With wine and being lost, with less and less of both: I rode through the snow, do you read me I rode God far--I rode God near, he sang, it was our last ride over the hurdled humans. They cowered when they heard us overhead, they wrote, they lied our neighing into one of their image-ridden languages.
Come boy, and pour for me a cup Of old Falernian. Fill it up With wine, strong, sparkling, bright, and clear; Our host decrees no water here. Let dullards drink the Nymph's pale brew, The sluggish thin their blood with dew. For such pale stuff we have no use; For us the purple grape's rich juice. Begone, ye chilling water sprite; Here burning Bacchus rules tonight!
Alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing. The only worthwhile miracle in the New Testament—the transmutation of water into wine during the wedding at Cana—is a tribute to the persistence of Hellenism in an otherwise austere Judaea. The same applies to the seder at Passover, which is obviously modeled on the Platonic symposium: questions are asked (especially of the young) while wine is circulated. No better form of sodality has ever been devised: at Oxford one was positively expected to take wine during tutorials. The tongue must be untied. It's not a coincidence that Omar Khayyam, rebuking and ridiculing the stone-faced Iranian mullahs of his time, pointed to the value of the grape as a mockery of their joyless and sterile regime. Visiting today's Iran, I was delighted to find that citizens made a point of defying the clerical ban on booze, keeping it in their homes for visitors even if they didn't particularly take to it themselves, and bootlegging it with great brio and ingenuity. These small revolutions affirm the human.