Decanting a Poem

Decanting a Poem

Decanting a Poem

The poet selects a bottle
from the cellar,

ponders the label,
wipes away the dust,

nods and smiles,
if it pleases,

sits down in that chair,
in that place,

slips the cork
from the bottle,

the brew,

letting it breathe

some words evaporate
some dance and rearrange
some stay to play,

the poem morphs once more.


My online friend Benedicte Delachanal (a French speaker) was telling me how she likes to put her art aside for a while before continuing to work on it (‘It is a stage of decantation’ she said). I thought that is a pretty cool way of describing the process (which I have previously referred to as ‘fermentation’ in regard to writing my poems  – funny how they both involve alcohol – haha! Synchronicity visited when Aletha Kuschan blogged about revisiting her artwork. So I had to write a poem about it.


Note: This poem was selected for the Third Sunday Blog Carnival.

44 thoughts on “Decanting a Poem

  1. This is absolutely superb, Gabe – the metaphor is so perfect in evoking how the process unfolds and how it is best left alone for a while to enable it to settle and improve. I absolutely love the line “some words evaporate” – I think you should send this to Poet’s Corner

      1. Sorry, I meant the winemaker 🙂 All winemakers put out books and your poem would make the perfect intro to one of Poet’s Corner’s (or even work perfectly on one of their labels)

  2. YES EXACTLY!!!! (Although mine are helped by a spell in the garden – don’t know how that goes with the decanting analogy – maybe sitting on a table in the shade somewhere, al fresco style).


  3. I like to take a break, whether it is from writing or drawing, and come back to look ‘with different eyes’… it is amazing what one sees sometimes!

    1. Thanks Tilly – I had a read – very interesting definition of synchronicity (slightly different than how I mean it, but essentially the same base from which the creative spark arises) – I find it happens regularly with blogging (sometimes because a number of us are reading the same blogs, but also when there is no overlap between readers and it is pure coincidence or a broader connection via the media or something else – probably best not to probe too deep or the magic will disappear 😉 ).

    1. Seems to have struck a chord with the poets who read my blog – there are pros and cons to editing, and this is one of the pros (I’m going to write another editing poem, just for fun 😉 )

  4. wow. aloha Gabrielle – i really like the connectioning and comparisoning going on in this. oh those words that like to dance and play. way fun. way cool. made my day. bwahahahaha. aloha – *clink* and cheers.

      1. It’s not photoshopped Rick – first I drank the bottle of Poet’s Corner (which is quite a nice drop – that was an Unwooded Chardonnay – not sure if they do a red) and then I thought I would keep the bottle in my office (so I covered it with red wax to make it look respectable – rather than just an empty bottle in my office – bwahahahahaha) and then I took a photo of it on some sheets 🙂

  5. Yes, I can certainly relate to the writing process in this poem!

    Fun metaphor! I’d like to add that when you decant an old bottle of wine, there’s residue left behind…just like when you look at an old poem and rework or decant, often there are old words left behind too!

    I love how you put wax on the top so that it looks sealed and full. Thanks for sharing those details about the photo.

    1. Hi Gwendolyn – good to see you 🙂 You are the wine taster and would know – I suppose the residue left in the bottle is another type of poem altogether – left over words (I like that) which can be used in another fashion (I never let go of words – haha). Glad you liked the wax too – it looked a bit sad without the wax – haha.

  6. This is an interesting new way of seeing the process of creating… and it is a process. I do like my poem to sit for a bit, and I write a note for myself underneath it- e.g. look at it tomorrow with fresh eyes- and when I do, I usually touch it up just a little if need be and then leave it alone. I guess decantation could be an act of making sure we leave our work unspoiled, develop naturally, and not overdoing it?

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