To Hear the World in a Glass of Champagne

I raise the glass, thinking to drink as a thousand times before. But I hear my grandmother’s glass xylophone.  Tiny, high-pitched dings sound above the almost-monotonic poppings.

I tilt the glass and hear the sound of the sea inside a shell: the ocean twice removed.

champagne glass

The gap closes between liquid and ear: spitting, then the sound of desert wind, of wind through sheoaks.

Pressing my head to the rim of the glass, the pressure changes so half my head, half my being, is transported. The wind disappears and is replaced by pricks like the long grey needles of a rock.

grey mineral

This rock in the National Gallery of Natural History, Washington.

Then it becomes hard rain hitting a windscreen with volume muted. And spitter, sputter like fireworks fizzling out. This chameleon champagne.

I scarcely want to drink it for losing the sound – the loss of one sense to another.

champagne glass

I lift my head towards vertical. The liquid wells up – so much the ocean. Anticipation of cold.

Will I be happy to drink it after it has touched my ear? An ear is different from a mouth.

The liquid prickles towards me. There is exquisiteness in guessing when it will reach my lobe. I have expectations of a shell lipped by the sea.

champagne glass from above

Mouth and ear are transposed. I feel the connection of all canals. I can ingest through my ear!

Champagne glides downwards emitting infrequent gurgles.

And then I hold its tickle, the idea of touch, against me. I move slightly and … contact. But I have a sense that it does not wet. It feels dry, contained.

champagne glass

The champagne licks my lobe like a puppy. It seems to be the bubbles, but it must be my bodily movements, making it lap. A little tilt and I am wet – like choosing to allow my feet in the ocean. It’s wet and spiky like a brittle, beautiful, Christmas decoration.

It’s the brittle of glass – sparse, new and horizontal.

champagne glass

And suddenly, champagne, free-flowing in my ear, does not appeal. That might be for another day when my ears are scrupulously clean. I did not embark on this with forethought.

I lower the glass. My arm is sore. My shoulder, edged. I let my arm hang like a horse’s head.

The champagne is tepid and silent to my distant ears, like a once-lover.

The glass stands empty.

champagne glass with bottle

We have journeyed together.

We remain witnesses.

champagne glass

With apologies to William Blake but it was such an apt title.

To see a world in a grain of sand,                                                                                            And heaven in a wildflower


What is the vessel of your miniature journey?

champagne glass

10 responses to “To Hear the World in a Glass of Champagne

  1. I’m with celia, just wonderful writing and photography, I think I’ll say that again, wonderful!

  2. Cleopatra got it all wrong. If she’d read this, she would have bathed in Veuve Cliquot 🙂

    • I do love a nice champagne bath myself though I tend to drink it rather than waste it by sitting in it.
      Sorry it has taken me so long to reply, MM. Somehow your comment managed to get through without me seeing it.

  3. Ever effervescent…sharp as wet and dry!

  4. wonderful, absolutely wonderful.. have another .. i will join you.. c

  5. Lovely in images and words.

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