Writing Exercise – muzdawidj

by | March 6, 2015 | Writing Exercise | 4 comments

by Ashley Lister

Our lives are complex as a Rubik’s cube

I give advice to prove I’m not a rube

And say, “Please don’t use chilli sauce as lube.”

It’s true I do not have a lot of class

With words of wisdom, I don’t have a mass

But I don’t stick spicy sauce up my ass.

Let me beat my message loud, with a drum

Let me warn you the results are not fun

Let me say: keep spices out of your rectum.

The poetic form of the Urdu masnavi were originally religious
in content.  Additionally, they were written
in couplets.  Over the years the form of
the masnavi has been appropriated and modified until we’re left with today’s
form: the muzdawidj.

As you will have noted from the example above, the muzdawidj
uses triplets (a a a / b b b / c c c…) 

We’ve known each other for a while,

I’d give so much to make you smile.

So, shall we do it doggy-style?

I think true love should know no bounds

I want to hear those special sounds

You make when we’re like rutting hounds.

They tell me that true love is blind.

I love your body and your mind.

Get on all fours. I’ll go behind

The muzdawidj is a straightforward poetic form that works
best (like most rhyming forms) when each line has a similar metrical
value.  As a writing exercise to start
your creative juices flowing before you get down to your daily writing routine,
the muzdawidj is accessible, easy to remember, and surprisingly
challenging.  I look forward to reading
your poems 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. Nettie

    He goes to her in the darkness found
    midwinter; slips between the down-
    filled duvet and her body, warm

    and bare, abandoned to empty sleep.
    He is ice rigid, frozen by the beat
    of wind from the winter Kush. Her sweet

    breath is butterfly wings.
    She stirs, trembles from the sting
    of chill he brought to their bed. She leans

    against him, her hips shift along
    his thigh. Her fragrance rises strong,
    her pleasure brings his winter to grief.

    • Lisabet Sarai

      Gorgeous imagery, Nettie. But does it follow the rules? (As if poets should…!)

  2. Ashley Lister


    The rhythm of this one is enchanting. You've got so much intense imagery that I almost overlooked the fact that you've stepped away from the rhyme scheme slightly with the final line of each tercet.

    As Lisabet says, poets don't have to follow rules, and I think that's one of the things that makes this so striking.

    Thank you for sharing.


  3. Nettie

    Thanks, Lisabet & Ashley. I'm glad you found the piece appealing in its own right. I think a lot about rhyme, but don't seem to have the facility a writer like Rhina Espaillat with perfect rhyme and form.

    I found the exercise demanding in the use of the tercet and so my play with near rhyme gave me that little off-key moment I seem to need.

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