorities are
unsure about its ancestry. Is it an overlooked Spanish form that has been
around for ages? Or is it a relatively new innovation that has been brought to
us in the guise of something with a history?

These questions won’t be answered here. This is partly
because I’m not clever enough to know how to respond but mainly, because I don’t
care one way or the other. Whether it’s ancient or modern, the shadorma is a
fun poetic form that’s worth the time and effort of any writer wanting to stretch
literary muscles with a brief warmup exercise. To my mind, this is the only
detail worth considering with regards to any poetic form.

I don’t want
your lace-topped stockings
black thong or
fuck-me shoes.
I just want you without your
designer labels.

The shadorma is a six lines stanza made up of lines that
contain 3-5-3-3-7-5 syllables respectively. There is no fixed rhyme scheme. A
shadorma can consist of a single stanza, or the form can be used to produce a
longer poem with multiple stanzas.

Sad to say

despite best efforts



shaking it ‘til it wobbles)

the rabbit is dead.

Take comfort
or consolation
from this fact:
that rabbit
died doing what he loved best.
His last words were, “buzz.”

The shadorma can be a lot of fun and, as with all poetic
forms, it’s a great way to discipline your writing muscles. The majority of online
material discussing this form reiterates the need for six unrhymed lines in the
format of 3-5-3-3-7-5 syllables. If you do get a chance to play with this one,
it would be great to see your poetry in the comments box below. 

Writing Exercise – the canzonetta

 by Ashley Lister

 The canzonetta is a lyric poem. It contains varying line
lengths, varying metrical patterns and a refrain.

A typical canzonetta consists of at least two octaves. Each
octave should use a series of alternating couplets and the last line or phrase of
a stanza is repeated in each subsequent stanzas.

The rhyme scheme is:

a b a b c d c D 


a b a b c b c B

Note that the capital letter indicates a repeated line. Does
this sound complicated? Would it be better illustrated with an example?

I think it’s time we
played a game
A game you’ll know from way back when
Get naked and embrace the shame
Although you’re in the lion’s den
You’ll touch your toes, spread both your cheeks
Conclude your prayer and say, “Amen.”
In my domain no other speaks
So close your eyes and count to ten

You hold your breath
and worry hard
Because it’s time to play again
You fear your backside might get scarred
As once perhaps it did back then
You wonder what’s about to come
A sigh of leather and you ken
The pain is aimed right for your bum
So close your eyes and count to ten

You’ll notice here that I’ve gone for the a b a b c b c B
rhyme scheme. My refrain, ‘So close your eyes and count to ten’ will continue
to work through this poem if I go on to develop it into further stanzas. As
always, I look forward to reading your poetry in the comments box below.

Writing Exercise

 by Ashley Lister

 Since we started looking at poetry as a writing exercise we’ve
considered various syllable forms. The most famous of these is the haiku, usually
interpreted in Western writing as three lines containing 5-7-5 syllables.

As I’ve said before, I enjoy the discipline of syllable forms
because it forces us to approach words from a different angle. We’re counting
syllables as well as considering the perceived denotations and connotations of potential

There are other variations on this syllable-counting theme.
One of the more popular is the tanka.

The tanka is similar to the haiku except it’s longer in that
it’s usually five lines and interpreted as 5-7-5-7-7 syllables. Given that it’s
almost double the length of the haiku, the tanka can still be surprisingly

However, this month’s form is not the 5-7-5-7-7 syllable tanka.
This month we’re looking at the somonka.

The somonka is made up of two tanka-sized stanzas presented as
an exchange of love letters.

Note to my master
I come to you on my knees
Ready and willing
My bare flesh is yours tonight
Do with me as you see fit

To my submissive
Thank you for your love letter
It was not needed
Your bare flesh is mine tonight
But only if I want it

Does that look simple enough? Two tank-sized stanzas (5-7-5-7-7
syllables) presented as an exchange of love letters. I look forward to seeing
your somonkas in the comments box below.

