I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

28 April 2016

Tea from the Heart

When you serve tea to your guests, you should simply serve tea from your heart, and think about nothing more. – Sen No Rikyu *


Let me open the cupboard and show you.
I have Earl Grey and English Breakfast,
the delicate or the warmly reassuring.
(You did know Earl Grey is supposed to be
drunk black? So many people add milk,
overwhelming that subtle bouquet.)

Perhaps you prefer green tea? I have it plain,
or flavoured with vanilla. Organic of course.
I hope you don’t mind tea-bags? If you prefer,
I can give you leaves. I was told that these
are high quality. They came from Japan, a gift
from a lovely friend, who has since died.

Or here is this tea they call white, by which
they don’t mean milky, but a special variety
of green tea, minimally processed. That, 
they say, makes it uniquely mellow and sweet.
Complex and sophisticated, even! Once
it was only for Emperors; now it can be yours.

And here I have herbal. Lemon ginger is good
this time of year, when the air starts to cool –
simultaneously soothing and heating, a balm
with a bite. Or there’s rose-hip, for your Vitamin C.
Peppermint is reviving – that clean, tangy taste.
Chamomile’s best before bed; it helps you sleep.

I’m sorry, I only have mugs. I hope you like
a drink that lasts longer. Tea, I know, is for sipping
not gulping, but I trust it won’t get too cold; I warmed
the mugs. This one for you, I think, with the roses?
Do sit on the couch. I’ll fetch some biscuits. Me?
I don’t drink tea myself; I’m a lover of coffee.



















Written for The Way of Tea at 'imaginary garden with real toads' and for Poets United's Midweek Motif: Openness

* There is plenty to think about when serving tea, particularly when you're not a tea-drinker yourself – but I hope I look after my guests from an open heart.


33 comments:

  1. Ah--I love both--coffee in the morning--but tea--there are worlds in tea--I so enjoyed this!

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  2. Twinings English Breakfast Tea...comfort reassuring and one of the great diurnal joys of life..Off now to make a cup.Only mugs? Tsk Rosemary:)does not taste as good in mugs...the same way a sandwich never tastes as good unless it is cut in 4 :)

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    1. Hmmm, yes, sorry about that – but there are SOME limits to how accommodating I can be. When coming for a cuppa, please bring own cup.

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    2. OK but please at least make the sandwiches in triangles (crusts off:)I will also bring the lamingtons:)

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  3. I thought you were a tea afficionado as you have such a selection. I do, too.......I have a ridiculous amount of tea varieties..........loved this poem, full of delicious tastes and scents.

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  4. Love the last line! Can drink endless cups of tea..but the way we make it- leaves brewed with milk and sugar..maybe a dash of ginger and cardamom!

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  5. This is beautifully written Rosemary :D especially adore the reference to mugs in which the tea lasts longer :D I believe it does.

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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  6. Ha. So charming. (I drink tea! ) k.

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  7. I am also a mug woman. I do own some beautiful tea cups, But I consider them art and never actually use them. But what would I know...I put milk in Earl Grey! :-)

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  8. I did laugh at that last sentence... I do love both myself... and I never add milk to my tea... but if I truly want something special from my tea I want Oolong.

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  9. Ah...such a lovely poem..I am a tea person and enjoyed your offer...

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  10. Strangely, I only resort to tea when I feel unwell. Then I love orange-pekoe. On other days, it is strictly coffee.

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  11. When given with love and kindness a glass of water is often the best drink there is.. your poem did make me smile however how troubled we are trying to please..maybe that is good in some ways

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    1. No trouble. I want my guests to have what they enjoy.

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  12. I'm a tea Philistine. I drink Earl Grey with milk, always have done, even though I know it's not the done thing. I'm open to change though. :-)

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  13. Black or white, Earl Grey should be drunk by someone else.

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  14. You'll be pleased to hear that I always drink my Earl Grey clear. In fact, I drink all tea that way. Milk and sugar are abominations in tea, as far as I'm concerned. But I will have a slice of lemon in black tea on occasion.

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    1. On the rare occasions I have tea, it's always without milk or sugar, and i have been known to try it with a slice of lemon. :-) I also have my coffee 'black with nothing' unless I'm at a café. A good long black from a café is a rare thing indeed, so then I have cappucino (un-sugared).

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  15. I discovered Earl Gray sans milk by accident this year, yum. I love the image of the open cabinet (like an open heart), offering them what they want rather than what you want (Doing unto others ...). I keep my foil-wrapped tea bags unboxed in a shallow kitchen drawer which has a similar effect when opened. Lovely.

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  16. My tea cabinet looks much the same. I keep Earl Gray on hand for my mom and dad, and plenty of herbal for friends who cannot partake of the leaf of camellia sinensis. And of course, good coffee for the husband who would die without it! Charmingly written.

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  17. Ah, that is the perfect hostess who has so many varieties of tea in spite of the fact she prefers coffee. I loved the light-heartedness of this, as well as the discussion of the merits of various teas. I have gotten into having tea here too...some cooler afternoons call for it...but, for the most part, I drink coffee as well.

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  18. I gulp tea...I usually only drink it in the afternoon though...LOVE my morning coffee! I like the tone in this!

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  19. Ah! That's a bit quirky. Such a fun read!
    -HA

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  20. All of that preparation to make your guest feel at home. Lovely, just lovely (you coffee-drinker, you!).

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  21. LOLLL! Loved it Rosemary! Surely you must be a closet tea drinker, all that expert knowledge of teas doesn;t come form a coffee drinker :-)

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    1. No, but I have been very well educated – in their own interests – by many friends who are tea connoisseurs.

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