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This poem is taken from PN Review 199, Volume 37 Number 5, May - June 2011.

Two Poems John Mallett
In Vino Veritas

'Raspberry and plum characters are offset by leather.' (Tasting-note on a wine-label)


Dry up, pert vintner. Remember, the judging of wine
is for me when I've sipped it. If plum
or old boots fill the bottle, a raspberry to you!
            Leave praising to poets.


May better men lecture the drinker on climate and terroir.
I'd rather take counsel from sturdier, hardier fellows
that labour year-long their calcareous terraces,
            wary of hailstones;


or from patriarchs wise in arcana of vinification,
high-priests of the cellar and guardians of barrel and vat
where the blood of the vine sleeps long,
            maturing in darkness.


In truth, it's the scent of the seasons that rises from wine,
the chatter of ghosts we summon to join us at table,
...


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