The Angels’ Share

Oh many a peer of England brews
Livelier liquor than the Muse,
And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God’s ways to man.

— A.E. Housman

When whisky’s aged in oaken casks, some ullage
Should be expected, for it’s only fair
That higher beings get to taste their share
Of spirits that a dedicated village

Produced in tall curvaceous copper stills.
The volatility of ethanol
Through porous wooden staves is not at all
Mysterious—it’s as the Good Lord wills.

And by His sempiternal loving grace,
The holy art and craft of distillation,
Predestined from the first days of Creation,
Was meant to fortify the human race.

So if it happens that we drink with angels,
We hope that they enjoy our company
As we do theirs—with harps and tympani—
And let this atmosphere be ever changeless.

 

 

I Admit I’m an Alcoholic, but Since Alcoholics Are Always in Denial, I Can’t Possibly Be One

I’d rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy. — Dorothy Parker

Whenever I see booze I’m wont to drink it,
If only for the thrill of drunken pleasure;
And here is more good news: I never think it
Unseemly for a bloke to quench his thirst,
Regardless of the bill for sunken treasure
He’ll owe when he is broke and at his worst.

Already I’ve confessed that I’m a drunk
Who loves to celebrate each bitter ending,
But I will do my bestest to debunk
The myth that spoken truth must be good grammared,
And I won’t hesitate to keep defending
My right to be uncouth when I am hammered.

First published in Trinacria

 

 

On the Cutting Room Floor

Are snippets from the recent past:
Relationships that didn’t last,
The promos for a canceled tour,
Deleted scenes, and much much more.

In Hollywood the status quo
Is framed by critics in the know,
And every word from every star
Dissembles who they truly are.

In headlines from the tabloid press
Are sins to which they won’t confess
And sordid details of their lives
Disclosed by bitter former wives.

The idols of the silver screen
Are always something in between
The rumors and established fact.
The bottom line is, Can they act?

In haste we judge, but let’s be fair:
A celebrated millionaire
Is not much worse at knowing right
From wrong than any other wight.

 

 

C.B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television series, The Victory Garden.  Hundreds of his poems have appeared in scores of print and electronic journals out of North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, Australia and India.  His collection, Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder was published in 2013 by White Violet Press


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13 Responses

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    These three poems are absolutely flawless gems. They show the intelligence, craft, and sheer professional excellence that I always expect from Kip Anderson.

    And God bless all wines, liquors, beers, and cordials! We should all drink a lot more of them.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Dr. Salemi, contrary to your advice, Mike and I have decided not to drink any more… of course, we’re definitely not going to drink any less either.

      Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      You might say, Joseph, that this was an exceptionally Trinacrian post. Cheers!

      Reply
  2. David Watt

    C.B., the title and text of your first poem are a perfect pairing. You have proved in the space of sixteen lines that whisky is a heavenly drink.

    I don’t know if “the bill for sunken treasure” is an Anderson original, but it hits the spot.

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      There are good reasons, David, why whisk(e)y is referred to as spirits. In fact, the word “whisk(e)y” itself comes from the Gaelic word “uisge” from a longer noun phrase that means “water of life.” “Vodka” is derived from “voda,” a Slavic word for “water.” And of course there’s aquavit and so on.

      Reply
      • David Watt

        Thanks C.B. for explaining the Gaelic origin of the word “whisk(e)y”. It’s truly the water of life. I had heard from my wife that the name vodka is derived from “voda”, and also that there is only one correct percentage of alcohol for ‘genuine’ vodka.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        “Vodka” in Russian is a diminutive, meaning “small water,” or “little water.” The idea is that the fermentation process begins with a large quantity of liquid, but ends up with a much smaller quantity of finished spirits.

  3. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    C.B., I stumbled upon this quotation and thought of you:

    “No poems can please for long or live that are written by water drinkers”
    – Horace

    On the strength of Horace’s observation, I’m off to uncork a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape before picking up my pen. 🙂

    Reply
    • Julian D. Woodruff

      Susan,
      For you, C.B., and any who may be interested, Adrian Willaert made a test piece for singers in setting a Horace poem (ode?) “Quid non ebrietas.” There’s also a charming part-song by Haydn, on Lessing’s “Die Beredsamkeit” (beginning and ending “Freunde, Wasser machet stumm”).

      Reply

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