Sake Moments – The Season of Poetry (and a chance to win sake!)
Look around! The world is exploding! No not like that! The world is exploding in floral blooms, especially in Japan the country that gets credit for establishing a blooming season watching event called Hanami. Yup! It’s a wonderful tradition of actually taking a moment to look, learn, and really feel one of nature’s miracles as it unfolds around us. Hanami is almost a sport. At the very least it is a way to get outside to witness amazing colors and aromas, and in the essence it is the perfect occasion to celebrate this beautiful display with family and friends. It is a party! And sake is deeply intertwined with this festive period.
There are thousands of connections with sake and floral blooms. A very large number of sake names and brands contain floral references, and there has been a generation or ten of sake poets who have used this time to wax on about the splendor and excellence of the relationship of sake to the beauty found in a flower petal. Of course there was also the great Rihaku who would drink a bottle of sake and write 100 poems. But it is also the time of the accidental poet! Come on you know who you are!
I believe that there is an inherent urge in every human to make something beautiful. Is it a desire to create something that extols beauty, or to be credited for making something that is beautiful? I dunno! But I do know that I have tried to make something beautiful way past my pay scale and it usually results in a train wreck. Yes, I bought canvases and oil paints once. Yes, I bought a fancy camera once. Yes, I bought an old-fashioned typewriter once. Get the picture? We all cannot be creative! We cannot all create something that others admire and find beautiful. But therein rests the rub. We should not create beauty for others, rather we should create something beautiful for ourselves and that should be the satisfaction that gets the juices flowing.
Okay! Where are we going with this? The answer is poetry. The world is abloom and sake is right there with you. It has been there for generations urging and inspiring poets and authors to create create create. Sake is there for you now! Sake is a dare. Sake is tool. In a sense, Sake let’s you become un-yourself. Sake conquers nerve. Sake opens awareness. Sake takes down your personal barriers of expression. (No this is not a call for you to get liquored up and become a social spaz, it’s quite the opposite.) And maybe just maybe, sake extracts a creativity within you that you did not know was there. It’s there, and this is the perfect season to blossom.
I can’t write a poem! I’m no poet. This is stupid!
Cool! Just lost about 7 readers. For you fearless remainders do you feel that it is imperative to live life to be able to write about life? That is the age-old argument right? Can you write about the world without actually experiencing the world? Let’s ask Rainer Maria Rilke who penned The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge touching on this conundrum:
For the sake of a single poem, you must see many cities, many people and Things, you must understand animals, must feel how birds fly, and know the gesture which small flowers make when they open in the morning.
You must be able to think back to streets in unknown neighborhoods, to unexpected encounters, and to partings you had long seen coming; to days of childhood whose mystery is still unexplained, to parents whom you had to hurt when they brought in a joy and you didn’t pick it up (it was a joy meant for somebody else); to childhood illnesses that began so strangely with so many profound and difficult transformations, to days in quiet restrained rooms and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, but it is still not enough to be able to think of all that.
You must have memories of many nights of love, each one different from all the others, memories of women screaming in labor, and of light, pale, sleeping girls who have just given birth and are closing again. But you must also have been beside the dying, must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open windows and the scattered noises.
And it is not yet enough to have memories. You must be able to forget them when they are many, and you must have the immense patience to wait until they return. For the memories themselves are not important. Only when they have changed into our very blood, into glance and gesture, and are nameless, no longer to be distinguished from ourselves only then can it happen that in some very rare hour the first word of a poem arises in their midst and goes forth from them.
So voila! You have the ammunition. You just need the gun. Let Sake be that trigger to shoot your creativity out during this extremely beautiful and daring floral explosion. Let sake help you see each blossom within the blossom snowfall. I double dog dare you to put pen to paper or finger to key with the help of a glass of your favorite sake to write about wind tickled cherry trees, or plum blossoms soaking in the shower of the sun.
What? This still didn’t ping that creative pang? This still didn’t entice you to stop binge-watching that show for one measly hour? What? You need an incentive? Geesh! Have you been paying attention? You need a liquid bribe? Hmmmmmmm?
Okay! We will send a bottle of what we perceive to be a “blossoming” sake to the person who sends us a poem of their making that they created with the “use” of sake in honor of the connection between poetry and sake. This is NOT a poetry contest, but the winner could and should be the person who ventured furthest from the safety of his or her own shell. We are looking for expression more than excellence.
And you locals! If you produce a poem and hand submit it you may just happen to receive a liquid poem in a can in return for your glorious efforts.