Winter 1979 • Vol. I No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1979 |

Blue Wine

for Saul Steinberg 1 The winemaker worries over his casks, as the dark juice Inside them broods on its own sleep, its ferment of dreaming Which will turn out to have been a slow waking after all, All that time. This would be true of the red wine or the white, But a look inside these barrels of the azure would show Nothing. They would be as if filled with what the sky looks like. 2 Three wise old wine people were called in once to consider The blueness of the wine. One said: "It is 'actually' not Blue; it is a profound red in the cask, but reads as blue In the only kind of light that we have to see it by." Another said: "The taste is irrelevant—whatever Its unique blend of aromas, bouquets, vinosities And so forth, the color would make it quite undrinkable." A third said nothing: he was lost in a blue study while His eyes drank deeply and his wisdom shuddered, that the wine Of generality could be so strong and so heady. 3 There are those who will maintain th

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John Hollander was the author of numerous books of poetry. His first, A Crackling of Thorns, was chosen by W.H. Auden as the 1958 volume in the Yale Series of Younger Poets. He also wrote criticism, including the award-winning Rhyme's Reason: A Guide to English Verse and The Work of Poetry, and edited or coedited twenty-two collections, among them The Oxford Anthology of English Literature, and American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century. Before his death in August, 2013 he was Sterling Professor emeritus of English at Yale University.

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