10 April 2009

Libations Friday! 10 April 2009



Photo by once and future @ flickr

Coffee Trivia

Did you know that ALL coffee on the planet is grown within 1,000 miles of the equator between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn?

How about this one: Did you know that a mature coffee tree only produces ONE pound of coffee per season? That’s all, folks!

Where is the largest coffee importer center in the USA? Hint: It’s near me. Answer: New Orleans, Louisiana. Do you think maybe New Orleans is the closest American port to Central and South America?

At what point in American history did we as a nation develop a taste for coffee? Answer: It was during the War of 1812 when tea imports were cut off, and, “the rest is history”!



Photo by Ballistik Coffee Boy @ flickr

Coffee Quotes from CoffeeSage.com

Starbucks says they are going to start putting religious quotes on cups. The very first one will say, ‘Jesus! This cup is expensive!” ~ Conan O’Brien

And a blast from the past:

“The coffee is prepared in such a way that it makes those who drink it witty: at least there is not a single soul who, on quitting the house, does not believe himself four times wittier that when he entered it.” - Charles de Secondat Montesquieu

“Black as the devil,
Hot as hell,
Pure as an angel,
Sweet as love.”

– Charles Maurice de Talleyrand

That last quote sounds a lot like a haiku!

Coffee Poetry Contest over at Roast Magazine. Here’s the link to last year’s winners, go here. Past winners of David Demitasse Poetry Contest where the poem has to be about coffee.

Poetry page for poems all about coffee, go here.



Photo by Ballistik Coffee Boy @ flickr

Coffee with some punch from CoffeeRecipes.org:

Alcoholic Cappuccino recipe

Ingredients list:

3 cups of coffee

3 cups of half and half

4 oz. of Creme de Cacao

2 oz. of rum

2 oz. of brandy

Easy directions: In a suitably sized saucepan, combine all of the ingredients. Heat then serve.

From Coffee Review.com

Coffee Culture: Coffee Ceremonies

“For people in the Horn of Africa and parts of the Middle East coffee has maintained its religious connotations, and the ritual aspects remain conscious and refined. Ethiopians and Eritreans brought their coffee ceremonies with them as they immigrated to the United States.

My first experience with a formal coffee ceremony was in the apartment of an Eritrean friend in a thoroughly urbanized part of Oakland, California. His wife carefully roasted the green coffee beans in a shallow pan, passed the just-roasted, steaming beans around the room so that everyone could enjoy their sweet black smoke, cooled them on a small straw mat, ground them in an electric grinder (at home in Eritrea she would use a large mortar and pestle, but she explained that the pounding disturbed her downstairs neighbors!), brewed the coffee in a traditional clay pot, and served it in tiny cups.

The entire event was an opportunity to talk and gossip while basking in the smell and spectacle of the preparation of the beverage whose consumption consummated the morning.”

***

From Denny:

The Unusual Poems from Our Ancient Past


As I was rooting around the internet for something interesting in the way of poetry for today, my brain seemed to get stuck in coffee and chocolate mode. I went from coffee site to coffee site, followed blog roll links to wine, food, coffee and chocolate blogs. I read about how to roast your own coffee. I read musings from ex-baristas. I waded through a lot of coffee!

Eventually, after a number of searches I ran across an obscure poetry site. This is one of those little gems you enjoy finding because it is so unique. I was searching for ancient poets. After a good deal of time among the ancient Greeks I looked for more and up popped this site about the Ancient American Poets. What? Anything in America is ancient? My mind took a quick hook-shot left turn and came to a sudden stop. Now what’s this all about?

This site contains ancient Inca, Mayan and Aztec poetry dated from about 500 years ago when it was first recorded by the occupying Spaniards. Now for America that’s definitely ancient! What was compelling was the man’s story of how he came to be a translator and learned several languages to get to the point to translate some of this text.

His name is John Curl and his book and site are both called Ancient American Poetry.

