Mulled Wine

Winter, you can wail
your wild winds
about my door,
whine about the window!
Do your worst to seal my fate.
Within these wooden walls
the fire glows in
its cast iron grate
and I prepare my antidote
to your bellicose blast:

mulled wine.

I select a dark bottle
from the cellar, sight unseen,
bring it to the fire’s glow,
turn the label up just so:
“Yes, Marrabel Grove Shiraz
South Australia two fourteen.”
I blow off dust,
savour the slight smell
of cellar must clinging there,
uncork the bottle to the air.

Now into the saucepan,
wine and sugar,
slowly simmer stirring to reduce,
add cinnamon sticks,
star anise, cloves, citrus;
drop into the fragrant juice
that final slice of mandarin,
a dash of brandy.

Scatter your cold rain
on the frosting window pane,
batter upon the casements.
I don’t care.
Now by the fireside,
warm ceramic cup in hand,
I stare you down,
take my last stand.
The fragrance of spice and fruit,
first hot draught down my throat.

Rage on! Here’s all summer’s
beloved scents and heat .