Vinous verse: When it comes to wine, the poets know it
I’ve been diving into poetry lately, mostly as a salve for the soul in seriously bizarre times. Seems like a good time to pass along some soulful work from fellow wine lovers, starting with Keats and Yeats (whose names, alas, don’t rhyme):
“Oh, for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth,
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim.”
“Wine enters through the mouth,
Love, the eyes.
I raise the glass to my mouth,
I look at you,
“With years a richer life begins, the spirit mellow:
Ripe age gives tones to violins, wine, and good fellows.”
John Townsend Trowbridge
“Fill every beaker up, my men,
pour forth the cheering wine:
There’s life and strength in every drop,
thanksgiving to the vine!”
Albert Gorton Greene
“For singing till his heaven fills,
’Tis love of earth that he instills,
And ever winging up and up,
Our valley is his golden cup,
and he the wine which overflows
to lift us with him as he goes.”
“Apply thine engine to the spongy door.
Set Bacchus from his glassy prison free,
And strip white Ceres of her nut-brown coat.”
“O, thou Bright Wine whose purple splendor leaps
and bubbles gaily from this golden bowl
under the lamplight, as my spirits do.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley
“When in joy we tap the cask
All our dreams bring what we ask.
Drink it! Drink it! Kindly Friend,
Then our cares will swiftly end,
Drink to you, then drink to me,
Pledge our dual prosperity.”
Old French Poem
“Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse – and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness,
And Wilderness is Paradise now.”
“Four fresh-opened oysters,
Soft as grey velvet,
Cold as deep-sea water;
One long-stemmed glass
Half full of light Rhinewine,
Tasting of fruit-flowers.”
“Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
And I’ll not look for wine.”
“(Marsala) Velvety brown and bitter-sweet,
a thimbleful cupped on the tongue
swelling in the mouth
like the nipple of Pomona (Roman goddess of fruit).”
“O nectar, a poetry profound,
a liquid fair and hedonistic,
a drink meant truly not for mortals
but the gods of misty yore.
Burdened not by filtering or fining
or such slings and arrows beset by fools.
Get thee to a bottle.”
“God made man –
Frail as a bubble;
God made love –
Love made trouble;
God made the vine –
Was it a sin
That man made wine
To drown trouble in?”
What food for our starvation?
What drink to slake our thirst?
If none, perhaps the ravening
Must be examined first.
For such a modest journey,
A bit of bread and sip of wine
Might get us through the Day.
The best is the last. A lot of drinking going on now!