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Heroes and Heroines January 13, 2014

Posted by Alex Sawit in In My Opinion.
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By Alex Sawit

January 13, 2014

 

 

 

“My love, instantly

your hip

is the full curve

of the wine cup,

your bosom is the bunched fruit of the vine,

the bright teardrop lines of the alcohol your hair,

the grapes your nipples,

your navel the vintner’s genuine seal

stamped on your wine vessel womb,

and your love the cascade

of wine inextinguishable,

the clarity that illuminates my senses,

the earthly splendor of life.”
 
– from Ode to Wine

 

If you fancy yourself a romantic (especially after reading the preceding verses), you will probably agree that sensuous poetry is like fine wine; it takes only a few sips to become affected.

Wine is passion. Words are love. That surely is enough to explain why each on its own has the power to deliver men and women into each other’s captivity. But poured together and sipped as a single drink, the effect is heroic, filling two hearts with an exquisiteness that beseeches one to surrender victoriously to the other.

Now hold on to what I’ve just said, Cyrano friends.

This being the start of a new year, the start of a new year always being an opportune time for reflection, I thought I’d share a flattering observation about your favorite neighborhood wine shop. Myself being well known to all of you as a lover of wine and words – and I freely confess to exploiting the convenience of our wine shop as a venue for both pursuits – it is my hope that my disclosure will amuse you into re-imagining yourselves in a bright, burning light.

Here goes…

For a long time now, I’ve been hearing feedback from our neighborhood community that Cyrano Wine Shop has quietly established a reputation for itself as a hideaway for hopeless romantics.

 

 

As flattering as that is for me to hear, I never thought much of it until one fateful evening somewhat recently, when a customer visited with a couple of colleagues in tow. Being exceedingly familiar with our establishment, she took it upon herself to serve as their guide, enthusiastically seating them at the bar and choosing the wine for them from the list like she was our specially appointed sommelier. But none of this behavior was either unusual or unwelcome at the shop for this particular customer of ours.

What caught my attention was that tonight, one of her guests asked her to explain what is it that makes Cyrano such a unique, special place – to which she replied with a dramatic intonation that told me she had been saving the answer in her pocket, waiting for the perfect moment to pull it out.

“The men who go here,” she said with a smile in her voice for the benefit of everyone in the room, “are all romantic.”

Talk about flattery. But I must disagree. In my opinion, it isn’t only the men. I probably count more romantics among the ladies of Cyrano.

You don’t believe me? Come visit on a night when they are present. You’ll be forced to conclude that these women are some of the most sophisticated conversationalists you can ever match wits with over a bottle of wine and a plate of cheese on the side. For example, it suddenly comes to mind that one of them is a gushing fan of Milan Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being and red vino (though not always in that order) and that she offers a carefree counterbalance to one of our blokes, a Scotsman from Scotland, who in contrast would prefer to indulge her with a calculated discussion about Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth over a glass of something crisp and cold and white.

Poetry? It says a lot that I keep encountering Neruda fans among guys and girls at Cyrano. I started noticing them years ago after I added the soundtrack from the movie Il Postino to the shop’s music playlist. “Hey, I know that,” they would exclaim with upturned ears between sips of wine, recognizing the voices of Julia Roberts and Andy Garcia reciting And Now You’re Mine. This place has been a beacon for Neruda fans and their discussions ever since.

And then, there’s our name.

Having a wine shop named after the title character of Cyrano de Bergerac – that magnificent story about a soldier-poet who shields his identity in order to woo the woman he loves – tends to give our literature savvy visitors the elegant impression that ours is a haven for men and women who kindle heroic emotions. Stepping through our doors for the first time, their suspicions are rewarded by the discovery of the different copies of Cyrano that we keep on our bookshelf (we have English and Tagalog translations). Naturally, I seal the deal by allowing them to read the story as they drink here, that under the influence of wine and words they may remake themselves in the language of a valiant heart.

Try it now, if you serendipitously have a glass of wine in hand:

“Un baiser,” confesses Cyrano to Roxanne under cover of darkness so as not to reveal himself. “Qu’est-ce? Un serment fait d’un peu plus près, une promesse plus précise, un aveu qui veut se confirmer…c’est un secret qui prend la bouche pour oreille…”

[“A kiss…what is it? ‘Tis an oath sworn up-close, a more explicit kind of promise, an admission that desires confirmation…a whispered secret that assumes the mouth to be the ear…”]

So here I am, guilty as charged. I freely accept the blame for all this – or credit, depending on your point of view – for opening a bar that by design, accident or opportunity has found a way to awaken Cyrano friends into being the hopeless, romantic heroes and heroines that you are.

Heroes and heroines…yeah, I like the sound of that. And I really hope you all like it, too (and while you’re at it, you can thank me the next time you drop by the shop).

Happy new year, Cyrano friends.

 

 

 

 

 

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