Was it from a wine press, then,
that all this flows?
That rickety wine press Gutenberg rigged
into a printing press,
the movable type interchangeable as grapes?
Do we owe to wine, then,
these great harvests of words
pressed into vast yields of books,
portable as bottles,
precious as spring water flowing through
a thirsty land?
Do we owe it all to the vine
that we shelve our books in libraries
as we cellar our wine in waiting rows,
putting up words and wine against our future need?
Was it the wine press, after all, that has made us
into such drunkards of the word
that we imbibe by the hour from folded sheets
turning pages like doors that open up
fathomless spaces within ourselves?
From Wild Apples (Parallel Press, 2004).
Used with the author’s permission.