Writing Exercise – the tritina

 by Ashley Lister

 Whenever I teach
poetry, there will often be a student arguing against rhyme or railing against
the discipline of meter or battling the regimented notion of syllable counting.
My usual response, that the practice of poetry is assisted by working to the
structure of established forms, often seems like a poor comeback. Oftentimes,
as a compromise, we’ll end up working on the tritina.

The tritina is a
ten line form of unrhymed poetry, broken into three tercets (three-lined
stanzas) with a final, solitary, line. 
The device that makes the tritina remarkable is its use of repeated
words, once in each line, in the pattern of A B C, C A B, B C A. The final line
of the tritina includes all three of the A B C words.

Kisses, Crops and Canes

For years they met and shared their kisses
Sating a passion for crops
Exploring a passion for canes

They learnt each other’s favourite canes
Then chased each stripe with tender kisses
And chased each kiss with cruel crops

Eventually they outgrew crops
Their need for pain outgrew the canes
But never once did they eschew kisses

Kisses do so much more than crops and canes

You’ll notice here
that the ABC words kisses(A), crops(B) and canes(C) are repeated at the end of the lines in the aforementioned
pattern: A B C, C A B, B C A. In the final line it doesn’t matter about the order
of the three words as long as they’re all there.

and Worship

When we meet you insist that I should kneel
(before we undress, touch, or kiss) and
you insist that at your feet I worship

It helps that you’re so worthy of worship
and that I need to kneel
at your feet and

remain there paying homage and
promising other forms of worship
that I might still do whilst I kneel

How I love to hear you whisper: “Kneel and worship.”

There is no fixed
meter, although the poem appears to work best when each line contains a similar
number of syllables. In this one you’ll notice that the ABC words kneel(A), and(B) and worship(C)
are repeated (again) in the aforementioned pattern: A B C, C A B, B C A. I’ve
managed to get my ABC words as the last three in the final line – although this
isn’t a necessity.

As always, I look
forward to seeing your poems in the comments box below.

Writing Exercise

 By Ashley Lister

 I’ll keep this short. Rhyme is denigrated by
snobs. Syllable based poetry becomes complicated by the inconvenience of
diphthongs and triphthongs (as well as the vagaries of pronunciation). And so,
I’ve gone for something short and sweet with my contribution to this week’s
excursion into poetic forms. I’ve elected to tackle the septolet.

Long Days

that stretch


infinite hours

we are


and naked.

septolet has fourteen words. It is broken between two stanzas that make up the
fourteen words. Each stanza can have seven words but that is not an essential requirement.
The division can take place where the poet decides.




have enchanted me

I offer

my heart.

stanzas of the septolet deal with the same thought. Ultimately they create a
picture. Please take a shot at contributing a septolet to the
comments box below.

Writing Exercise

By Ashley Lister

 Two naked bodies

Intertwined twixt midnight sheets

Slick silvered shadows

I can’t believe we’ve gone almost a year on this blog without discussing haiku as a writing exercise. The haiku is one of the most accessible forms of syllable based poetry. When used as a warm up device before writing, it’s a form of poetry that can help a writer focus on the essence of the words in her or his vocabulary.

As most people know, the traditional haiku is a three line poem based on a strict syllable count. Obviously there are some variations.

There’s the pop haiku, characterised by Jack Kerouac’s interpretation of the form.

There are senryu, identical to haiku in form, but with a content that is wry, ironic or whimsical.But today we’re looking at the traditional haiku with its rigid format:

1st line = 5 syllables

2nd line = 7 syllables

3rd line = 5 syllables

It’s worth noting here the definition of a syllable. The definition below is taken verbatim from the trusty dictionary sitting on my desk.

syllable ►noun
a unit of pronunciation having one vowel sound, with or without surrounding consonants, forming the whole or a part of a word; for example, there are two syllables in water and three in inferno.
Pearsall, J., Hanks, P., (2005), Oxford Dictionary of English, 2nd Edition, Revised, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

However, even with such an authoritative definition, there will obviously be anomalies in the words we select. We hit words like sure, fire and wheel and can’t
decide whether the word includes one or two syllables. Is it ‘shoor’ or ‘shoe-er’? Is it ‘fire’ or ‘fie-arr’? Is it ‘wheel’ or ‘wee-ell’? My usual response to such observations is: How do you pronounce the word? It’s your poem. Own the word.

