.

Mistress

Within those sheets, my mistress lay,
her flawless form with perfect feet.
One last embrace; I cannot stay!
I hear her heart in metered beat.

Her voice, a ballad siren song
with lyrics begging my delay.
But I’ve already been too long!
Within those sheets, my mistress lay.

The grandest thought one could create
was “could the wife and mistress meet?”
She’d see a villain-elle and hate
her flawless form with perfect feet.

She draws me back into the sheets.
Seductive eyes say, “Come and play,”
But I must leave this incomplete!
One last embrace; I cannot stay.

Perhaps… I’ll finish this last rhyme.
One hasty end-stop short and sweet.
The chugging quatrain steams to climb!
I hear her heart in metered beat.

The writing’s done… now comes the chafe.
A writer’s wife airs her dismay.
The notebook, closed; my secret, safe.
Within those sheets, my mistress lay.

.

.

Michael Pietrack is a new writer from Colorado, USA.  This businessman and former baseball player started writing poetry during the pandemic.  He will be launching his first book of poetry, entitled Legacy, in early 2023.  Michael has a BA is English Literature from Colorado Mesa University, where he minored in Theatre, and an MA in Education from New Mexico State University.


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39 Responses

  1. Michael Pietrack

    Thank you for posting this and allowing me to contribute to such a fine group of writers.

    Reply
  2. James Sale

    Very beautiful, and accomplished too; after the sonnet, the villanelle is my favourite closed form, although I note this has a tetrameter line, rather than the usual 5 beats. As a great believer in the Muse myself, the conceit of the hidden mistress is very powerful. Well done. More work like this!

    Reply
    • Michael Pietrack

      Thank you, James! My wife views my writing as if I’m spending attention on another woman that steals her time and attention. She sees me thinking of words when I’m present with her—you’re present but not present! She sees my writing as a villain, but oh, if she could only love it like I do. But alas, she has no interest and especially dislikes this particular poem. I am glad, though, that you liked it.

      Ps. Yes, not a Villanelle. I went with four lines per stanza and tetrameter. I’ve been toying with tetrameter lately, as a departure from pentameter.

      Reply
  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    Quite nice. I especially like “villain-elle,” an inspired verbal concoction.

    Wives have to face the fact that if they are married to poets, there’s always going to be another lady on the side.

    Reply
  4. Cheryl Corey

    For someone who just started writing poetry during the pandemic, you’re off to a great start, Michael!

    Reply
    • Michael Pietrack

      Cheryl—

      Thanks for the encouragement. Also, thanks for the advice about a Woman’s Domain.

      Reply
  5. Jeremiah Johnson

    Michael,

    Your poem reminds me of Yeats’ poem, “Words”:
    http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/william_butler_yeats/poems/10420

    While my wife doesn’t have a problem with my writing poetry, she rarely understands my poems and usually doesn’t read them unless mutual friends comment on their liking for them. But as long as she doesn’t take offense, I’ve learned to be content with her not getting it. Of course, Yeats’ notion that his lover’s inability to appreciate his work is what has actually driven him to greatness is a whole ‘nother ballgame.

    Reply
    • Michael Pietrack

      Thank you fir bringing out the synergies, though I’m sure to achieve madness before greatness. I’ll count this as a victory for likely it’s the last I’ll be compared to Yeats. Thanks for commenting. I’ve enjoyed your poems. Keep up the great work!

      Reply
  6. Anna J. Arredondo

    Michael,

    I enjoyed this very much. I was more than halfway through before it dawned on me what you were doing here. I reread it from the beginning, and appreciate your clever word choices throughout.

    Skimming through the comments, I see that many can relate to your experience as a writer. I certainly can! With my husband, my children, with whatever the company — when an idea pops up, I am present but not present, thinking of words…

    Well done!

    Reply
    • Michael Pietrack

      Anna, thank you for your kind words and the encouragement. The poems I enjoy the most appear to be talking about one thing, and then there is an aha moment where you realize it’s a big analogy. Fun stuff.

      I liked your villanelle, “You Have my Word.”

      Reply
  7. Margaret Coats

    What I like are the poetic puns on “sheets” and “feet” and “beat”! The lyric form is not a villanelle, but something close to rondeau redoubled. Take a look at the ones in that category in the right-hand column here. To put yours into that form, just change line 24 and add line 25:

    And so is she–my mistress lay
    Within those sheets.

    The standard for many of these French forms is to have only two rhyme sounds in the entire poem–but don’t worry that you have more. Call it a variation. And don’t worry about tetrameter versus pentameter for either form mentioned above. The original villanelle by Jean Passerat was in French octosyllables, which translate to English tetrameter. One of the very best villanelles, Thomas Hardy’s “The Caged Thrush Freed and Home Again,” is tetrameter. There’s a trimeter “Villanelle from Grub Street” by John Davidson. Louis Untermeyer’s “The Passionate Aesthete to His Love” is a tetrameter rondeau redoubled. So is Brian Yapko’s “When the Statues were Felled” (anapestic tetrameter). Poets get away with anything. Congratulations on your clever success with having a mistress, and I hope there’s more satisfaction than dismay at home.

    Reply
    • Michael Pietrack

      Thank you Margaret. This was educational. I didn’t intent to follow a rondeau redoubled, but I’ll certainly acquaint myself with the style. I appreciate the reading list as well. I’ll look into the poems you cited. Thanks for all your contributions to the SCP!

