The 13 Days of Christmas: villanelle

Why 13 days? Because that’s how long my kids are out of school!

Here’s my attempt at a villanelle. Every rhyme is shamelessly pilfered from the song “Try to Remember” from the first musical I ever saw, “The Fantasticks.” It is an impure villanelle, like some of the ones you featured on Tweet Speak Poetry.


When that ember is about to billow,

I do try to remember.

Like a fallen star, I follow

on a morning stretched yellow —

the solstice of December,

when those embers begin to billow.

But soon enough for one so callow

come those earnest days of September.

Like a timid schoolgirl, I follow

hard and don’t weep as I hollow

a winter gourd in late October,

when the embers want to billow.

My soul is anything but mellow

especially in the fury of November.

Like a turkey to the slaughter, I follow.

And there beside my pillow

I keep my dreams of a fresh December,

where the embers always billow.

And, like a virgin in love, I follow.


  1. I don’t know how anyone can piece together a villanelle, with a theme and an ode to the Fantasticks, and all that. Wowzers, I’m impressed.

    I like your project–only a few days left, eh?

  2. Some real gems in there. “A morning stretched yellow.” Very nice.

  3. I especially liked this…

    “I keep my dreams of a fresh December”

    Maybe I just love dreams 🙂

  4. That’s a musical I’m unfamiliar with! I’ll see if it’s at the library.
    Thanks for educating me. 🙂

  5. Fantastic. I remember the song but not the musical.

    I follow hard and don’t weep as I hollow a winter gourd in late October . . .