How the light gets in

In his immortal song “AnthemLeonard Cohen says:

There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

I have loved that lyric from the first time that I heard it. It holds true for so many things. A crooked smile or some other “flaw” are often what elevate a pretty woman to a beautiful one. Milk has to go “bad” to become cheese. Billie Holiday had wonderful phrasing that is still imitated to this day, but for me the astounding poignancy of her music comes from imperfections in her voice.

Too much of a flaw, however, and you end with just ugly, spoiled milk, or Ashley Simpson. Not good.

The other night I was at a wine bar and ordered a glass of Chateuneuf de Pape and the first sniff told me that it was oxidized. Of course I sent it back and they brought me a new glass. I contentedly enjoyed the distinctive aroma of Brettanomyces in the second glass that the region is known for. Why did I seek out a wine that I expected to be flawed? Why is the one flaw desirable to me, but the other unacceptable? I would have been disappointed if there had not been a hint of bret on the wine, but the oxidation was offensive. Why? I have no clue.

Such is wine.

Happy Birthday, Lawrence Ferlinghetti! We should all be grateful to you, and happy that you are in the world with us.

Scroll to top