      Reply
  8. Cynthia Erlandson

    This is delightful! It gave me a big smile when, like Anna, I realized halfway through what you were doing. Yet, the turn from the poem letting the reader see one thing, and then another, seemed quite smooth. I am very blessed to have a husband who “gets it”, and also writes poetry now and then.

    Reply
    • Michael Pietrack

      Thank you Cynthia. Bringing a smile to your face returned the favor. You are blessed indeed to share the same passion and pastime. I appreciated your Meditations on Ecclesiastes. Keep in touch!

      Reply
      • Cynthia Erlandson

        Thank you, Michael! It’s good of you to remember my “Meditations….” I’ve been fascinated with the book of Ecclesiastes since my teen years.

  9. AB Brown

    You have learned much, Young Skywalker.

    Perhaps you ARE as powerful as the emperor foretold…

    Reply
    • Michael Pietrack

      ABB, I have had very generous and talented people helping me. But I am certainly a sapling in this forest of giants. I enjoyed reading Gravitas recently, and I think you’re ability for clever rhyme is extraordinary.

      Reply
  10. The Mindflayer

    This is a brilliant poem, Michael. As I know a little bit about your background, I was at first quite surprised by the subject matter, but you ingeniously pulled the wool over my eyes! What a wonderful extended metaphor / allegory. The repetition of the lines becomes hypnotic, and the word choices here are exquisite! Truly, I think we have a burgeoning master-poet on our hands.

    Reply
    • Michael Pietrack

      Thank you! Yes, a total straight-edged prude talking about an extramarital affair is a bit ironic. The more I’ve shared this poem with my personal network, the more I’m finding this is analogous to many hobbies that make a spouse feel second place. I appreciate the kind words and the encouragement to keep at it.

      Reply
  11. Brian Yapko

    Michael, this is a stunning poem which I enjoyed reading even more the second time than the first. It speaks to the issue of where writing fits into our lives, even to the exclusion of our loved ones, with both heart and great wit. Well done! And, on a personal note, we have a very similar pandemic story. It’s great to see another newbie writer right in the state next door (I’m in New Mexico.)

    Reply
    • Michael Pietrack

      Brian, you’re prolific for a newbie. Keep up the great work.

      I miss the green chile I enjoyed in the land of enchantment. I went to school at NMSU for a couple years. Also, I see we are both fans of Mark Twain.

      Thanks for the kind review. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Reply
  12. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Michael, this poem has everything – rhyme, rhythm, wordplay, a plethora of poetic devices, and a message every poet can relate to. This reads like a rondeau redoublé, up until the closing line… one of my favorite forms. Your poems shines and I am nodding knowingly in the glow of it. Very well done, indeed!

    Reply
    • Michael Pietrack

      Susan, thank you. I am such a fan of yours that this is a special note. I’m thrilled you liked it! When I was writing it, I actually thought of Mike and you, envying your situation (two poets under one roof).

      Reply
  13. Mark F. Stone

    Michael, After reading the first stanza, I knew the poem was a hit. Halfway through, I saw you rounding second base. When I read the final stanza, I thought: Wow! An inside-the-park home run! Great job!

    Reply
    • Michael Pietrack

      If I tried to leg out an in-side-the-park homerun, I would be a chugging quatrain for sure. I was more the type of hitter who could make a triple into a single. I’m glad you liked it Mark. Your pteroDACTYL poem is among my favorites–superbly clever.

      Reply
  14. Joshua C. Frank

    Michael, your poem is great! I want to be able to write poems that good. I love everything about it: the repeating lines, the extended metaphor, the puns… it’s great!

    It’s interesting how many of us got started during the pandemic… I started a little later, more like six months ago, shortly after moving.

    Reply
    • Michael Pietrack

      Thank you Joshua. Email me at MichaelPietrack at yahoo, and I’d be happy to impart what I’ve been taught.

      Reply
  15. Norma Pain

    What a wonderfully clever, almost hidden message this poem contains. I also re-read it to enjoy it over again. Please give us more. Thank you Michael.

    Reply
    • Michael Pietrack

      Norma, thank you for the boost of confidence. I’m not as prolific as most of you, so I’m not sure when my next one will come… perhaps it was merely beginner’s luck.

      Reply
  16. David Watt

    Great work Michael! I really enjoyed this clever piece, and hope you may share more secrets from your notebook.

    Reply
    • Michael Pietrack

      David, thank you. I’m an admirer of your work, and I even read the Devoted Angler to my dad, who is a fisherman. Regarding my notebook, it will be fully opened in January when I launch a book called “Legacy: The Saga Begins.” It’s a 30,000-word poem/fable/novella “thingy” with chapters and illustrations, etc. It’s lyrical and narrative, and I hope it’s accepted by the poetry community. So, stay tuned…

      Again, I’m grateful for you taking the time to drop a note.

      Reply
  17. Alena Casey

    A clever and lovely poem! I am partial to villanelles and you’ve adapted the form quite nicely here.

    Reply
    • Michael Pietrack

      Thank you, Alena. I’m happy that you enjoyed it and thought enough of it to drop a note. I liked your love sonnet earlier in the year. I learned a lot by the sword imagery and your words choice like the wield/shield combo. Thanks again for the kind note.

      Reply
  18. Satyananda Sarangi

    As I went on reading it, I visualised one layer of butter sliding over another.

    Quite artistic, Michael.

    Reply

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