The Poetry of Tea (Four Short Poems)
The Poetry of Tea: Introduction
Tea is my weed of choice. It is legal in every state and gives me the kind of high that makes me a better person without the unnecessary side effects.
For me, hot tea with honey is more than just a drink. It calms, focusses and makes me a more mindful person, not only as I take each delicious sip but throughout the day. When I drink tea, I stop what I am doing and become aware of its visceral sensations— just focus on the steam of the tea rising, the warm enamel lip of the cup and the gentle and fragrant liquid making its way down my throat. My eyes can see better, my mind can think with more clarity and whatever I am doing at that moment, perhaps writing a poem or just hanging out, I can do it with more ease.
A warm cup of tea not only soothes my throat and calms my body, but it does something more profound. Those tiny, delicate tea leaves that were harvested by careful hands and dried by attentive minds in a far off asian country brings with it a type of cosmic spirituality. It quiets my soul, makes me a more peaceful person able to fit in better with the world and universe.
I respond to life more acutely. It slows me down and stops me from rushing through my day like a headless chicken. I’m more aware of others and their needs. Not only that, drinking hot tea helps me to think about my own needs and priorities for that moment, for that day and beyond.
When I sit holding that ceramic cup at home or at the tea house, I am pleasant. I send out good vibes. I feel my muscles relax, the rhythm of my breath slow down and my heart beat regular. I become more agreeable, flexible and accessible. Drinking tea for me is like meditation without the meditation cushion, reading poetry without the poetry book. It is simply tea.
These four poems were inspired by drinking tea and its different varieties. They are my tribute to such a healthy, medicinal and calming drink. Enjoy my liquid poetry. Allow these poems to steep within.
Four Short Poems about Tea
He comes from an old grove
where the wild trees grow
on the side of the Yunnan mountain
where the sunshine is tempered,
the clouds are sparse
and the pristine leaves are picked,
cleaned and dusted with gentle fingers.
The sweetness is balanced,
clarity plucked from the red sky.
Bourbon, lychee, and red plum
blended into a magical elixir
that a wise man drinks without hesitation.
After a few mindful sips,
the hot brew steeps in his soul.
It thaws his cold heart,
warms his fingers and toes,
renders his spirit virtually invincible,
if only for a few hours.
Picked from a garden above the sea
during a warm snap in the middle of winter
arrives a lovely plant that oolongs with flavor.
Notes of caramelized ginger stirs in the mug.
Songs of golden cane sugar sweetens the pot
as the sprouted oolong takes to the road.
Starry white snowflakes
blooming from the sky,
fall lightly on my tongue.
Sweet, like winter cherry
made of soft jasmine petals
that satisfy my thirsty palate.
While the tea steeps
I meditate with eyes closed
Upright on a meditation cushion
Filled with buckwheat hulls
Made by the mindful hand of a Buddhist monk.
I let the tea steep for five minutes
While thinking only about the steam
That flows from the savory tea cup
That rises from the peaceful tea gardens
Above the leafy green Chinese fields.