By Ashley Lister

Happy New Year.  We’re
at the beginning of another year and, as always, I’m hoping to share some writing
exercises in the manner of poetic forms. 
I thought I’d start this year with something relatively simple: the
English Sestet. 

Forerunners of the English Sestet can be found as the final
six lines of a typical sonnet.  A
giveaway detail to this relationship between the sestet and the sonnet is the distinctive
rhyme scheme of a, b, a, b, c, c.  Again,
because of its associations with the sonnet, the English Sestet is most
commonly written in iambic pentameter (that is, five two-syllable ‘feet’
following a pattern of unstressed/stressed).

Here’s an example:

I have only three rules you should follow,

To give us harmony when we’re alone.

Firstly you can’t spit: you have to swallow.

Second: you must be faithful to my bone.

The third rule is the easiest for you:

Enjoy each kinky thing that we both do.

This one isn’t technically iambic.  It has ten syllables per line (which is close
enough to the rhythm for my pronunciation) but the stressed and unstressed
patterns aren’t iambic. However this does follow the a, b, a, b, c, c, rhyme

The poem below also follows that same pattern:

You wouldn’t let me put it in your ass

You wouldn’t let me put it in your mouth

You say that my suggestions shows no class

You say that my charisma’s heading south

You’re making this small task a giant chore:

So how else could I take your temperature?

And it’s as simple as that. As always, if you care to share
your poetry in the comments box below, it would be great to see how others
approach this particular form.