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Friday, December 23, 2005

Thirteen Ways of Thinking on the Louis Thirteen

(being mostly inspired by this Wallace Stevens poem)

I

Claret is the liquor for boys,
Port for men;
But he who aspires to be a hero
Must drink brandy. - Samuel Johnson

II

The culmination of anticipation
Distilled to this/that one moment
Already past.

III

To bring a glass of Louis XIII to your nose is to dream
An instantaneous, intensely personal dream - Rod Smith

IV

Of La Sagrada Familia, and Time:

Difficult to dissociate the drinking of the Louis XIII with ruminations on the nature of time in relation to the human lifespan… perhaps the most intriguing idea of this cognac is that some of the liquid drunk today had its roots in fruit grown in French fields before World War I.

Such thoughts on the utter disregard of time evoked in me clear memories of a sunset observed a few years ago within a tower of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia and the manic genius behind that cathedral. Assigned the project in 1884, Antonin Gaudi worked on this Cathedral for over 40 years until his death in 1926, when he was cruelly struck down by a tram.

Yet construction based on his plans continues even today, with scheduled completion hoped for the 100th birthday of the great architect’s death, 2026. No matter. On the subject of the extremely long construction, wikipedia quotes Gaudí as joking, “My client is not in a hurry.” Indeed.

V

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling [Louis XIII sipping?]
Or just after. - WS

VI

I hope what I do today
I am doing for the tastes of my grandchildren,
When they have grandchildren. - cellarmaster Georges Clot

VII

Remembering earlier
The shaking hands of the bartender,
As the drink was pain-stakingly measured out.
Emphasizing the value attached to every drop.

Still, each sniff and sip defied concerns
Of quantification.

VIII

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know. - WS

IX

Of laughter, and cheers to Andrew's impromptu Toast:

To the women of 2006, before and beyond -
May they prove as fine and sweet
As the wine grapes of this Louis the Thirteenth
... Though not as old!

X

Next must be a San Francisco pilgrimage to see this scroll.

XI

Open up the broken cup
Let goodly sin and sunshine in
Yes that’s today.
And open wide the hymns you hide
You find reknown while people frown
At things that you say
But say what you’ll say
About the farmers and the fun
And the things behind the sun
And the people round your head
Who say everything’s been said
And the movement in your brain
Sends you out into the rain. - Nick Drake

XII

Of death:

I am sitting in bar in Malta, listening to George Best telling me how he wants to die. “I've planned the whole thing,” he says quietly, sipping a white-wine spritzer. “I won't tell anyone, I'll just get on a plane to a little Spanish town in the middle of nowhere, find a local bar, order a bottle of Louis XIII brandy, drink the whole thing and that'll be it.”
An exceedingly lofty, if all too decadent, would-be tribute from the genius footballer and (too) intimate connoisseur of the spirits. The elixir lends itself naturally to further wonder at Bestie's skill and story. Sad his end was not as he envisioned.

XIII

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs. - WS

[and so Le Rois returned to its shelf]

3 Comments:

Anonymous Louis XIV said...

Well done, boys. Well done.

Me next!

4:50 PM  
Blogger Shari said...

It's encouraging to know that for once it was all that you hoped it'd be.

If only more could be.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Jason Cherniak said...

I am impressed. You have inspired me to begin my own collection.

12:14 PM  

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