O Happy Glass

Another soul inside a glass deep red—
I think on Provenance, effect and cause:
Do you begin in wind? In sun, or rain?
Inside a seed in bed, or in the grower’s head?
In winter when your climbing growth takes pause?
In summer when your jewels fill the wains?
It’s only in the thinker’s mind, this quest:
In you, a human search for Nature’s Laws.
O happy glass which holds all causes vain,
On pensive nights, dear soul, o’er all the rest,
You reign!



Cup in Hand

an arch anacreontic rejoinder to Blake

The world in a grain of sand
Is nothing to a cup in hand;
And heaven in a wild flower
Is nothing to a lover’s bower.
Infinity within one’s palm
Cannot compete with liquor’s psalm;
Eternity you bid me hold—
Sound advice, for when I’m old.



I Dreamed a Tree

A tree there was, I dreamed a tree,
And round me branches grew;
A trunk beneath began to rise
As toward the sun we flew.

A tree of life, a tree of green—
Young-blooded, fresh, and fair.
Birds took wing and found the sky,
Aloft in sun-steeped air.

A tree grown up, a tree grown tall,
All aged within a day;
Clouds passed by and coated leaves
With gentle, dappled spray.

The tree grows still beneath the sun,
A rot within its heart.
A blackness—stretching, reaching slow—
Plays out its dreadful art.

An aged branch falls, the bark gives way,
The leaves come back no more,
And to the forest floor it heaves—
Last battle cry of war.

A tree at rest, a tree laid low,
Yet life still has its way.
Flowers spring where roots once crept
To greet anew the day.

A dream there was, I dreamed a tree,
Now parted is my dream—
Did I create the tree, the rot?
So distant now they seem.



Talbot Hook is a PhD student and occasional writer currently living in Connecticut.

NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets.

The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or commentary.

CODEC Stories:

14 Responses

  1. jd

    I like all three, Mr. Hook, especially, being partial to trees, the last.

    • Talbot

      Thanks, jd. Trees are great soul-shakers to me, and so I find myself thinking about them quite often. Glad to meet a kindred spirit.

  2. Paul Freeman

    I Dreamed a Tree felt pure Lake Poet, to me.

    O Happy Glass and Cup in Hand felt like toasts of celebration, particularly the latter.

    May I direct you to a Danish comedy (Best Foreign Film at last year’s Oscars) with Mads Mikklesen, titled ‘Another Round’ – it’s an inspiration for those who enjoy a tiple … or two.

    Thanks for the reads.

    • Talbot

      Dear Paul,

      That movie has been on my list ever since reading about it a few months ago! I’ll bump it up the to-do, though, based on your comment.

      Thanks for the praise, as well! I’ve been writing about the “earthier” things as of late (pipe smoking, also), so thought I’d share. Your words are much appreciated.

  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    Thank you for “O Happy Glass” and “Cup in Hand.” We need more good poems on the exquisite pleasures of wines, liquors, and spirits. These drinks are an important part of our cultural inheritance, and should be celebrated.

    Watch out for teetotalers and prohibitionists. They are sickos.

    • Talbot

      Absolutely agreed on all points. I hope mine contribute (however slightly) to that cultural appreciation. Thanks for the comment.

      Everything in moderation, including moderation!

  4. Margaret Coats

    I love the finding of a companion soul in “O Happy Glass.” Pensive, but exuberant as well. Although the drinker is thinker, I credit winemakers with “a human search for Nature’s Laws.” May their success be to my taste! I’ll read the poem again this evening when I ordinarily meet my happy glass. Thanks, Talbot!

    • Talbot

      Dear Margaret,

      Your comment made me chuckle heartily. I hope you meet a boon companion in your glass! May the winemakers’ success indeed be to your taste, and have a splendid evening.

  5. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Talbot, thank you for a trio of intoxicating poems that is an absolute privilege to read.

    • Talbot

      Susan, thanks so much for the kind words. Also, I see what you did there! Have a lovely evening.

  6. Jeff Eardley

    Talbot, these are so good. In “O Happy Glass” I mentally replaced “on Provenance” with “of Provence” with fond memories of happy times touring the vineyards of Southern France. A happy “Cheers” to you from England and thank you for a very good read.

    • Talbot

      Jeff, thanks so much for the kind words, and I’m glad you were able to draw a connection with the poem. Much appreciated.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Captcha loading...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.