Wine & Poetry
by Phillip Silverstone
The publisher of this wonderful publication wishes to add a bit of culture
from time to time, and requested something "tasteful" in my column, and of course, I responded that "you've got me as a regular
columnist, and that my friend is the absolute pinnacle of class". So in
honor of this somewhat curious request, this month's column is all about
culture and the finer side of the world of slurping.
Poetry has certainly devoted a lot of its attention to the subject of
wine. Some three decades ago, while four young Liverpudians brought
color to the cheeks of the 20th century, Silverstone was discovering the
world of verse:
It was thirty years ago today,
Poetry entered my life to stay,
Its been going in and out of style,
But remained with me all the while.
So let me inroduce to you,
My two favorite pastimes combined,
Some poems peppered with wine.
From the pen of that famous author Anon:
God made man, frail as a bubble;
Man made love - love made trouble.
God made the vine - then is it a sin
That man made wine to drown trouble in?.
Willie Shakespeare's Richard 111 uttered:
Give me a bowl of wine:
I have not that alacrity of spirit,
Nor cheer of mind, that I was wont to have..
J.B. Aldrich was the perfect host:
I beg you come tonight and dine
A welcome waits you and sound wine
The Roederer chilly to a charm
As Juno's breasts the claret warm..
Byron scratched these sentiments:
Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter,
Sermons and soda-water the day after..
Finally, the poetry of the Beatles, which could just as easily have come from Silverstone:
When I get older losing my hair many years from now will you still be sending me a valentine, Birthday greetings, bottle of wine.
And rock musicians in the late 60's and early 70's were spending bucket
loads of money they received for their raucous renderings on the finer things of life such as large estates in the British countryside,Rolls-Royces, and yes, fine wines. So I thought this extract from "Stairway to Heaven, Led Zeppelin Uncensored" by Richard Cole, would
bring a smile to the faces of my ex-hippie chums reading the Restaurant Report.
"On our last day in Seattle, John Bonharm, the band's drummer, and I
wandered into singer Robert Plant's empty hotel room. The balcony overlooked the ocean. "Let's throw the refrigerator in the ocean", Bonham snickered. We picked up the small refrigerator in Plant's room, carried it out to the balcony and swung it over the rail. Plant was in guitar player Jimmy Page's room down the hallway, and witnessed the incident.
When he realized that it was his his room, and his fridge that had taken
the plunge, he screamed, "You bleep bleeps" (or words to that effect). "There were six bottles of Dom Perignon Champagne in there - 1966 Dom Perignon!" Within a few minutes, two fishermen in a small boat had spotted the floating refrigerator and maneuvered alongside. They lifted it aboard,opened its door, and threw the champagne into the water. They
kept the refrigerator."
That's the kind of story which brings back memories of the good old days when I was a boy. I'm proud of my Generation WHO ever we were!
Cheers and peace man!
Phillip Silverstone is a syndicated broadcaster and columnist. His book, "Cheers! The World of a Wine-osaur" (Camino Books, $12) is available in bookstores everywhere.
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