From John Curl: “These early manuscripts of ancient literature are a hidden part of our heritage; very few students of poetry in the USA know the names or existence of some of the earliest American poets. These translations and biographies are one attempt to help correct that. Reclaiming our multi-cultural heritage deepens our understanding of who we are and where our society is going.”

This sacred hymn is both a prayer and a philosophical musing considered to be of the highest poetic art form for their culture dedicated to the Creator they called Wiracocha.

From John: “Quechua poets liked their verses brief and without obvious artifice. Arawikujs didn't care about metrics, and scorned technical rigidity.

The meters of their verses were determined by the inner necessities of meaning and poetics. Inside the forms of the songs there was great flexibility. The rhythm was the natural fluidity of the language.

The number of syllables in each line was highly mutable. A line of poetry usually consisted of only five or six syllables, and rarely more than eight. Rhyme and assonance were common but not necessary. Many Quechua words have the same endings. Blank verses were common.

The Quechua (Runasimi) Language

Quechua (Qhëshwa) - or, more properly, Runasimi, meaning literally "People Mouth" - is an agglutinative language, adding syllables onto a root to form long meaningful words. By the addition of small particles to Quechua verbs, one can express numerous subtleties of thought and emotion.

Many words have several synonyms, each with a slight twist of meaning. Runasimi contains many onomatopoetic words. Although outlawed for a period by the Spaniards after the revolt of Tupac Amaru II, Quechua survived and has about ten million speakers today. It is described by native speakers as an extraordinarily expressive idiom…

The hymns of Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui, composed for the Situa ceremony around 1440-1450, are among the world's great sacred poetry.

The eleven hymns, or jaillis, in Quechua verse, were sung to the accompaniment of instruments during the annual Inca ceremony of the Situa Raymi, held at the first new moon after the Spring equinox.

In appreciation of the sacred Inca hymns, the great Quechua scholar Jesus Lara writes, ‘Among the hymns... there are fragments of profound beauty, interpreters of a high level of spirituality reached by the Inca people.

Many of them seduce by their transparent simplicity, for the elemental gratitude in them for the deity who creates and governs, who grants sustenance, peace and happiness. Many captivate by their elevation contiguous with metaphysic. All by the emotional force that palpitates in them.’"

Random Denny Thought: It makes me wonder if on a spiritual level or perhaps encoded in the languages of our continent that this idea of free verse where the message is of highest importance survives today in American culture. This ancient American culture had a disdain for rigid technical forms as our generation does today. The attitude survives though the formal culture does not.

Ancient American Poets by John Curl sure sounds like a must have for the poetry shelf of the ancients who once walked where we walk today. I wonder what they would have to say now…



Sacred Hymn to Wiracocha the Creator

Oh Creator, root of all,
Wiracocha, end of all,
Lord in shining garments
who infuses life and sets all things in order,
saying, "Let there be man! Let there be woman!"
Molder, maker,
to all things you have given life:
watch over them,
keep them living prosperously, fortunately
in safety and peace.
Where are you?
Outside? Inside?
Above this world in the clouds?
Below this world in the shades?
Hear me!
Answer me!
Take my words to your heart!
For ages without end
let me live,
grasp me in your arms,
hold me in your hands,
receive this offering
wherever you are, my Lord,
my Wiracocha.

***

To all the spirits of places

Creator, end of all things
root of all
Lord of the Lake
active diligent Wiracocha,
Lord of Mountains
Lord of Prayers
Lord of Rituals
Lord without measure,
Creator, end of all,
who rewards and grants:
Let the communities and peoples prosper
and also those who journey outside or within.

***
From the Amazon site about the author:

John Curl is a respected poet and author of historical works who has published fiction, poetry, essays, and history in numerous magazines and periodicals during the last three decades. He is a board member of PEN USA West and PEN Oakland and has also hosted a weekly radio show.

Tracking down this book over at Amazon.com I also found some used ones as well for the budget. New is $16 US. It can be found by going here in the Ancient Poetry section of The Social Poets Store banner at the top of the posting area or just click here.






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