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Old 10-11-2018, 07:50 AM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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Default Coffee Poem #3 - Yirge Chefe

Coffee Poem #3 Yirge Chefe (renovation #1 up now)

This coffee you just have to taste to know
how poignantly its earthy notes all play.
You have to know it first to taste it though

since neither gourmand nor gourmet can show
that pleasure comes because it goes away.
This coffee warmth you have to hold to know

if it's a dream, but as its floral glow
rolls your eyes and tongue, how could you say?
You have to know it first to taste it, though:

the malt and tangy bergamot, the slow
transition and consent. Yirga Cheffe.
These coffee smells you have to breathe to know;

so breathe it with me coffee lover- O,
O Taste and See! And drink it deep. Don't say
you have to know it first to taste it though,

our cup won't last. All time itself will flow
away. The paradox alone will stay.
This coffee you just have to taste to know.
You have to know it first to taste it though.






###
This coffee blend you have to taste to know.
Unique in how its floral notes all play,
to taste this coffee blend you have to know

what neither gourmand nor gormet can show
since pleasure comes because it goes away.
This coffee blend you have to taste to know.

Is it a dream? As I inhale, the slow
aromas roll my eyes. I cannot say.
To taste this coffee blend you have to know

or else anticipate the flavor so
you can perceive the bloom. Yirga Cheffe.
This coffee blend you have to taste to know:

So take it from me coffee lover, O,
O taste and see! And stay! What better way
to grace this coffee blend! You have to know

our cup can't last-- or it might have to go
to paradox, but don't turn it away.
This coffee blend you have to taste to know.
and yet to taste this blend, you must first know.




*to date, I think there's still no standard Amharic - English spelling. Most places I think you'll see yirgacheffe as one word. I think it's easier to glean how to say it broken into two (and carefully placed so meter and rhyme help out).

Last edited by Daniel Kemper; 10-15-2018 at 09:37 AM. Reason: many :)
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:55 AM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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I got a large order of Yirgacheffe k-cups from Amazon, and it was quite tasty. However, I still maintain that Nice French Roast from Walgreen's ($5.49/box) is better than any kind of coffee I've bought in stores. This poem suffers from a failure of imagination; it's all assertion that the stuff is good without any "romance" of the name or Ethiopian origins of the beans. Look at what Keats does:

And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep,
In blanched linen, smooth, and lavender'd,
While he forth from the closet brought a heap
Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd;
With jellies soother than the creamy curd,
And lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon;
Manna and dates, in argosy transferr'd
From Fez; and spiced dainties, every one,
From silken Samarcand to cedar'd Lebanon.
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Old 10-11-2018, 11:56 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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We must be coffee drinkers for different reasons. I agree with Sam that this doesn't ever get around to expressing the true romantic properties that coffee possesses. For me, the romance is in the alchemy of the senses (especially taste and smell) combining with the trigger of the caffeine that produces a temporary interior reality that is, well, poetic. Intoxicating in both a cerebral and emotional sense.

(Though I must object to Sam's endorsement of kcups. I don't think kcups are acceptable as coffee any more than I think "koffee" is an acceptable spelling of the elixir. Sorry Sam. Try Trader Joe's coffee, especially the dark, @$3.99. Splurge on Peete's Sumatra).

I think the villanelle form, too, is inhibiting what you could say otherwise in a freer context.
x
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Old 10-11-2018, 12:14 PM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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The Eve of St. Agnes! I LOVE that poem. It fascinates me that this poem was apparently so well-recieved, when his odes were not. At least his odes were not, according to the "killed by a bad review" legends. The fascinating thing is that Keat's felt Agnes' was weak on substance, which is true enough I suppose in that it was a pure, lush romance and his odes had an elaborate, elegant metaphysical structure underlying them all.

Anyhoo, I hear your coffee taste loud and clear and only object that after the homogenizing effect of manufactured k-cups, there's significantly less authenticity. "French Roast" is a minor grump for me since I'm *pretty sure* no coffee grows in France. I'm intimately acquainted with Ethiopian coffees and must disclaim my prejudice for them. (Though for me, coffee's kinda like sex, even when it's bad, it's still really good!) The absolute best is that many homes ther have coffee plants growing in the yard somewhat in the same way that many homes in California have orange trees. That's the stuff!

