Love for the Bottle

Jones, Richard

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Stanford, Ann Folwell
  • Date of entry: Aug-13-1996


The speaker of this poem has only ten days ago quit drinking and grieves the loss of alcohol from his life in terms similar to grieving a lost love.


This is a powerful look at the dynamic of alcohol addiction, opening with the line, "The house seems empty without you." The "you" of the poem is, of course, alcohol, but the poem is written in terms that identify the bottle as a beloved person. The speaker cannot sleep, doesn't "know what to do with [his] body," and calls this period of abstinence his "ten-day affair with reality." He cleans his house in the middle of the night, calling himself "a lover learning to live / alone again, but still dreaming / of the way only she could soothe me, / her body cold as glass." This poem recalls W. H. Auden's Letter to a Wound (see this database), in which the speaker addresses an unspecified, but painful, wound in the same terms he would address a jealous lover.

Primary Source

Country of Air: Poems by Richard Jones


Copper Canyon

Place Published

Port Townsend, Wash.