Tuesday, March 13, 2012

1. Planting

1. Planting
With care, place letters.
Compact down the heart, mind, soul
Airtight to keep safe.

Fruit will bud, ripen, and grow:
Take care to harvest each word.

Today I planted a new grape: Vitis Poema. I hope to cultivate this plant to make wine, a wine of words. Some of my varietals will be words for words, others will be for wine. Will I plant more? Only time will tell. But like vineyard tenders and vintners, I'll start with a few and see what comes of my crop.

Poetry and wine share a common birth. Poems are born from care and craft, much like any good wine. Both, first, must see its main ingredient, its essence, planted. Poets must grow words to shape a poem, as a winemaker must grow his grapes to make wine. So begins my newest endeavor.

Poetry and wine also share a common link for me; my experience with both are parallel. When I first started to read poetry, I read whatever I could easily come across (which often meant what my teachers in middle and high school provided). In that experience I read a lot of material that had no impact or no life (at least for me). And well, my writing is not something I am proud of, but it was necessary to work through the junk to appreciate the good work that was yet to come. The same goes for wine. I drank what I was given, not thinking much about what I liked. I nearly stopped drinking wine because of that. But, like poetry, I had to get through the junk first.

In my early years, I did find a few gems; as a high school senior I came across John Donne's "Valediction: Forbidding Mourning." That work has stayed with me; it grew to be more powerful as I experienced more of poetry and life. It is a work of pure love; one I hope I can one day write myself. As for wine, an early gem was Becker Vineyard's Cabernet Sauvignon Iconoclast. It is my standard; all good wines must be at least as good as that one.

But I wouldn't be writing today if things hadn't changed. In college, I found myself introduced to more and more poetry. However, I was encouraged  to seek out what I liked, to discover. More than that, I was aided in this quest. Finally, people started recommending poets. I have since found many I love. One of my favorite recommendations was Ikkyu. His poetry is raw and elegant. It showcases a greater beauty in the most normal and the most human; basically, he can take what many would find profane or lowly and give it humanity. The same goes for wine. Several years ago, after the wine discovery, I had the chance to go to Becker. While I was there, I was directed through my tasting; they helped me to find the Becker wines I would like. To this day, one of my all time favorites is their Malbec, a wine I came across on that first visit.

I have had many teachers for both my verse and my wine. All have helped me see more. All have helped me develop my love. To them, this blog is dedicated. So, today my vine is planted. Tomorrow, my fruit will grow.

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