Monday, April 18, 2016

April is National Poetry Month

As a semi-retired teacher of English and lover of reading, I decided it would be appropriate to share two of my favorite poems on the subject of tea.  Consider them as tea leaves of thought.

“A  Pot  of  Tea”
By Richard Kenney
Loose leaves in a metal ball
Or men in a shark cage steeping,
Ideas stain the limpid mind
Even while it’s sleeping:

Ginseng or the scent of lymph
Or consequences queasing
Into wide awareness, whence,
Like an engine seizing

Society remits a shudder
Showing it has feeling,
And the divers all have shaving cuts
And the future’s in Darjeeling—

Blind, the brain stem bumps the bars
Of the shark cage, meanwhile, feeding,
And the tea ball’s cracked, its leaves cast
To catastrophic reading:

Ideas are too dangerous.
My love adjusts an earring.
I take her in my arms again
And think of Hermann Göring,

And all liquidities in which
A stain attracts an eating,
And of my country’s changing heart,
And hell, where the blood is sleeting.
From The One-Strand River by Richard Kenney. Copyright © 2008 by Richard Kenney. Reprinted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf. All rights reserved.

“Tea  at  the  Palaz  of  Hoon”

 By Wallace Stevens, 1879 - 1955

Not less because in purple I descended
The western day through what you called
The loneliest air, not less was I myself.

What was the ointment sprinkled on my beard?
What were the hymns that buzzed beside my ears?
What was the sea whose tide swept through me there?

Out of my mind the golden ointment rained,
And my ears made the blowing hymns they heard.
I was myself the compass of that sea:

I was the world in which I walked, and what I saw
Or heard or felt came not but from myself;
And there I found myself more truly and more strange.

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