Autumn in Texas: A Villanelle

"Misty Lake"  Image courtesy of Nick Coombs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“Misty Lake” Image courtesy of Nick Coombs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Andrew Lazo

Autumn in Texas always strikes me with a bit of the inconsolable longing for the five years I spent in Tennessee. With all due respect to my gracious host in Maine, Fall in the South—with the turning of the season, the wood-smoke drifting from some far-off fire, and oh, the food—that season above all might be the very best thing our America offers. Such savors for the senses.

And this particular weekend proves especially poignant as I find myself sitting here in Houston, temps in the mid-eighties, whilst several of my friends sit alongside the Frio River at Laity Lodge, listening to Malcolm Guite hold gloriously forth. Double sigh.

Perhaps inspired by the presence of our Cambridge priest here in Texas, I present to you my monthly offering: a villanelle with an interwoven wry surprise, made explicit at the end. See if you can figure it out before peeking!

And if you find yourself somewhere with chill and color, think fondly of me, say some swift prayer, and maybe press a leaf or two between waxed paper and post it down to Texas, where we only endure one season (with occasional and minor variations on the theme).

Autumn in Texas: A Villanelle

This one of all, my favorite season, outta make you sigh
but here in Texas, sweaters on these days just make you sweat
Now interminable, some are so hot you have to wonder “Why?!”

I once lived in the South, where Fall could make you cry
Such colors in those leaves, like none you’ve ever met
Seeing that turning season there just outta make you sigh

Down and down we’d go, into October bright, and I
Would drive the chilly Natchez Trace as far as I could get
Now interminable, days arise so hot that I whine “Why?”

Far off, wood-smoke would tinge the air with incense in a sky
Burned with fierce colors as that winter-tilting sun would set
Of all, my favored season, outta make me smile and sigh

But now no color, save one sugar maple, meets my eye
Forlorn for Autumn, some stray Northern breeze is all I get
Days still now interminably hot, some are so humid I ask “Why?!”

I used to curl into hot coffee, delve into warm apple pie
I once would snuggle under covers, deep as I could get
This one of all, my favorite season outta make me cry
Now interminable, some are so hot you can’t help wondering “Why?!”

*****

Andrew Lazo is a teacher, writer, and sought-after speaker on C.S. Lewis and the Inklings. Read more from him at his website: http://andrewlazo.com

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