[Poetry,] once a warning to man that he must keep in harmony with the family of living creatures among which he was born…is now a reminder that he has disregarded the warning, turned the house upside down by capricious experiments in science, philosophy and industry, and brought ruin upon himself and his family.
—  Robert Graves, The White Goddess

Strong Beer

“What do you think
The bravest drink
Under the sky?”
“Strong beer,” said I.

“There’s a place for everything,
Everything, anything,
There’s a place for everything
Where it ought to be:
For a chicken, the hen’s wing;
For poison, the bee’s sting;
For almond-blossom, Spring;
A beerhouse for me.”

“There’s a prize for every one
Every one, any one,
There’s a prize for every one,
Whoever he may be:
Crags for the mountaineer,
Flags for the Fusilier,
For English poets, beer!
Strong beer for me!”

“Tell us, now, how and when
We may find the bravest men?”
“A sure test, an easy test:
Those that drink beer are the best,
Brown beer strongly brewed,
English drink and English food.”

Oh, never choose as Gideon chose
By the cold well, but rather those
Who look on beer when it is brown,
Smack their lips and gulp it down.
Leave the lads who tamely drink
With Gideon by the water brink,
But search the benches of the Plough,
The Tun, the Sun, the Spotted Cow,
For jolly rascal lads who pray,
Pewter in hand, at close of day,
“Teach me to live that I may fear
The grave as little as my beer.”
   –Robert Graves

It’s National Beer Day AND National Poetry Month!

Please Drink Responsibly!!!

Like Snow

She, then, like snow in a dark night,
Fell secretly. And the world waked
With dazzling of the drowsy eye,
So that some muttered ‘Too much light’,
And drew the curtains close.
Like snow, warmer than fingers feared,
And to soil friendly;
Holding the histories of the night
In yet unmelted tracks.

Robert Graves

Everything that [Caligula] said and did was marked with equal cruelty, even during his hours of rest and amusement and banquetry. He frequently had trials by torture held in his presence while he was eating or otherwise enjoying himself, and kept an expert headsman in readiness to decapitate the prisoners brought from jail…. At one particularly extravagant banquet he burst into sudden peals of laughter. The consuls, who were reclining next to him, politely asked whether they might share the joke. ‘What do you think?’ he answered. ‘It occurred to me that I have only to give one nod and both your throats will be cut on the spot!’
—  Suetonius, from The Twelve Caesars, trans. Robert Graves, on the mad Roman Emperor Caligula, who ascended to power, this day, 18 March AD 37. Thinking I might avoid his dinner parties.