If you were listening to NPR this morning, and happened to catch The Writer’s Almanac (hosted by Lake Wobegon’s own Garrison Keillor), you would have heard Mr. Keillor reading a stark and stunning poem by the evisceratingly poignant poet Jim Harrison, whose birthday it is today, the 11th of December.
Wine plays an emotionally significant role in the poem, and does so in such a way as to support once again the theorem that in wine, we have our liquid of ritual. Enjoy.
To remember you’re alive
visit the cemetery of your father
at noon after you’ve made love
and are still wrapped in a mammalian
odor that you are forced to cherish.
Under each stone is someone’s inevitable
surprise, the unexpected death
of their biology that struggled hard, as it must.
Now to home without looking back,
enough is enough.
En route buy the best wine
you can afford and a dozen stiff brooms.
Have a few swallows then throw the furniture
out the window and begin sweeping.
Sweep until the walls are
bare of paint and at your feet sweep
until the floor disappears. Finish the wine
in this field of air, return to the cemetery
in evening and wind through the stones
a slow dance of your name visible only to birds.
Categories: Wine & Poetry