Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Writing Exercise - The Rhyme Royal

James I of Scotland

 By Ashley Lister

 The rhyme royal (sometimes called the rime royale by those who prefer to spell things incorrectly) is a fairly straightforward poetic form.

It refers to a stanza of seven lines, each line containing ten syllables, and the whole poem following a rhyming pattern of a b a b b c c. The form, according to the Poetry Foundation, was popularized by Geoffrey Chaucer and termed “royal” because his imitator, James I of Scotland, employed this structure in his own verse.

Here’s an example of one I wrote earlier.

We talk about our plans for this evening
Things we’d love to do when at our leisure
I long to give your sexual bells a ring:
Thrill you with a night you’ll always treasure.
In return you give a choice of pleasure
But I care not if you swallow or spit
I’m happy if you put your mouth round it.

Note that there are ten syllables per line. This isn’t iambic pentameter. This is merely ten syllables per line. Writing in iambs might make for something more profound but, as regular readers of these exercises will be aware, I am an exceptionally superficial poet.

One of the many fun things about this form is that the stanzas can be used to form verses in a longer poem. This is the way Chaucer used it in his work and we can see examples of this in Wyatt, Auden and many others.

I pluck your pubes from twixt my teeth and smile
The taste of you still lingers on my lips
Your scent’s a mem’ry that’s made to beguile
I yearn to squirm beneath your fingertips
And play with toys like canes and crops and whips
And savour pleasures borne beyond belief
Then pluck more pubes from in between my teeth

As always, please feel free to share your rhyme royals in the comments box below.


  1. Uh oh. I'll have to bring this post to the attention of the Baron. Felix Baron, that is. :)

    1. I could wax endlessly on the joys of cunnilingus, and with wax, avoid getting those little hairs between my teeth.

  2. I look forward to hearing Felix Baron's take on this ;-)

  3. my cunt a flower, opening to thee
    russet lips bejewelled with ruby blood
    a vampyric delight, now come kiss me
    bite me, feasting frenzy, suck on my bud
    caressed with trembling tongue, make my heart thud
    sensation flooding, juices dripping too
    with screams of ecstasy I come to you

  4. Emma - strong opening line. It draws me in with the strong use of language.

    In the fifth line I would have written the word 'trembling' as tremb'ling, just so the reader knows they shouldn't be pronouncing it 'trem-bul-ling' but that's just a minor quibble on my part.

    Excellent poetry.


  5. Thank you, a friend recommended this site as I'm wanting to get more writing experience. Enjoying having a meander round, getting used to things :-)

  6. I wouldn't call you superficial, Ashley - just facile!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Well, I know I envy you being able to whip out these forms as fast as fresh pasta. Here's my attempt.
    This is the grist from which the erotic
    arises: a small chill which lifts the skin
    of the neck, the whisper of quixotic
    suggestions for tongues and lips and small sins,
    the apple blush of blood formed in the cheeks,
    a draped ribbon for the hint of technique.

    If I can only post once, then my thoughts on this are that this form really does lend itself to a longer poem. I ran out of writing time so had to actually work hard not to carry over into a second stanza. I also had to work very hard counting syllables. Oddly enough, it seems easier to me to count beats / stress than it does to count syllables. Thanks for the challenge!

    1. Cool use of enjambment. Clever rhyming. And stylish use of erotic scene-painting. Yes, this form does lend itself to a longer piece of work. But I think you've done a stylish job of making it work in this short piece of writing.


  8. Your scent seeps into my pores, my fingers
    dipped in liquid musk, bright with fresh-spilled blood
    reflecting candlelight. A name lingers
    on your ruby lips but it does no good
    to speak of him. I have your maidenhood.
    You are forever spoiled for love of boys
    to feast for always on our Sapphic joys


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