by Mark Jarman
Copyright (c) 2008 First Things (May 2008).
Down in the soul’s wine cellars
The casks of virtue brood.
They’re aging through the centuries,
Like deep Alaskan crude.
The casks of sin, however,
Are daily tapped and flow,
Filling carafes, beakers, and jugs,
Giving each face a glow.
It’s quite a ways below ground,
The soul’s wine cellars dwell.
The casks of sin and virtue stand
So close, it’s hard to tell
Which, when you tap its fullness,
Comes spurting an arcing stream
Into a thimble or a cup,
Into this world or a dream.
But when he takes a sip,
God, the sommelier,
Knows at once the vintage broached
And tosses it away.