Drinking, by Abraham Cowley

2011.02.05

As I poured through my collections of poetry looking for something else to lampoon, I stumbled upon Abraham Cowley’s poem “Drinking” (also, for some reason, not at Poets.org), and realized that there is nothing to lampoon: this poem is perfect as it is. While not strictly about beer, it gets the point across that there is nothing wrong with a little consumption.

Drinking
by Abraham Cowley

The thirsty earth soaks up the rain,
And drinks and gapes for drink again;
The plants suck in the earth, and air
With constant drinking fresh and fair;
The sea itself (which one would think
Should have but little need of drink)
Drinks twice ten thousand rivers up,
So filled that they o’erflow the cup.
The busy sun (and one would guess
By’s drunken fiery face no less)
Drinks up the sea, and when he’s done,
The moon and stars drink up the sun:
They drink and dance by their own light,
They drink and revel all the night.
Nothing in nature’s sober found,
But eternal health goes round.
Fill up the bowl, then, fill it high!
Fill all the glasses there—for why
Should every creature drink but I?
Why, man of morals, tell me why?

Categories : Poems

When a Man Hath No Beverage to Drink of His Own

2011.02.02

Byron’s poem When a Man Hath No Freedom to Fight for at Home has always been one of my favorites. It embodies a lot of Byron’s adventurous personality. Interestingly, Byron did in fact die while fighting for the freedom of his neighbors in 1824 in the Greek Civil War. On a side note, the site I usually link to, Poets.org, does not appear to have this poem, so I have linked to it elsewhere on the Interwebz.

When a man hath no beverage to drink of his own,
    Let him bum off of one of his neighbors;
Let him drink of the lagers of Bonn and Cologne,
    And enjoy all the fruits of your labors.

To share beer with a friend, from a bottle or can,
    It will always improve the brew’s flavor;
So share with your comrades whenever you can,
    And then hope that they repay the favor!

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How Do I Love Beer?

2011.01.27

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who wrote a number of sonnets including How Do I Love Thee, has often been accused of being too effusive, too over-the-top emotional. But it seems fitting to appropriate her poetry for FoamyPoetry, as I find myself getting quite emotional about beer.

How do I love beer? Let me count the ways.
I love beer to the depth and breadth and height
My taste buds can, when drinking every pint
At Fox and Hound (two dollars on Tuesdays).
I love beer to the level of every day’s
Most basic need, but mostly in the night.
I love beer freely, as men strive for right;
I love beer purely, love its hoppy taste.
I love beer with the passion put to use
To drown the sorrows of my chosen path.
I love beer with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost loves—and with my dying breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life—and, if God choose,
I shall but love beer better after death.

O Waitress! My Waitress!

2011.01.25

Let me start by saying I’m not actually a huge fan of Walt Whitman. I know that’s almost a sin in some circles, but it’s the truth. However, his wonderful poem “O Captain! My Captain!” does an excellent job of painting a picture of the contrasting emotions the poet experienced at the end of the Civil War: joy that the war had ended and the nation survived, but sorrow at the loss of Abraham Lincoln.

O Waitress! My Waitress! ev’ry last drop is gone,
My mouth has swallowed ev’ry sip, my mug of stout is done.
The time is here for ‘nother beer, the people all demanding,
To serve them food and heady drink, ‘neath neon lights all glaring;
    But O heart! heart! heart!
        Only traces still of foam.
            Where on the table my mug sits,
                Empty and alone.

O Waitress! My Waitress! rise up and bring a glass;
Rise up—for you I am waiting—for you to walk on past,
For you to come and service me—another mug be bringing,
For you we call, the patron mass, our eager faces turning;
    Here Waitress! dear server!
        You went to them instead!
            When on the table my mug sits,
                Fallen cold and dead.

My Waitress does not answer, my mug is empty still,
My server does not feel my pain, just serves others their swill.
The jukebox blares its booming sound, the tavern packed and sweaty,
As I sit impatiently, for ‘nother brew I’m ready.
    Exult, patrons, and blare, jukebox!
        My server dressed in read
            Has finally delivered
                The next foamy head.

Categories : Poems
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Because I could not stop for beer

2011.01.23

Huge apologies to Emily Dickinson (and fans of same)… her poem Because I could not stop for death, about being too busy to plan for death and eternity, is one of my favorites. But I couldn’t resist…

Because I could not stop for beer —
He kindly…

Oh, who am I kidding? I can always stop for beer!