And that’s all there is to this form. Obviously haiku can be studied in greater depth. There are some forms that demand the author should mention a season or kigo. There are some forms that require a break at the end of the first line and insist on the juxtaposition of two images in the whole poem. But, for the purposes of this warm-up exercise, it’s enough to craft seventeen syllables of serious sensuality into a single haiku.

After the climax:

Glossy flesh lacquered with sweat

Heartbeats race-racing

As always, I look forward to seeing your poems in the comments box below.

Writing Exercise – Ode

 By Ashley Lister

The ode is one of my favourite
styles of poetry, partly because it can take whatever form the poet decides. Traditionally
the ode is written in praise of something. 
One of the most famous odes in poetry, Keats’s ‘Ode to Autumn’, begins
with the following lines:

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that
round the thatch-eaves run;

I could go into a pretentious
poet mode here, discuss the fact that this is written in iambic pentameter and
mention the a-b-a-b rhyme scheme in these opening four lines.

But, really, there’s no hard
and fast rhyme scheme for the ode. And there’s no definite metre. And, rather
than discuss immaterial points of poetry, instead I’d prefer to dwell on the
obvious reverence Keats is bestowing on his beloved season of autumn.

Note the affectionate language
used in this piece. In the first two lines we have:




This is the language of
someone who adores autumn. This is the work of someone who has used the concept
of the ode to fully lavish praise on what he perceives as the most deserving of

I’m discussing the ode this
month because I think it’s singly the most appropriate form of poetry for erotica.
It somehow feels right to lavish ode-worthy praise on an erotic partner or some
aspect of eroticism because they’re deserving of such high esteem.

Elevated language is no longer
a necessary requirement of this type of poem. All that’s needed is the desire
to write with adoration about something that deserves praise. Below is my
humble attempt.

Broad and boundless round backside

Cheeky cheeks just made to twerk

Built to bounce and buck and slide

Help me put your ass to work.

As always, I look forward to
reading any contributions that appear in the comments box this month.


Writing Exercises – The Hávamál

by Ashley Lister

When I’m not writing, reading or reviewing, I teach. I teach creative writing and one of the subjects I keep going back to is poetic form.

The reasons for this are fairly clear in my mind. Coleridge defined prose as, “words in their best order.” Coleridge also defined poetry as, “the best words in the best order.” To this end, I’ve always thought anyone writing prose with a knowledge and understanding of poetry is in a position to elevate the quality of material being produced.

Which is why, this month, I’ve decided to mention the Hávamál as a poetic discipline.

The Hávamál is a Viking poem, but it is often called a book of wisdom. Written somewhere around AD 700-900, the Hávamál is one of the more well-known Eddaic poems and, amongst other things, it contains nuggets of universal wisdom that still apply today, more than a millennia after these words were first written.

Here are a couple of examples from the Hávamál:

A guest needs
giving water
fine towels and friendliness.
A cheerful word
a chance to speak
kindness and concern.

Give each other
good clothes
as friends for all to see.
To give and take
is a guarantee
of lasting love.

A typical Hávamál stanza usually contains six lines or two units of three lines each. The first two lines in each unit are tied together by alliteration, and the third is also decorated with alliteration. For those who’ve forgotten: alliteration is the repetition of similar sounds, usually the sounds of initial consonants, as illustrated below:

Better a humble
house than none.
A man is master at home.
A pair of goats
and a patched roof
are better than begging.

It’s also possible to look at the stresses used in the Hávamál but, for the purposes of this exercise, I’d prefer to see writers focusing on words of wisdom and the use of alliteration.

And that’s this month’s exercise from me: produce a six line poem in the style of the Hávamál, sharing words of erotic wisdom in the comments box below. Remember to keep a tie of alliteration between lines one and two (and four and five), and to ensure that there is some alliteration across lines three and six.

Have fun with this and I look forward to reading your words of wisdom.

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