Oh, the poem. Yeah. Not lush enough. At the right stage for good critical comment. First focus, lines 16-17 I can't quite work out right. Lush is comparatively easy to adjust, and I am going there, but I'm also trying to work out a metaphysical layer or two as well. One, an often reported paradox of faith. Roughly phrased: You have to have faith [in God] to see [Him], but you have to see [Him] in order to have faith/believe [in Him]. Faith needed to see the thing, but you have to see the thing to believe. Two, I want it to be consistent with love and pleasure often being that way too- ever notice how sometimes people can't like a new food until they sort of understand how it's supposed to taste? The villanelle format seemed a perfect structure to use so that I could bring each half of the paradox together at the end.

This coffee blend you have to taste to know. = taste to know
and yet to taste this blend, you must first know. = know to taste

But I am aware I haven't quite pulled that off. Yet. But missing the trapeze by 1/2 inch only isn't very pretty...

-Jim, just saw your post now. Will get you soon as I can sneak in again from work...
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Old 10-11-2018, 03:52 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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I am a coffee lush myself--8 or so cups a day plus de-caf in the evening. I'm too eager for my morning fix to use a French press with my French roast, and I'm perfectly happy with my Keurig and Joe DiMaggio beside it as a backup. I don't go to coffee shops, either. For emergency use (hotel rooms with awful coffee makers, hospitals, etc.) I carry around a pack of Starbuck's Italian Roast instant packets to doctor up an undrinkable cup. I am not a coffee snob by any means, and there are two local brands--Seaport and Community--that make an acceptable dark roast. Occasionally I will order something (like the Yirgacheffe) from Amazon, who also stock the only palatable k-cup decaf I have found, from a San Francisco company. I still maintain that the Nice from Walgreen's is superior to anything costing twice as much.
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Old 10-11-2018, 07:24 PM
J.B. Marshall J.B. Marshall is offline
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Default Coffee Poem #3 - Yirge Chefe

Caveat emptor - I've never tasted Yirge Chefe.

My nitpick about the poem is that the two repeating lines are so similar that it's hard to distinguish them.

The note about the reasons for the similarities clarified things for me:

"This coffee blend you have to taste to know. = taste to know
and yet to taste this blend, you must first know. = know to taste"

Because these two lines take up so much space in a villanelle, it might be more effective to differentiate them a bit more.

Best coffee I've ever tasted: Cuban coffee.
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Old 10-11-2018, 07:39 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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I'm back only to confess that I, too, am a coffee lush. Earlier I gave the impression that I am a discriminating coffee person. I'm not. When I'm home I drink exactly what I like for the sheer luxury of it and it's effects. But when on the road I'll take whatever I can find. Kcups included. But no decaffeinated coffee!
x
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:04 PM
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San Francisco Bay dark de-caf is tolerable. At least it tastes like coffee. Sorta.
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Old 10-11-2018, 10:44 PM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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Hey J.B.,

On the repetends... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGRZogWq8Vk

The repetends did not turn out as distinctly as I'd hoped. They are opposite, but read out do seem the same. There's something about that effect itself which might be whittled at a little bit to make it's own point. But as is, yeah: open for suggestions. The love of coffee is quite distracting, but I am really trying to write about love/faith and things which have to be felt to be known and known to be felt. Metaphysical, again.

Hey Jim,
I can see that now: I talk about the effect of the senses on the spirit as it were, but not so much what the sensations are. But as to the villanelle form, I'm confident I can wrangle it. I've got some fun bawdy dialogue worked into them before etc. Plus the form illustrates the metaphysical level of the poem, the opposites, the paradox so nicely. I just gotta get there.
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Old 10-12-2018, 08:49 AM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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Sam,
what specific taste sensations inspire preference of one brand over another, one brewing technique over another for you? What exactly does the Italian Roast add in that rescues..

JB- you too: What is it about Cuban that puts you over the top?

Jimjimjim- can you concretize that 'interior reality transformation' a bit for me?

Yes, I am whoring for some detail to filter into this poem...
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