Categories : Poems

The Lager

2011.01.21

Whereas William Blake’s “The Lamb” (which I bastardized Wednesday) looked at the idea of the creator from the standpoint of an innocent child, his poem “The Tyger” considers the same issue from a more experienced and skeptical perspective: could God really have created a killing machine like the Tyger?

Lager! Lager! Shining bright
In the tavern on this night,
What talented kind of guy
Could brew this tasty beer for me?

From what distant brewery
Didst though travel here to me?
In what truck did it transpire
To bring you here to quench my fire?

And what kettle, and what pot,
Could brew the substance of thy wort?
What the malt, with yeast atop,
Could be flavored by your hops?

What fermenter? What the cask
Could prove up to the heady task?
What the keg and what the tap,
Or the bottle and the cap?

When your master tried his beer,
Did he shed a grateful tear?
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who brewed the Ale brew thee?

Lager! Lager! Shining bright
In the tavern on this night,
What talented kind of guy
Will fill another mug for me?

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The Ale

2011.01.19

William Blake published two major collections of poetry: Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. The former was written from a naive, child-like point-of-view, and included the poem “The Lamb,” which is written as a child explaining to a lamb about its creator (God). So, yeah, maybe a little sacrilegious, but I enjoyed writing it.

    Little Ale, who brewed thee?
    Does thou know who brewed thee;
Gave thee hops and added yeast
To the barley or the wheat;
Gave thee bottle of dark brown,
Paper label wrapping ’round;
Gave thee such a crisp, clean tase
Making all sorrows erase?
    Little Ale, who brewed thee?
    Does thou know who brewed thee?

    Little Ale, I’ll tell thee,
    Little Ale, I’ll tell thee:
He is called brewmaster,
And he brews for us the beer.
He adds the hops and adds the yeast
To the barley or the wheat,
Patiently fermets the beer;
It should not be done faster.
    Little Ale, I’ll drink thee;
    Little Ale, I’ll drink thee!

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To the Drinkers to Make Much of Time

2011.01.17

Robert Herrick’s “To the Virgins to Make Much of Time” is a great poem (featured in the movie Dead Poets Society
) is about making the most of what time we have on Earth, because, sooner or later, it will all be gone. It turned out to be one of the easiest adaptations I’ve done.

Gather ye patrons while ye may,
    Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same martzen that foams today
    Tomorrow will be dying.

The glorious cap of bubbles, the head,
    The higher he’s a-getting
The sooner will this brew be dead,
    No longer your thirst whetting.

That beer is best which is the first,
    Keg freshly tapped and colder;
But being old, the worse, and worst
    Times come when beer is older.

Then be not coy, but use your time:
    Yes, grab your coat and your hat
And, heeding the words of this rhyme,
    Go get your beer ‘fore ’tis flat!

Categories : Poems
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She Foams in Beauty

2011.01.15

I usually apologize to the original authors whose poems I bastardize, but I think Byron would appreciate this. The original, which is both very romantic and a little creepy, can be read here.

She foams in beauty, like a pint
Of Guinness fresh when bubbles rise,
When all that’s rich and dark and right
Meet in a glass that is pint-sized;
Thus rendered in that neon light
Which society to day denies.

One stout the more, one ale the less,
Would help to set the drinking pace
Of nearly ev’ry tavern guest
That crowds into this smoky place,
Whose thoughts of brews often express
Their quality and sense of taste.

And from their stools o’er at the bar
They watch the game, oh so intent,
And cheer the win on TV’s glow
And dream of days in vic’try spent,
Their minds at peace with final score,
And sipping beer they are content.

Categories : Poems

Stopping for Beer on a Snowy Evening

2011.01.13

With apologies to the great Robert Frost… Read the original here

Whose bar this is I think I know
His house is in the suburbs though:
He will not see me stopping here
To drink some pints before I go.

Some people, yes, might think it queer
To stop inside for ice cold beer;
I did not have to travel far
The coldest evening of the year.

In parking lot I leave my car;
Inside I sit down at the bar.
I signal to the old barkeep
While B.B. picks at his guitar.

The beer is lovely, dark and deep,
And I have promises to keep,
And pints to drink before I sleep,
And pints to drink before I sleep.

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