Poetry Competition 2012 – Portfolio Prize Winner

Water into Wine

by Sharon Black

I lather my dishes in ruby suds,
my laundry has turned pink, my hair comes up
glossy with a hint of Pinot Noir.
 
Ever since you moved in, the cats stumble
glassy-eyed from their drinking bowls,
daffodils toot their trumpets –
 
falling over themselves. My friends shake
their heads, unbelievers, until I invite them round
while you’re out buying bread and fish:
 
the fountain gushes like a jugular, the river                        
flows with delirious trout, the bridge                                     
can’t tie its shoelaces.
 
You sprinkle cloves and cinnamon in my bath
and I emerge smelling like Christmas,
sweating beads of Shiraz.
 
Night after night you drink me to oblivion,
your hands on me
soft as water.

Added: 30.03.2012

Judges' comments on this poem

08.05.2012

Makes me want to take a sip

11.05.2012

I love the line "...emerge smelling of Christmas" just brilliant.

12.05.2012

I guess this is about religious conversion - a love affair!

13.05.2012

love the sensuality, and the sense of a miracle happening - being delirious - it feels like love.

15.05.2012

I loved the humor of your creative little offering friend, I'm sure there are many who will relate to it. Loved it!

15.05.2012

strong echoes

15.05.2012

Stanzas 2-4 have some absolutely fantastic imagery. Very nice work.

16.05.2012

Made me smile.....

16.05.2012

I like this poem because it evokes for me the sense of being crazy in love and there is no way to tell anyone how you feel so crazy.

17.05.2012

Great title, don't think you need the last verse as we already know that the narrator eats, drinks, sleeps red wine.

18.05.2012

pleasant read, creative

18.05.2012

Absolutely superb. This is one of the best poems that I have judged in this whole process

18.05.2012

loved the 'cloves and cinnamon in my bath' and emerging 'smelling like Christmas!'

20.05.2012

Brilliant!

21.05.2012

If love is a drug, its intoxicating effects are beautifully sustained in this poem. It is fun and serious in equal measure.

22.05.2012

Interesting imagery, but perhaps the structure needs tweaking.

22.05.2012

Fantastic feelings of giddiness and excitement and expectation. Conjures up magic and exoticism. Hugely sensual. I feel drunk!

25.05.2012

liked the fountain bit and the shoelaces. good metaphores

25.05.2012

Nice language and clear ability to write a poem, lacks a little originality though, but I guess that's because its a good aesthetic.

25.05.2012

everything a love poem should be

26.05.2012

Love this one. Great images and ideas. Tooting daffodils. Watch you rhythm in places, root out the clunky lines

04.06.2012

Simple, playful and effective. A great evocation of the lightness of being in love.

04.06.2012

Loved this. Contemporary romanticism.

04.06.2012

I really love the energy and vitality in this poem. The original use of language is what makes it so strong.

04.06.2012

engaging imagery

04.06.2012

Love this!

04.06.2012

The imagery and the allusions are really effective.

04.06.2012

good imagery

05.06.2012

Surreal.

05.06.2012

Exuberant and celebratory, some of the images were beautiful and funny but others somewhat contrived and forced (e.g.bridge) Made me smile

05.06.2012

Simple but powerful with a great maintenance of theme.

05.06.2012

Interesting, thought provoking verse

05.06.2012

What joy in this poem about the delirious miracle of being in love! Filled with great images and warming humour.

05.06.2012

This is a really beautiful, well crafted, shapely love poem. It makes startling use of metaphor.

05.06.2012

I love this metaphor and the way you have used it here. Incredible, I reread this again and again so I would complete my imagery.

05.06.2012

It seemed like it was a negative start which came into a positive light and then it all seemed alright.

05.06.2012

Nice structure and imagery, good use of language, witty yet deep.

05.06.2012

Reminiscent of Duffy's 'Mrs Lazarus'; humourous, well balanced, with some striking and playful imagery.

05.06.2012

there are some fantastic turns of phrase in this. I love "the bridge can't tie its shoelaces".

05.06.2012

Anyone for a glass of Shiraz?

05.06.2012

Interesting conceit throughout, lovely use of diction and imagery.

05.06.2012

Fantastic opening lines

05.06.2012

Bubbly and fun. A nicely sustained metaphor

05.06.2012

I love the images painted by the poet. The whole picture is so vibrant and alive with expectation.

05.06.2012

Quite a housemate. Lovely rolling imagery which builds and builds, though the jugular line clashes, rather with all the wine metaphors.

05.06.2012

Good fun reading it.

05.06.2012

A beautiful poem. Lovely extension of drunken images and fully evocative of that first giddy falling feeling.

05.06.2012

Found myself drowning to the very depths with this poem. Awash with alcoholic metaphor, I found this powerful poem intoxicating!

05.06.2012

Such a good idea, so well controlled and rationed out, leading to a suitably resonant conclusion.

05.06.2012

Rose tinted :)

05.06.2012

Love "delirious trout"!

