Day 4: I Make a Cuppa

Some say it is better with a warmed pot,
or with tea leaves through a strainer held
over a bone China cup. A specialist shop
had a bud float in my clear cup unfurled

before my eyes. Expensive and rare sight.
Indulgent, like days of Imperial
splendour when women tea harvester’s plight
long hours, low pay, working was very real.

My dad national service merchantman
mariner kept his life in the loft stored
in old tea chests, plywood box, steel battaned
edges. Brought home carved elephants for the sideboard.

We collect the wild as ornamental.
Domesticate, put on a pedestal.

Thank you to Paul Brookes for this lovely poem. I’m running on tea at the moment, and I love the way this sonnet captures the homeliness and exoticism of tea.


Love is a bit like tea and tea is a bit like love

Love should be made afresh each day, like tea.
Does that sound too mundane? Consider now
the cup I bring up every morning, free
from thoughts about repayment, and then how
you put a cup beside me when I’m at
my desk and working hard, because you see
that I might need it. Let’s extend it out:
our teapot holds enough for the whole family,
and when our friends drop by we offer tea
to say “we love you, and we’re glad you’re here”.
We offer tea as comfort, sympathy,
as a small warmth, protection against fear.
Love’s measured not in words, but in our deeds –
I say “I love you” when I make you tea.

Ingrid over at Experiments in fiction has asked us to write a sonnet for St Valentine’s Day. Wierdly, she has given us the theme of “love”.

Poems about drink for dVerse


This most mundane,
most exotic drink,
prosaic rescue remedy,
trailing clouds of steam
and history, linking me
in my untidy kitchen with
an empress on silken cushions
wielding a bamboo whisk;
a bending woman in
a saffron sari, nimble fingers
picking. I am drinking
history and geography,
a thousand wars,
an opium addict
in a back street den,
watching the dragon smoke
drift like a dream,
I’m drinking gold
and death, and
porcelain cups,
and a ration book,
and a church fete,
and pigs grown fat
on an Irish island.
I’m drinking my
mother-in-law’s first welcome,
and my great-grandfather’s pot
kept warm all day,
my father’s heritage
in clay, and yet
I disregard so casually
the sheer improbability
of this drink
cupped in my hand.

The very wonderful Paul has given us a drinking prompt at dVerse. It is a pub, so I was going to write about gin, but it’s early morning, and I really need a cup of tea. 

Haibun for Dverse – quotidian moments.

This is not a ritual, though my body moves with the fluidity of repetition, and my hands know the weight of water they carry, and the angle of tilt, and the moment to stop. This is not a ritual, though I stay silent as I step out into the sounds and scents of the morning, cup cradled like a chalice between my hands. There is dew on the grass, and a bird sings close by, and I crush a leaf between my fingers to catch the fresh smell of it. This is not a ritual, though it is a pause, a slow intake of breath, a blossom caught in the moment between bud and flower. It is a round stone in the stream of the day.

Green leaf in the cup
Opening leaf in the sun
The clean scent of mint.

A haibun for D’verse, where Toni wanted a piece on our daily actions…