A Treading of Grapes

For all our friends in the northern hemisphere who are gathering grapes in vineyards or toiling in their cellars…

Photo by Beckham Estate, Oregon
Photo by Beckham Estate Vineyard, Oregon

The Vine – ‘Cometh the full grape cluster on the vine. The rain falleth. Clusters thicken, purple they are as bruises, as thunder, yet each grape containeth within itself a measure of joy and dancing, the quick merry blood of the earth.

The Grape Harvest – ‘Cometh at last the hour of full ripeness. Labourers toil all day, they cram the baskets, their arms are red. The master of the vineyard, he goeth about the streets in the last of the sun, bargaining as such as sit idle against the wall and them that throw dice in the dust. For the grape harvest must be ingathered.

The Treading of the Grapes – ‘And he that presseth the hoarded grapes, look, his breast and his thighs are red, as though he had endured a terrible battle, himself scatheless. And still more and more grapes are brought to the press where he laboureth, this hero.

Wine – ‘Now it standeth long, the vat, in a cellar under earth, as it were in a cold grave. Yet this is in no wise a station of death. Put thy ear against the vat, thou hearest a ceaseless murmur, a slow full suspiration. The juice is clothing itself in sound, in song, in psalmody.

–From A Treading of Grapes by George MacKay Brown

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