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The Poetry of Tea (Four Short Poems)


Mark Tulin is an international author, humorist, poet, and short-story writer who lives by California's central coast.

Writing poetry at my favorite tea house.

Writing poetry at my favorite tea house.

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


Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on June 13, 2020:

I appreciate it, Prithviraj.

Prithviraj Shirole from India on June 13, 2020:

I am also a tea lover. Your poem is fantastic!

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on December 31, 2018:

Yes, Patty. It affects both in a calming way.

Patty Florence from Illinois on December 31, 2018:

I love tea. Just as you described, I wait for its affects to my soul and mind.

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on December 04, 2018:

Thank you, Maya. I always manage to take a tea break each day. Have a wonderful holiday. Mark

Maya Ellenson from Hobe Sound, Florida on December 04, 2018:

Mark, I deeply enjoyed your beautiful musings about the tea and the short poems,revealing the very soul of this truly divine elixir. Your way with words is stunning!

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on May 05, 2018:

Yes Mark, your love for tea sure did come through. I didn’t realize I left that out. So much good stuff to mention that I inadvertently didn’t mention the most important. :)

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on May 05, 2018:

Thanks, Glenn. I hope my love of tea came through. Thanks for your wonderful comments.

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on May 05, 2018:

The way you included the introduction before the poems added a great deal of value to the experience that followed, as I read your four poems and allowed the thoughts to steep in my mind.

Then it got even better still, as I listened to your poems all over again — only this time spoken by you in your voice. What a wonderfully creative way you put all this together Mark.

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on April 14, 2018:

thanks Li-jen

Li-Jen Hew on April 14, 2018:

Hello Mark. Nice poems you got there. It's really a tea meditation. The poems have a calm feel. And you've included a video with you reciting, good idea.Thanks for sharing. :)

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on March 16, 2018:

Thanks, CrisSp.

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on March 16, 2018:

Very soothing read. Love the visual as well.

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on February 21, 2018:

Thanks, Robin.

Robin Carretti from Hightstown on February 21, 2018:

Wow I love the way you balanced the tea with names od flavors tea I love so many blends I give you peace and tranquility this was a heavenly read thanks

Fatima Memija Bahtic from Bosnia and Herzegovina on January 26, 2018:

You're welcome:) these are wonderful verses, and your style is quite similar to his... Thank you for sharing your poems with us, they are really wonderful...

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on January 26, 2018:

Thank you Fatima for introducing me to Wordsworth’s beautiful poem, I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud.

Fatima Memija Bahtic from Bosnia and Herzegovina on January 26, 2018:

When I read this poem "Tea meditation" somehow it reminded me of my favorite poem by W. Wordsworth, "I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud. The last part of your poem is quite similar to:

"For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils... Just with tea in it:)

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on October 14, 2017:

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

Tim Mitchell from Escondido, CA on October 14, 2017:

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 (author) from Ventura, California on October 13, 2017:

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

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 13, 2017:

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 (author) from Ventura, California on October 12, 2017:

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

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on October 12, 2017:

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.

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