Potcake Poet’s Choice: Michael R. Burch, ‘Ordinary Love’

Indescribable—our love—and still we say
with eyes averted, turning out the light,
“I love you,” in the ordinary way

and tug the coverlet where once we lay,
all suntanned limbs entangled, shivering, white…
indescribably in love. Or so we say.

Your hair’s blonde thicket now is tangle-gray;
you turn your back; you murmur to the night,
“I love you,” in the ordinary way.

Beneath the sheets our hands and feet would stray
to warm ourselves. We do not touch despite
a love so indescribable. We say

we’re older now, that “love” has had its day.
But that which Love once countenanced, delight,
still makes you indescribable. I say,
“I love you,” in the ordinary way.

Michael R. Burch writes: “These are some tidbits about the poem:
This was my first villanelle and it’s missing a tercet. The missing tercet was pointed out to me by the formalist poet Richard Moore, who said he still liked the poem. I didn’t feel that I had anything to add, so I left the poem as it was. I’ve never been a stickler for the rules, anyway.
‘Ordinary Love’ was originally published by The Lyric. It later won the 2001 Algernon Charles Swinburne Poetry Award, was published by Romantics Quarterly, which had sponsored the contest, and RQ nominated it for the Pushcart Prize.
The poem has been translated into Hungarian, as noted below.
That’s not too shabby for my first villanelle!
Here is the complete publication history:
Published by The Lyric, Romantics Quarterly, Amerikai költok a második (in a Hungarian translation by István Bagi), Mandrake Poetry Review, Carnelian, the Net Poetry and Art Competition, Famous Poets & Poems, FreeXpression (Australia), PW Review, Poetic Voices, Poetry Renewal, Poem Kingdom and Poetry Life & Times; also winner of the 2001 Algernon Charles Swinburne Poetry Award sponsored by Romantics Quarterly and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. The last time I checked online, it returned nearly 10,000 results for the first line.”

Michael R. Burch is an American poet, editor and translator who lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Beth, two outrageously spoiled puppies, and the ghost of a hamster, Olive, murdered by a former canine family member. For an expanded bio, circum vitae, career timeline, reviews, interviews and other information of interest to scholars, please click here: Michael R. Burch Expanded Bio. To read the best poems of Mike Burch in his own opinion, with his comments, please click here: Michael R. Burch Best Poems.

“Ordinary LOVE” by InfoMofo is licensed under Openverse from WordPress.org

3 thoughts on “Potcake Poet’s Choice: Michael R. Burch, ‘Ordinary Love’

  1. Michael Burch

    This is another villanelle I wrote about the main problem with villanelles:

    Double Trouble
    by Michael R. Burch

    The villanelle is trouble:
    it’s like you’re on the bubble
    of beginning to see double.

    It’s like you’re on the Hubble
    when the lens begins to wobble:
    the villanelle is trouble.

    It’s like you’re Barney Rubble
    scratching itchy beer-stained stubble
    because you’re seeing double.

    Then your lines begin to gobble
    up the good rhymes, and you hobble.
    The villanelle is trouble,

    just like getting sloshed in the pub’ll
    begin to make you babble
    because you’re seeing double.

    Because the form is flubbable
    and is really not that loveable,
    the villanelle is trouble:
    it’s like you’re seeing double.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s