Poetry by Jamie McKenzie

Tending Cellar

As bottles age
I pull them from the cellar
And their slots
One at a time
To be uncorked
And savored before they turn
Too old for anything much
But the drain

No wine before
It is time
No bottle opened
Too young
Left to rest
Where it is cool
No old stuff
Turned bad

Age is not always a virtue
As wine turns
And lives sour

I no longer buy serious wines
The ones that must linger
A decade
Laying on their sides
Collecting dust
As raw intensity
Almost harsh
Softens into grace

I am more aware of Time
How much is left
And how many bottles
One man
Late in life
Might open
And enjoy

The wooden racks
Once groaning
And proud
Weighted down by hundreds
Of serious bottles
Costly baubles
And impressive labels
Seem unconcerned now
Turning a blind eye
On each withdrawal
As if there is no grief
And no loss

Can I measure the time left me
By these empty slots
Or should I count the full ones?
If I buy new cases
And young bottles
To fill the empty slots
Will Time wait
Grant me an extension
Allow me ten more years
Before uncorking?
No wine before it is time?

If I buy hundreds of bottles
And fill all the empty slots
Will I live forever
Write thousands of new poems
And turn the Grim Reaper
Like some corked bottle
Into rubbish
A bad joke
A fool?

© Jamie McKenzie, all rights reserved.

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