The Poetry of Wine
Author: Derek Walklate
The days of wine and roses poem by Ernest Dowson (1867-1900) might be very popular - but there's much more to know about wine and poetry, and about the writers whose work was inspired by the love of wine.
One of the earliest poets to have written about wine was the Chinese poet Li Bai (born 701 AD). While he was a prolific writer he also led a wild life killing a number of people in duels and martial arts challenges. Many of his poems celebrated wine, song and friendship and is definitely worth checking out.
One of the finest English romantic poets was Percy Bysshe Shelley (born 1792). He was married to Mary Shelley who wrote the famous novel Frankenstein. She published much of her husband’s work after he died off the coast of Sardinia whilst living in Italy in 1822 as he was mostly unknown during his living years. Coincidently, Li Bai mentioned above, also died from drowning.
Whilst a number of his poems mentioned wine, his most well-known is The Vine Shroud:-
Flourishing Vine, whose kindling Clusters glow
Beneath the autumnal sun, none taste of thee
For though dost shroud a ruin, and below
The rotting bones of dead antiquity
William Butler Yeats (born 1865) won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923 for his poetry. Yeats was inspired by the pre-Raphaelite brotherhood and in particular, the work of Percy Shelley. He was proud of his Irish roots and similarly to other great poets, lived a life dedicated to wine, women and song. I was unaware that he died in a hotel in Menton (South of France), a place I have visited many times being an admirer of the art of Jean Cocteau. W. B. Yeats wrote a poem called A Drinking Song (1916):-
Wine comes in at the mouth and love comes in at the eye,
That’s all we shall know for truth, before we grow old and die
Hopefully, the above has provided a spark of interest in the great poets and I’m sure we all have a poem about wine inside of us.
Wine and Poetry from Stanlake Park
Working in Stanlake Park and knowing its history certainly inspired me to see what I could do (apologies to all the real poets out there!) :-
The Wines of Stanlake Park
The sun rises casting light across the Stallion field
The buds burst to give the promise of a fruitful yield
The red kites circle above the songs of the lark
The peaceful beauty of a day in the life of Stanlake Park
The grapes grow fuller clinging to the leafy vines
Growing in anticipation for a year of fine wines
It’s in the lap of the gods until the harvest season
The winemaker prays for successful veraison
Long hours of toil for the dornfelder, ortega and chardonnay
Fulfilling their transformation to Reserve and King's Fumé
From planting to pruning, with love and devotion
Let us all raise our glass in appreciative salutation