A few years ago it was popular to interrupt a conversation that seemed to turn serious by mimicking a beer commercial that poked fun at self-reflection.“Why ask why?” Implying futility.

The commercial seemed cynical to me. Even sardonic, as it brushed of its audience as either idealistic or derisive. But, I wonder if I don’t agree when I disregard Emily Dickinson’s attention to “exhilaration” as wine within the self. “Exhilaration — is within —” promotes personal romanticism, promises beauty.

Exhilaration – is within –
There can no Outer Wine
So royally intoxicate
As that diviner Brand

The Soul achieves – Herself –
To drink – or set away
For Visitor – Or Sacrament –
‘Tis not of Holiday

To stimulate a Man
Who hath the Ample Rhine
Within his Closet – Best you can
Exhale in offering –

Like the commercial, the poem uses “drink,” alcoholic beverages, to mirror my search for a clear idea of where I am in my life; whether I have fulfilled spiritual and material needs. Besides becoming an alcoholic, which I’ve tried, there are various ways to appeal to my fear or conviction that to survive I must by some “.. Outer Wine / So royally intoxicate”.

It is compelling to believe loved ones have achieved a status I cannot; more evil or more good. Don’t go for it, says the poem, “The Soul Achieves — Herself —”. Take the time needed to answer my own questions about my spiritual and material needs. Then it counsels me to view myself like wine, as a resource “To drink — or set away”

Respond to a call for help or do something privately for the sake of benefiting others, “For Visitor — Or Sacrament —”. I must be accessible to myself at all times. Not wait until someone or some special day requires me to be “on”: “’Tis not of Holiday / To Stimulate a Man”.

Or, “To stimulate a Man / Who hath the Ample Rhine”, the ample river of self-love “Within his Closet”, his closeted heart, all I have to do is breathe.

Whatever circumstances call for, if you and I are worthy of each other’s sacrifice, all that will be required is to whisper an “Exhale in offering —”.

Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way