Wine Poetry

Do you know what pairs well with wine? Poetry. I like to call it “Wine Poetry.”

Wine Poetry

Wine Poetry

Wine inspires the mind and the soul. Many moviemakers, songwriters, painters, and poets use wine throughout their artistry. Wine poetry is when winemakers and poets come together to entertain humankind. Two enchanting and passionate worlds collide to create a delicious wine pairing. We are grateful for their work and for their favorite theme, because it happens to be our favorite theme, too. And of course, the best way to enjoy their work is to do it while sipping wine. Go ahead, I’m giving you a few minutes to pour yourself a glass of wine.

Now that we’ve armed ourselves with a glass of wine, let’s discuss poetry. I started reading The Flowers Of Evil from a well-known French poet Charles Baudelaire. That is some beautiful poetry but Mr. Baudelaire was quite troubled emotionally and lived a raving mad life as result. In fact, like every respectful artist, he used his work to tell about his trepidatious and ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis – most commonly referred to the City Of Lights: Paris.

Charles Baudelaire And His Wine Poetry

Young Charles Baudelaire had a very complicated relationship with his mother after his father passed away. His mother’s unfortunate life choices left him scarred emotionally and drove him down a life-threatening path, which involved prostitution, drug and alcohol abuse, and an alleged advocacy of satanism – quite the package, all of which influenced his poetry. His principal subjects were women, lesbianism, sacred and profane love, metamorphosis, melancholy, the corruption of the city, lost innocence, the oppressiveness of living, lust, and last but not least, wine. Baudelaire’s use of imagery of the sense of smell and fragrances is omnipresent in his work. All of this lead to a wonderful modern prose-poetry that had a definite impact on many other writers and poets, and me.

Here are the 5 poems he wrote about wine, conveniently translated in English. Enjoy wine poetry!

 

1 (FR)L'Ame du Vin

Un soir, l'âme du vin chantait dans les bouteilles:
"Homme, vers toi je pousse, ô cher déshérité,
Sous ma prison de verre et mes cires vermeilles,
Un chant plein de lumière et de fraternité!

Je sais combien il faut, sur la colline en flamme,
De peine, de sueur et de soleil cuisant
Pour engendrer ma vie et pour me donner l'âme;
Mais je ne serai point ingrat ni malfaisant,

Car j'éprouve une joie immense quand je tombe
Dans le gosier d'un homme usé par ses travaux,
Et sa chaude poitrine est une douce tombe
Où je me plais bien mieux que dans mes froids caveaux.

Entends-tu retentir les refrains des dimanches
Et l'espoir qui gazouille en mon sein palpitant?
Les coudes sur la table et retroussant tes manches,
Tu me glorifieras et tu seras content;

J'allumerai les yeux de ta femme ravie;
À ton fils je rendrai sa force et ses couleurs
Et serai pour ce frêle athlète de la vie
L'huile qui raffermit les muscles des lutteurs.

En toi je tomberai, végétale ambroisie,
Grain précieux jeté par l'éternel Semeur,
Pour que de notre amour naisse la poésie
Qui jaillira vers Dieu comme une rare fleur!"
1 (EN)The Soul of Wine

One night, the soul of wine was singing in the flask:
"O man, dear disinherited! to you I sing
This song full of light and of brotherhood
From my prison of glass with its scarlet wax seals.

I know the cost in pain, in sweat,
And in burning sunlight on the blazing hillside,
Of creating my life, of giving me a soul:
I shall not be ungrateful or malevolent,

For I feel a boundless joy when I flow
Down the throat of a man worn out by his labor;
His warm breast is a pleasant tomb
Where I'm much happier than in my cold cellar.

Do you hear the choruses resounding on Sunday
And the hopes that warble in my fluttering breast?
With sleeves rolled up, elbows on the table,
You will glorify me and be content;

I shall light up the eyes of your enraptured wife,
And give back to your son his strength and his color;
I shall be for that frail athlete of life
The oil that hardens a wrestler's muscles.

Vegetal ambrosia, precious grain scattered
By the eternal Sower, I shall descend in you
So that from our love there will be born poetry,
Which will spring up toward God like a rare flower!"
2 (FR)Le Vin de l'assassin

Ma femme est morte, je suis libre!
Je puis donc boire tout mon soûl.
Lorsque je rentrais sans un sou,
Ses cris me déchiraient la fibre.

Autant qu'un roi je suis heureux;
L'air est pur, le ciel admirable...
Nous avions un été semblable
Lorsque j'en devins amoureux!

