Quarantine Quatrains: a little celebration of wine

I recently posted the full text of my Quarantine Quatrains, a response to the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,  but I said that I would also post some of the individual sections, for those who may not have leisure for the whole thing. And so, to cheer us up on yet another lock-down Monday I thought I’d share this little encomium and meditation on wine, in earnest of the day when we really can raise a glass together!

In the mean time, If you are enjoying these posts, you might like, on occasion,(though not every time of course!) to pop in and buy me a cup of coffee. Clicking on this banner will take you to a page where you can do so, if you wish.
Buy Me A Coffee

As always you can hear me read the poem by clicking on the ‘play’ button or the Roman numeral



I think of old Khayyam who ‘stood before

The tavern shouting open up the door’

And wish I might carouse the night with him

Alas that such carousals are no more


I’ll keep the rules my country has imposed

My life, like my small garden, is enclosed,

But still I’ll raise a glass and pledge my friends

Although, for us, the tavern door is closed


For in my cellar, ranged in dusty rows,

Are sleeping poets waiting to disclose

Deep memories of St. Emillion

Whose vineyards reach to where the Dordogne flows


And with these wines I travel where I please

From Rhineland to the lofty Pyrenees,

I saunter though the chateaus of the loire,

Drawing the cork on any one of these.


So with the poets let me praise the vine

And pledge my absent friends in vintage wine

Sensing, sometimes, the savour at my lips

Speaks of a love both human and divine.


And when I come to taste my life’s last drop,

When all that flowed in me comes to a stop,

Then let me see my saviour pledge his love,

Come close to me, and help me drink the cup.



Filed under Poems

10 responses to “Quarantine Quatrains: a little celebration of wine

  1. philippe.garmy@okstate.edu

    The “sleeping poets” evocation “ranged in dusty rows”
    brought to mind Baudelaire’s’ poem (six quatrains of alexandrines),
    “L’Âme du Vin”, from his FLEURS DU MAL collection.
    Below, I share its first stanza followed by the last:

    Un soir, l’âme du vin chantait dans les bouteilles:
    «Homme, vers toi je pousse, ô cher déshérité,
    Sous ma prison de verre et mes cires vermeilles,
    Un chant plein de lumière et de fraternité!

    En toi je tomberai, végétale ambroisie,
    Grain précieux jeté par l’éternel Semeur,
    Pour que de notre amour naisse la poésie
    Qui jaillira vers Dieu comme une rare fleur!»

    As you allude to in your poem, wine is not a coincidence of creation, it is indeed a “Grain précieux jeté par l’éternel Semeur,” holder of a love of a unique kind and of a particular power, that of giving birth to “une rare fleur! ”

    Pour nôtre santé éternelle, mon frère, Je vous salue!

    • malcolmguite

      Wonderful. I know that poem and I wonder if an unconscious memory of it suggested that line! I’m glad to be reminded of it now

  2. Reblogged this on Persona and commented:
    A peot-theologian’s celebration of wine.
    Not for tea-totallers. What do they know? 🙂

  3. mlambt

    Once [and more] upon a time I enjoyed a glass [or two] Since strokes and subsequent medication placed a ban, a few years ago I haven’t touched and do not miss it, except on a few occasions when I recall those sips of special red or Laphroigh [forgotten the spelling!] and now your enjoyable poem penetrating the wooly memory of a 89 yr old plus one next Saturday

    Ordinarily I never do blogs or this kind of thing but Lent, last part in hospital, was enriched by “ The Word in the Wilderness”

    Double thanks to you from Molly Lambert

  4. Catherine Bond

    Dear Malcolm, We enjoyed your poems all through Lent ( Word in the Wilderness) and have carried on enjoying them through quarantine.

    We are especially appreciative of your Quarantine Quatrains. They are so relevant and amusing. Loved today’s one about raising a glass! We look forward to raising a glass again with you someday. Otley Hall has been sold now, after three years of being on the market!

    We are enjoying life in Felixstowe and the peace and quiet created by the lockdown. I might even manage to read your Coleridge book, about time!

    Best wishes, Catherine Bond, previously Beaumont

    Sent from my iPad


  5. David

    Malcom. Cheers my brother! I raise a cup from Northern California. God bless.

  6. David Barker

    Malcom. Cheers my brother! I raise a cup from Northern California. God bless.

  7. lawmom76

    I love these! Thank you. I’m new to your work. My daughter Sarah introduced you to me on Maundy Thursday. I live in Saint Paul.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

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