A.J. Rathbun, author of many books including Good Spirits, has compiled a book of poetry that captures the bars of the world, the spirits within them, and the imbibers in inspiring prose. These verses were penned by the masters such as John Keats, Emily Dickinson, Arthur Rimbaud, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, as well as contemporary poets including Richard Carr, Amy Fluery, Mark Halliday, and Rathbun himself. This collection is one that has something new on every page, all stunning and enlightening prose, and it is, quite simply, a joy to read and share with a great drink in hand.
The correlation between bar and poetry? Liquor has long loosened the tongues of drinkers and often these ramblings have had a lyrical value, giving us barroom poetry. Rathbun states it nicely in the introduction: "...with a drink in one hand and a book in the other, I've found out how well verse and good drinks go together (rather like bourbon and bitters). Both are driven by a love of balance and good taste, while at the same time being open to wild fits of imagination and of worldly things."
From In Their Cups
Anareontic to Flip
by Royall Tyler - American playright (1757-1826)
Stingo! to thy bar-room skip,
Make a foaming mug of Flip;
Make it our country's staple,
Rum New England, Sugar Maple,
Beer, that's brewed from hops and Pumpkin,
Grateful to the thirsty Bumkin.
Hark! I hear they poker fizzle,
And o'er the mug the liquor drizzle;
All against the earthen mug,
I hear the horn-spoon's cheerful dub;
I see thee, STINGO, take the Flip,
And sling thy cud from under lip,
Then pour more rum, and, bottle stopping,
Stir it again, and swear 'tis topping.
Come quickly bring the humming liquor,
Richer than ale of British vicar;
Better than usquebaugh Hibernian,
Or than Flaccus' famed Falernian;
More potent, healthy, racy, frisky,
Than Holland's gin, or Georgia whisky.
Come, make a ring around the fire,
And hand the mug unto the Squire;
Here, Deacon, take the elbow chair,
And Ensign, Holiday, sit there:
You take the dye-tub, you the churn,
And I'll the double corner turn.
See the mantling liquor rise!
And burn their cheeks, and close their eyes,
See the sideling mug incline-
Hear them curse their dull divine,
Who, on Sunday, dared to rail,
At Brewster's flip, or Downer's ale.
-Quick, Stingo, fly and bring another,
The Deacon here shall pay for t'other,
Ensign and I the third will share,
It's due on swop, for pie-bald mare.