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The Poetry of Tea (Four Short Poems)

Updated on October 12, 2017
Mark Tulin profile image

Mark Tulin is an ex-psychotherapist who currently lives patient-free with his wife in Santa Barbara, California.

Writing poetry at my favorite tea house.
Writing poetry at my favorite tea house. | Source

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

Yunnan Red


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.


Sprouted Oolong


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.



Snow Jasmine


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.



Tea Meditation


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.

Four Tea Poems by Mark Tulin

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    • Mark Tulin profile image
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      Mark Tulin 5 weeks ago from Santa Barbara, California

      You’re welcome, Tim. Don’t forget to add a little ginger or cinnamon to the mix.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 5 weeks ago from Escondido, CA

      Awesome poems speaking a spiritual message to me of appreciation of the gifts shared with me by tea. It is a special time of delight when I partake of it. I think I will make brew of loose leaf tea now and continue my journey reading this morning. Thank you Mark for opening a door.

    • Mark Tulin profile image
      Author

      Mark Tulin 5 weeks ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thank you so much for the read, Dora. Enjoy your tea today.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Beautiful poems--Tea Meditation, my favorite. I share your love of tea. It is my drink (hot or cold) of choice. I love your prose lines: "Drinking tea for me is like meditation without the meditation cushion, reading poetry without the poetry book. It is simply tea."

    • Mark Tulin profile image
      Author

      Mark Tulin 5 weeks ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thanks, Kristen. I’ve worn out two French presses.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 5 weeks ago from Northeast Ohio

      Mark, I'm an avid tea drinker like you. These poems were very nicely written and poignant with good symmetry and visualization as well. Well done.