Old man Noah

We had an informal ‘Soirée’ with our 2010 Parish Advent dinner this year. I read this:

The ballad of old man Noah

And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard . . . [Genesis 9.20] — R. F. Brissenden

Here’s a health to Father Noah
Who built his ark of wood,
Packed wife, kids, birds and beasts aboard
And saved them from the flood! But there’s another reason
Why you should raise your glass—
So listen to my story, boys,
And let the bottle pass.

After months of weary sailing
Beneath the weeping sky
Noah muttered, “All this water, Lord,
Sure makes a man feel dry.

“Don’t think that I’m not grateful:
I’m glad we didn’t sink
And I’ve grown quite fond of animals
-But, Lord, I need a drink!

“And, mate, I don’t mean water!
Please, when I beach this boat,
Could you give me something stronger
To soothe my thirsty throat?”

And the Lord said “Noah, baby,
I’m tired of water too:
So park your ark on Ararat
And I’ll tell you what we’ll do:

“We’ll plant a little vineyard
And we’ll get the sun to shine;
And when the grapes have ripened
We’ll turn them into wine.”

So when the flood subsided
And the rainbow spanned the sky,
And all God’s creatures, two by two,
Went forth to multiply,

Noah set the first grapes growing
Upon a sunny hill,
And vintaged them, and vatted them
Then sat to drink his fill.

He took one sip, and laughed aloud;
He shouted: “Thank you, Lord!”
He drank, he sang, he drank again,
And then lay down and snored.

Flat on his back lay Noah,
His hairy legs spread wide,
With his bunch of grapes and vine rows
All standing in their pride.

That’s how Ham, Shem and Japheth
Found their old dad lying bare;
So they fetched a rug and covered him
With tender loving care.

It’s all there in the Bible—
Genesis, chapter Nine:
The flood, the naked drunk old man
The water and the wine.

So, lift a glass to Noah, boys;
Don’t pike when it’s your shout;
Praise the Lord and pass the bottle;
And let it all hang out.

From: The Flight of the Emu: contemporary light verse, edited by Geoffrey Lehmann. North Ryde: Angus and Robertson, 1990, pp.9-10.