05.06.2012

Wonderful- this could be taken in either a positive or negative light... or even a little of both.

05.06.2012

I love wine and I loved this poem and the extent of the abstract creativity.

05.06.2012

nicely obsure

05.06.2012

This isn't coherent and needs more context.

05.06.2012

A dichotomy of beautiful language with the painful experience of life stained by drink.

05.06.2012

A wonderful merge of surreal and crystal clear moments - exactly as the title describes.

05.06.2012

I enjoyed this as the descriptions expressed emotions without the usual "poetic" cliches used by some.

05.06.2012

A beautiful metaphor followed through to its conclusion. So beautiful - suffused with red and pink.

05.06.2012

Evocative.

05.06.2012

joyful, playful, sensual, explicit and finally taboo, now it is the messiah who worships you! "hands soft as water" and you the wine!love it

05.06.2012

Like the imagery and the description of spices...good!

05.06.2012

Simply wonderful. Especially the Christmassy bathing!

05.06.2012

Great imagery used here like the way this is told with a light humour.

05.06.2012

Beautiful both to read and to hear.

06.06.2012

Nice imagery and I very much liked this but couldn't figure out why a bridge would have shoelaces. So a flaw there for me.

06.06.2012

I really liked this. Evocative, amusing, very different.

06.06.2012

Nice images, but it is like a narration.

06.06.2012

A vivid expression of besottedness

06.06.2012

Excellent exploration of the idea, economically expressed and very vivid.

06.06.2012

Original and almost convincing love poem with welcome humorous edge (liked the shoe laces)

06.06.2012

LOVE DRUNK - nice idea that water given power of drunkenness.

06.06.2012

a good picture of a relationship although I didn't get 'the bridge can't tie its shoelaces'

06.06.2012

A comic look at the creeping onset of alcoholism. Trivialising yet warning.

06.06.2012

Wine - perfectly chosen to illustrate love, as it creates the same warm, drunken feeling. This poem says a lot between the words.

06.06.2012

A well-sustained theme that allows a picture of domesticity to be viewed from an unusual perspective.

06.06.2012

well written poem.

06.06.2012

Really enjoyed this: got lost with the bridge's shoelaces and the drinking to oblivion did not fit.

06.06.2012

i like jesus.

06.06.2012

Narcotic nonsense of new love as it consumes all aspects of life. Clever word choice in your imagery. Brilliant ending.

06.06.2012

Well crafted with some great lines. I liked it very much.

06.06.2012

I liked that it was real

07.06.2012

Delirium of joyous romance; don't understand "the bridge / can't tie its shoelaces" & I don't even care, it's so infectious.

07.06.2012

Original, surprising, well sustained metaphor, stands up to rereading, excellent.

07.06.2012

still like this positive and happy poem.I get the idea of someone in love, though hopefully not with the bottle!

07.06.2012

nice poem

07.06.2012

Lavish use of language and visual images. This poem really sings out...

07.06.2012

I love the drunken flow of the language of this poem and its cats, daffodils, and bridges, all equally inebriated and liberated. It spills,

07.06.2012

Imaginative, taut and comically realised. A sensuous and decadent read.

07.06.2012

loved 'the bridge/ can't tie its shoelaces, sense of the ordinary turned extraordinary,sheer exuberance and silliness of being in love

07.06.2012

A really fun poem, loved the 'bridge can't tie its shoelaces'

07.06.2012

Good display of drunken imagery, a bit of a nod to Emily Dickinson's more sexual poems, but instead using suburban objects not abstract imag

07.06.2012

Full of energy and fizz. Portrays exactly the dizziness and technicolor weirdness of being newly in love. Excellent.

08.06.2012

Almost there. Recalled a poem of Laux.

08.06.2012

I like the fact that everything is drunk, good metaphor usage. The poem said it all so succinctly.

08.06.2012

This one grew on me. Most importantly you gave me images that i could remember after reading.So many poems are forgettable.Not this one.Good

08.06.2012

The central conceit is wittily original. The poem never loses its focus. It is a haunting blend of humour and strangeness.

08.06.2012

surrealistic and sensuous

09.06.2012

A well crafted piece

09.06.2012

There's a lovely gentle amusing quality to this poem and I particularly liked the image of the inebriated bridge unable to tie its shoelaces

09.06.2012

The images are great fun to imagine.

09.06.2012

I'm not Christian but I enjoyed this delightful spoof on Jesus' miracles.

09.06.2012

very good.

09.06.2012

the transformation of the mundane to the miraculous. lovely.

09.06.2012

a very warm and romantic poem...left me wanting to experience a love such as the author described

10.06.2012

Exuberant. Witty. Well sustained metaphor. lovely satisfying and understated ending.

10.06.2012

The author manages another take on the eternal poetic subject; the metamorphosis of an imagination quickened by love. Deftly handled.

10.06.2012

Great imagery!!

10.06.2012

Allegoric and with fantasy ! Very nice images created !