L'horrible soif qui me déchire
Aurait besoin pour s'assouvir
D'autant de vin qu'en peut tenir
Son tombeau; — ce n'est pas peu dire:

Je l'ai jetée au fond d'un puits,
Et j'ai même poussé sur elle
Tous les pavés de la margelle.
— Je l'oublierai si je le puis!

Au nom des serments de tendresse,
Dont rien ne peut nous délier,
Et pour nous réconcilier
Comme au beau temps de notre ivresse,

J'implorai d'elle un rendez-vous,
Le soir, sur une route obscure.
Elle y vint — folle créature!
Nous sommes tous plus ou moins fous!

Elle était encore jolie,
Quoique bien fatiguée! et moi,
Je l'aimais trop! voilà pourquoi
Je lui dis: Sors de cette vie!

Nul ne peut me comprendre. Un seul
Parmi ces ivrognes stupides
Songea-t-il dans ses nuits morbides
À faire du vin un linceul?

Cette crapule invulnérable
Comme les machines de fer
Jamais, ni l'été ni l'hiver,
N'a connu l'amour véritable,

Avec ses noirs enchantements,
Son cortège infernal d'alarmes,
Ses fioles de poison, ses larmes,
Ses bruits de chaîne et d'ossements!

— Me voilà libre et solitaire!
Je serai ce soir ivre mort;
Alors, sans peur et sans remords,
Je me coucherai sur la terre,

Et je dormirai comme un chien!
Le chariot aux lourdes roues
Chargé de pierres et de boues,
Le wagon enragé peut bien

Ecraser ma tête coupable
Ou me couper par le milieu,
Je m'en moque comme de Dieu,
Du Diable ou de la Sainte Table!
2 (EN)The Murderer's Wine

My wife is dead and I am free!
Now I can drink my fill;
When I'd come home without a sou,
Her screaming would drive me crazy.

I am as happy as a king;
The air is pure, the sky superb...
We had a summer like this
When I fell in love with her!

To satisfy the awful thirst
That tortures me, I'd have to drink
All the wine it would take to fill
Her grave — that is not a little:

I threw her down a well,
And what is more, I dropped on her
All the stones of the well's rim.
I will forget her if I can!

In the name of love's vows,
From which nothing can release us,
And to become the friends we were
When we first knew passion's rapture,

I begged of her a rendezvous
At night, on a deserted road.
She came there! — mad creature!
We're all more or less mad!

She was still attractive,
Although very tired! and I,
I loved her too much! that is why
I said to her: Depart this life!

None can understand me. Did one
Among all those stupid drunkards
Ever dream in his morbid nights
Of making a shroud of wine?

That dissolute crowd, unfeeling
As an iron machine,
Never, nor summer, nor winter,
Has known what true love is,

With its black enchantments,
Its hellish cortege of alarms,
Its phials of poison, and its tears,
Its noise of chains and dead men's bones!

— Here I am free and all alone!
I'll get blind drunk tonight;
Then without fear, without remorse,
I'll lie down on the ground

And I'll sleep like a dog!
The dump-cart with its heavy wheels
Loaded with mud and rocks,
The careening wagon may well

Crush in my guilty head
Or cut my body in two;
I laugh at God, at the Devil,
And at the Holy Table as well!
3 (FR)Le Vin des amants

Aujourd'hui l'espace est splendide!
Sans mors, sans éperons, sans bride,
Partons à cheval sur le vin
Pour un ciel féerique et divin!

Comme deux anges que torture
Une implacable calenture
Dans le bleu cristal du matin
Suivons le mirage lointain!

Mollement balancés sur l'aile
Du tourbillon intelligent,
Dans un délire parallèle,

Ma soeur, côte à côte nageant,
Nous fuirons sans repos ni trêves
Vers le paradis de mes rêves!
3 (EN)The Wine of Lovers

Today space is magnificent!
Without bridle or bit or spurs
Let us ride away on wine
To a divine, fairy-like heaven!

Like two angels who are tortured
By a relentless delirium,
Let us follow the far mirage
Through the crystal blue of the morning!

Gently balanced upon the wings
Of the intelligent whirlwind,
In a similar ecstasy,

My sister, floating side by side,
We'll flee without ever stopping
To the paradise of my dreams!
4 (FR)Le Vin de chiffonniers

Souvent à la clarté rouge d'un réverbère
Dont le vent bat la flamme et tourmente le verre,
Au coeur d'un vieux faubourg, labyrinthe fangeux
Où l'humanité grouille en ferments orageux,

On voit un chiffonnier qui vient, hochant la tête,
Butant, et se cognant aux murs comme un poète,
Et, sans prendre souci des mouchards, ses sujets,
Epanche tout son coeur en glorieux projets.

