“il faut enivrer sans trêve”
Not far from the derelict
elevators of bread, still rising
blind and Babylonian, closer
still to our Lady of Safe Harbours so often
bathed in honey, braving the wet
resin of coming winter war, my friend,
an impending pappoú, has friends
with greeting hands into which we disappear
for a time.
Helen is the fire of Crete, ensuring our mindful
use of public transport before
the bubbly, the orange of Campania,
La Vielle Prune warming the beginnings
of imaginative huitres, home-smoked belly
of boar, and pockets of lobster.
The tip-tongue tripping of pappardelle
and truffle slivers, l’air doux de
thon, de morue glacée, the solid verities of
venison, all now under the domain of Bizot,
and a moist November evening evolving
into a Night of Saint-Georges.
And amidst the peaty pleasures of
a small and curving glass, this clean night
of fall hangs delicately with sweet, soft smoke.
With this patina of Ottawa still clinging,
even after decades in this other, older home,
my words are, as always, merely wind,
yet they remain, as always, my only wine.
And my friendship,
even as occasional and
too-distant as this, proves again
as dense and unyielding as this
old city’s blocks of grey stone.
[for Theo Diamantis]