Writing Exercise – The Hymnal Measure

by | June 6, 2015 | Writing Exercise | 5 comments

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.  

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. Ashley Lister

    I believe it was one of the favoured forms used for religious songs.

  2. Rachel Green

    the kiss of leather, sweet to feel
    from floggers or from quirts
    but when he gets the bullwhip out?
    Oh man! That sucker hurts!

    • Ashley Lister

      Rachel – I could sing this one. It's got a lovely rhythm and it sounds like the first stanza to a wonderful spanking anthem.


    • Rachel Green

      Ha! What a splendid idea 🙂 Thanks Ash.

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