Photo: boyarkinamarina (iStock)

Today is the final day of summer, America. Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte arrived Tuesday, and you know what that means: Deflate the pool toys; pack away your swimsuits; box up the popsicle molds. Summer is over, dead and gone for another year, and tomorrow you must turn your attention to cable-knit sweaters, wool socks, college football, and chili recipes.

In centuries past, Americans perhaps looked to the shortening length of summer’s twilight or the arrival of cool evening breezes as the first intimations of autumn. Now, Americans just look to Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte return to inform us when it’s officially fall.

Whereas poets of yore—Wordsworth, Thoreau, Emerson—penned beautiful odes to the seasons, it’s only appropriate that we turn our poetic efforts to the only seasonal oracle we have left in modern society: the rotation of Starbucks’ latte flavors. I feel this artistic endeavor is best expressed through villanelle, a classically pastoral form.


Elegy For Summer On The Arrival Of Pumpkin Spice Latte

By Kate Bernot

PSL is the true harbinger of fall,
More so than changing leaf of sky,
Its arrival autumnifies us, and all.

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Ubiquitous now at each American mall,
‘Pumpkin’ is a season one can buy,
PSL is the true harbinger of fall.

Beach traffic has screeched to a crawl,
We’ve bid adieu to the twinkling firefly,
Cast off our swimsuits, flip-flops, all.

Who dares argue this, what gall!
Pumpkin lattes’ reign of autumnal power is nigh,
PSL is the true harbinger of fall.

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One can order the season in venti or tall,
To deny its supremacy would be a lie.
The PSL signifies autumn to all.

The new fall season has cast its darker pall,
So grieve summer’s long days with a sigh.
PSL is the true harbinger of fall.
Its arrival autumnifies us, and all.