Don’t think poetry is your thing? Think again! Celebrate World Poetry Day with poetry and wine. Wine included 😉
On Monday, March 21st the entire world will be celebrating World Poetry Day! Wait…you’ve never heard of it? Okay, maybe it’s not the flashiest holiday, and maaaaybe not everyone is into poetry. But guess what…we’re here to change that with beautiful poetry and delicious wine.
Honestly, we’re not sure if there are two things that fit more perfectly together! Wine is complex, its different flavors and textures tell a story and it’s MEANT to be enjoyed and shared with others. Poetry is the same. It’s all about conveying a feeling, telling a story, or just capturing a perfect moment.
Plus, we’ll be drawing your attention to some of the most famous and memorable poems about wine! So, pop open a bottle, gather your friends, and enjoy the art of poetry and wine in celebration of World Poetry Day
Ben Jonson, ‘Song: To Celia’
We had to list this piece first because it’s all about enjoying life! In ‘Song: To Celia,’ Ben Jonson uses wine as a metaphor for his affection towards a woman named Celia. He even describes his love for her as a thirst “that from the soul doth rise.” Below are the first eight lines of his poem.
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.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove’s nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.
Percy Shelley, ‘The Vine-Shroud’
Percy Shelley, who is regarded as one of the greatest lyric poets in the English language, never actually received much recognition while he was still alive. He died tragically a month before he would have turned 30, but he left behind more than 200 various poems, essays, and dramas. This piece in particular evokes powerful themes of life and death depicted using images of grapevines.
Flourishing vine, whose kindling clusters glow
Beneath the autumnal sun, none taste of thee;
For thou dost shroud a ruin, and below
The rotting bones of dead antiquity.
Charles Baudelaire, ‘The Soul of Wine’
If you’ve ever daydreamed about your wine actually speaking to you, you’ll get a kick out of this poem. Baudelaire gives voice to a bottle of wine, who actually thanks the person drinking it so the wine may realize its full potential. Here are a few lines from ‘The Soul of Wine’
One eve in the bottle sang the soul of wine:
”Man, unto thee, dear disinherited,
I sing a song of love and light divine-
Prisoned in glass beneath my seals of red.
“I know thou labourest on the hill of fire,
In sweat and pain beneath a flaming sun,
To give the life and souls my vines desire,
And I am grateful for thy labours done.
For I find joys unnumbered when I lave
The throat of man by travail long outworn,
And his hot bosom is a sweeter grave
Of sounder sleep than my cold caves forlorn.
Emily Dickinson, ‘I bring an unaccustomed wine’
Below you’ll find the first stanza of Emily Dickinson’s poem ‘I bring an unaccustomed wine.’ Like many of her other pieces, this poem is brimming with emotion and can be interpreted in many ways. By the end of the poem, we’re not sure if the person she’s speaking about has died, but it appears that she continues to carry a cup in case someone else needs a drink of restorative wine.
I bring an unaccustomed wine
To lips long parching
Next to mine,
And summon them to drink;
Pablo Neruda, ‘Ode to Wine’
For those who might still be developing their appreciation for wine, Pablo Neruda paints a beautiful portrait of the beloved beverage. He describes wine as though it were a lavish, sensual woman with descriptions comparing wine and its ingredients to various parts of a woman’s body. Below is a short excerpt.
My darling, suddenly
the line of your hip
becomes the brimming curve
of the wine goblet,
your breast is the grape cluster,
your nipples are the grapes,
the gleam of spirits lights your hair,
and your navel is a chaste seal
stamped on the vessel of your belly,
your love an inexhaustible
cascade of wine,
light that illuminates my senses,
the earthly splendor of life.
Li Quingzhao, ‘Intoxicated under the shadow of flowers’
Li Qingzhao was a female Chinese poet of the Song dynasty born into a family of scholars. For the time period, she was unusually well educated. After marrying, when her husband was away for work, she continued to write poetry often infused with themes of yearning. We also get the impression that she drank a lot of wine considering that many of her poems explore the effect of wine on her thoughts and emotions. Below are the last eight lines of her poem ‘Intoxicated under the shadow of flowers.’
After drinking wine at twilight
under the chrysanthemum hedge,
My sleeves are perfumed
by the faint fragrance of the plants.
Oh, I cannot say it is not enchanting,
Only, when the west wind stirs the curtain,
I see that I am more graceful
than the yellow flowers.
Li Bai, ‘Wine: a vindication’
Li Bai, a pivotal poet from the mid-Tang dynasty in China, wrote well over 1000 poems. That time period is considered the Golden Age of China, and many of his pieces are poetic celebrations of wine, song, and friendship. In his poem ‘Wine: a vindication,’ he doesn’t want people to be ashamed about drinking wine (even if it IS the nectar of the gods). Below are the last six lines.
Both the sage and the wise were drinkers,
Why seek for peers among gods and goblins?
Three cups open the grand door to bliss;
Take a jugful, the universe is yours.
Such is the rapture of the wine,
That the sober shall never inherit.
Read Poetry, Drink Wine, and Be Merry!
Didn’t see your favorite wine-inspired poem? Let us know in the comments! If you couldn’t tell, we’re a bit obsessed with all things wine and art. So, share the love and let us know what your favorite poem, song, or piece of art is…so long as it’s all about wine!
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