Il prête des serments, dicte des lois sublimes,
Terrasse les méchants, relève les victimes,
Et sous le firmament comme un dais suspendu
S'enivre des splendeurs de sa propre vertu.

Oui, ces gens harcelés de chagrins de ménage
Moulus par le travail et tourmentés par l'âge
Ereintés et pliant sous un tas de débris,
Vomissement confus de l'énorme Paris,

Reviennent, parfumés d'une odeur de futailles,
Suivis de compagnons, blanchis dans les batailles,
Dont la moustache pend comme les vieux drapeaux.
Les bannières, les fleurs et les arcs triomphaux

Se dressent devant eux, solennelle magie!
Et dans l'étourdissante et lumineuse orgie
Des clairons, du soleil, des cris et du tambour,
Ils apportent la gloire au peuple ivre d'amour!

C'est ainsi qu'à travers l'Humanité frivole
Le vin roule de l'or, éblouissant Pactole;
Par le gosier de l'homme il chante ses exploits
Et règne par ses dons ainsi que les vrais rois.

Pour noyer la rancoeur et bercer l'indolence
De tous ces vieux maudits qui meurent en silence,
Dieu, touché de remords, avait fait le sommeil;
L'Homme ajouta le Vin, fils sacré du Soleil!
4 (EN)The Rag-Picker's Wine

Often, in the red light of a street-lamp
Of which the wind whips the flame and worries the glass,
In the heart of some old suburb, muddy labyrinth,
Where humanity crawls in a seething ferment,

One sees a rag-picker go by, shaking his head,
Stumbling, bumping against the walls like a poet,
And, with no thought of the stool-pigeons, his subjects,
He pours out his whole heart in grandiose projects.

He takes oaths, dictates sublime laws,
Lays low the wicked and succors victims;
Beneath the firmament spread like a canopy
He gets drunk with the splendor of his own virtues.

Yes, these people harassed by domestic worries,
Ground down by their work, distorted by age,
Worn-out, and bending beneath a load of debris,
The commingled vomit of enormous Paris,

Come back, smelling of the wine-cask,
Followed by companions whitened by their battles,
And whose moustaches bang down like old flags;
Banners, flowers, and triumphal arches

Rise up before them, a solemn magic!
And in the deafening, brilliant orgy
Of clarions and drums, of sunlight and of shouts,
They bring glory to the crowd drunk with love!

It is thus that throughout frivolous Humanity
Wine, the dazzling Pactolus, carries flakes of gold;
By the throats of men he sings his exploits
And reigns by his gifts like a veritable king.

To drown the bitterness and lull the indolence
Of all these accurst old men who die in silence,
God, touched with remorse, had created sleep;
Man added Wine, divine child of the Sun!
5 (FR)Le Vin du solitaire

Le regard singulier d'une femme galante
Qui se glisse vers nous comme le rayon blanc
Que la lune onduleuse envoie au lac tremblant,
Quand elle y veut baigner sa beauté nonchalante;

Le dernier sac d'écus dans les doigts d'un joueur;
Un baiser libertin de la maigre Adeline;
Les sons d'une musique énervante et câline,
Semblable au cri lointain de l'humaine douleur,

Tout cela ne vaut pas, ô bouteille profonde,
Les baumes pénétrants que ta panse féconde
Garde au coeur altéré du poète pieux;

Tu lui verses l'espoir, la jeunesse et la vie,
— Et l'orgueil, ce trésor de toute gueuserie,
Qui nous rend triomphants et semblables aux Dieux!
5 (EN)The Wine of the Solitary

The strange look of a lady of pleasure
Turned slyly toward us like the white beam
Which the undulous moon casts on the trembling lake
When she wishes to bathe her nonchalant beauty;

The last bag of crowns between a gambler's fingers;
A lustful kiss from slender Adeline;
The sound of music, tormenting and caressing,
Resembling the distant cry of a man in pain,

All that is not worth, O deep, deep bottle,
The penetrating balm that your fruitful belly
Holds for the thirsty heart of the pious poet;

You pour out for him hope, and youth, and life
— And pride, the treasure of all beggary,
Which makes us triumphant and equal to the gods!

 

 

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