Alice O. Howell
Bacchus makes the transition
from wineskins to bottles
all things considered
his black hair curls and glistens as of old
but his bowtie and red brass-buttoned vest
do not really become him.
Constrained and perspiring slightly
he wipes the bar snd sighs:
Wine, for instance, should be drunk at sunset
in soft air, out of doors
to the lucky tune of plucked strings
and the glass held up to the dying sun
to catch its fire in the glowing crimsons of the grape
the sea fine and blue far off
each savory swallow
should be followed by a glorious thought of friendship
of increscent foot-tapping dance
or a silky naked shoulder under idly stroking fingers
with rosy joys to come
Grapes should be bunched and blessed and burst
mmmmmmmmm! mmmmmmm! mmmmmmm!
he kisses his fingertips
which have just filled an ice bucket
feeling grapes, nibbling grapes
dreaming, as well, the grapeleaves
curled around hot spiced rice
currants and cinnamon
Ah! the round little breasts of young girls
glimpsed through the wine
or kissing the flushed globes of sweet apples
and plums like nipples, all the juices and rivulets dribbling
of good dreams under an olive tree
with maidens bringing white exposed cheeses
round and mellow
perfect with the wine!
cool, with fish, lemon and fresh parsley
white wine, green-gold, dusted and dry
mmmmmmmmm! mmmmmmm! mmmmmmmm!
Now, for the red - wet smacking happy kisses
of plump mothers full of laughter
with warm gurglings of appreciation
as they dance slowly swaying the melons
la-la! la-la! la-la!
top and bottom
aaaaaaaaaaaah mmmmmmmmm! aaaaaaaaaah!
fiery, rosy, ruby, tongue-wafting, flowing, sluicing
rivers of joy
clear sweet sips of the living gods!
Bacchus leans on the bar, wistfully smiling
out over the maroon curtains on their brass rings
to the grey afternoon haze of the city street -
a harsh voice interrupts:
"Double on the rocks. Hey, and hurry up, man,
I gotta plane to catch!"