Whiskey is, like blood and all perfect fluids,

A cough of life.

Behind the vitriol, through coloured glass

There is a hint of something,

If not greater, or better, or purer,

Then finer. It glows with after-love.

There are hints that there are hints of other things.

You feel that if you swill consideration

Some rainbow of sharp understanding

Will glow in the mouth, tongue,

Warm and harsh, and rich in diction,

Like a language hunted to extinction.

At times cloudy, peaty, acid as the mire;

Or else syrupy, like a culture trapped in amber.

It is the impurity of the filthy Celtic water

Which makes its rough refined refraction.


This poem owes a lot to Seamus Heaney. It’s the interaction of language, culture, symbol and image which I love about these sort of works. Just saying the words slowly, like a whisper or a curse, really brings out the tactile aspects of the language. Love it. Having a sip of a single malt really does wonderful things to the mind doesn’t it.  


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