There was brave singing in the street last night for the vintner declared
An end to grief’s winter and many springtime secrets with us shared.

And many a knight of the cup threw discretion to the winds
And unwound one of those melodies only a lover finds.

By God! but those glances that the Beloved was flashing
Were nut-crackers to our hearts, and floods from eyes were splashing.

How lovely the moon looked as the dark-edged clouds scudded past her
And she emerged like a swimmer from foam to glimpse her dear Master.

The real melody was the wine pouring from the demijohn’s throat—
Each singer was a descant recklessly pledging note against note.

Our beloved Master was hugely amused at the loving quarrel
Of each singer with each, to outdo him and win the night’s laurel.

When the last cups were drained and song settled into a sigh
Young dawn was scattering rose-petals all over the sky.


What a night! Spiritual communing as a shared festivity. There is a mighty celebration when He serves His wine. The physical can unashamedly stand for the spiritual in this tradition. The Christian religion is used to a sharper contrast between the two.

No anxiety here, just a great geniality in the feast of love, love from and to the master. A throwing of discretion and even mind itself to the wind. These ecstatic gatherings would still be regarded as a a novelty in the West.

Homer speaks of rosy-fingered dawn, here she scatters symbolic rose petals over the sky. And the moon emerges from the foam like the new born Aphrodite, goddess of love.

A fresh breeze from a different era, embodying a perennial possibility of the spiritual life.

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