10.06.2012

A strong evocation of the intoxication of being in love, of how the world is changed by it.

10.06.2012

Ok, so where can you get this wine?! Brilliant the way she transforms the everyday to the sublime!

10.06.2012

A beautifully-judged extended metaphor, half Song of Solomon, half hymn to Dionysos, and more erotic than most graphic love poems.

10.06.2012

The more I read this the more I like it, but I can't put my finger on why.

10.06.2012

I enjoyed this poem. Some images will stay with me. The competition was so tight.

10.06.2012

Loved the lyrical tone of this poem and the images. Lovely

11.06.2012

Some really nice imagery in there, it's a poem that makes the reader work hard but is at the same time very rewarding.

11.06.2012

The brilliance of this prose is its inevitable tragedy. A story that gets you thinking long after you've finished reading.

11.06.2012

Some very telling images here.

11.06.2012

This is full of the love of life, a poem that lifts

11.06.2012

As an alcohol lover myself, I loved this celebratory, humerous, through the glass darkly, domestic take, on where the drink can take you.

11.06.2012

THIS POEM MADE ME FEEL THE ESSENCE OF TRUE REALITY,IT MADE ME EXPERIENCE THE FEELING RICH DEEP AND SMOOTHE TEXTURES WITHIN,

11.06.2012

A wonderful collection of almost riddles

11.06.2012

I love how connected the visuals are throughout this poem. Beautifully phrased and nicely compact.

12.06.2012

A well-imagined portrayal of a new love affair. Overflowing with interesting images, I love the last stanza, ripe with allusion.

12.06.2012

Unusual and attractive

12.06.2012

A delightfully surreal merging of religious imagery and the heady wine of early love. Both aspects are well sustained throughout.

12.06.2012

The ecstasy of first love intoxicates this poem with a frenzy of sensuous images, climaxing significantly in a sigh of quiet resolution.

12.06.2012

Some nice similes.

12.06.2012

Playful and fun to read aloud.

12.06.2012

Have taken the Lord's name in vain about men on many occasions-but not like this! Be it man or woman,I love this:original,life affirming,fun

12.06.2012

A clever concept. After several readings I realised it might be cleverer still - a metaphor for love?

12.06.2012

A four dimensional poem, standing wearily on fickle foundations. A love story with a satirical, subconscience sub plot. Beautifully sad.

12.06.2012

Sad and clever. Nearly made my top 4

13.06.2012

A refreshingly different take on an age old subject. Love it's imagery.

13.06.2012

I like the original way the message here is conveyed.

13.06.2012

Some pleasing images about love but difficult to follow and some phrases sounded contrived.

13.06.2012

Wonderful choice of imagery. Your words flow well, like the wine. Picked as one of my top four, great poem!

13.06.2012

ok then

13.06.2012

Excellent imagery.

13.06.2012

This poem oozes gorgeous images and makes you want to eat, love, pray, feel all at the same time. It's wonderful.

13.06.2012

I love the way this poem captures the delirious and crazy nature of love - transforming all it touches to gold and wine.

13.06.2012

Great its really positive and upbeat. Enjoyed it.

13.06.2012

Entertaining, well constructed, not sure the third verse is necessary.

14.06.2012

My top choice in round 2- glad it's still in the running- brilliant!

14.06.2012

The best comments will .Some interesting imagery.

14.06.2012

This makes me miss being in love.

14.06.2012

This reads like it's been well-edited and the images honed. It bears more than one reading. I love 'the bridge / can't tie its shoelaces.'

15.06.2012

I like this poem. It's funny and concise and the biblical allusions are apt and subtle

15.06.2012

Excellent

15.06.2012

I like it a lot. It would stand well as a ‘comic poem’ but I think the last two lines are too mawkish.

15.06.2012

I read this one in round one. Love the idea a lot but I'm not sure it has much depth. Much point.

15.06.2012

The poem is really nice. A touch of humor as well as the gestures while the wine is imbibed is depicted with good usage of words. Loved it.

15.06.2012

Beautiful! Can't help wondering if your new companion is a spiritual rather than physical being. Certainly having very profound effects!

16.06.2012

Simple & lyrical & romantic.

16.06.2012

Loved it,loved it,loved it! Congrats for a beautiful celebratory poem that works on many levels and uses such original and memorable images.

16.06.2012

Genius. No word, no image that shouldn't be there. Very visual, so good.

16.06.2012

Ah! Humour and passion!

16.06.2012

Captivating extension of miracle. Effects and naming of red wines. Final emphasis of the contrasting image 'your hands on me like water.'

16.06.2012

Beautiful - witty erotic and very original. Some lovely lines and poetic images.

16.06.2012

A difficult theme addressed in a creative manner. Enjoyable to read yet also quite powerful.

16.06.2012

Delicious

16.06.2012

Evocative poem, made me want to drink wine.

16.06.2012

Great line 6 in this plain,conversational, informal poem.Quirky.Pragmatic acceptance of new disruption in poet's life.Hint of cynical humour

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