Tuesday, October 31, 2017

"Single-Malt Soul" by James Frederick William Rowe

Single-Malt Soul
James Frederick William Rowe

Upon retirement of a lifelong labour
Do our guardian angels
Imbibe a quaff
From the well of our soul?
We are after all
A fine aged spirit
Matured for years
In the cask of our body
Well made for sipping
The water of life

Would that mine would say:
"Single-malt soul
I shall take you with water
For you, undiluted
Are far too strong for me."

Poet’s Notes:  I take my Scotch whisky neat. That way, I can enjoy it by itself and savour the flavours of the dram in a pure form.  This poem celebrates that love of Scotch and plays upon the double meaning of spirit--as a soul and as the distilled essence of the alcohol. The poem shouldn't give too much difficulty in interpretation but it concerns a guardian angel’s drinking of the speaker’s soul as if his spirit were, in fact, well, a spirit—in this case, a single-malt Scotch.

“Whisky” in Gaelic means “water of life”, and this is likewise reflected in the poem as a play on words given that I am referencing the soul, which endows the body of life with, of course, the “water of life” of the Scotch. In the second stanza, the speaker wishes for the angel to be so impressed by his life that he has to take the dram with water, else the flavour would be overwhelming.

The poem was written rather quickly, but I cannot remember where. There is nothing especially ornate or complex in its structure, but I rather like how it came out.

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