Tea & poetry ~

Folks have asked me about the ‘breath’ part of ‘Tea & Breath’. A great question to discuss in April, because April is National Poetry Month! It’s also National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). It would help you, gentle reader, to remember that it’s ‘breath’ that animates that lovely art — the pause of breath at the end of a line or stanza, the cadence of rhythm and/or rhyme, even the sound of individual letters (the puff of ‘p’ vs the bite of ‘f’…) All dependent on breath!

I’ve been crazy about poetry almost all my life, at least since I can remember. Books of children’s poetry still line my shelves, some tatter-covered from my childhood, some pristine, newly purchased for my grandsons. Today I’m even helping my 7-year-old grandson write a poem for school — how fun is that?? (Not at all, he says dryly…)

So how (& why?) do I pair tea & poetry? It’s not as simple as I dearly love them both (although certainly that’s a key factor). Nor is it mainly how they soothe me — although that has been a major element of my comfort rituals during this chaotic mess of a time. It’s more that tea (& the tea rituals from various cultures) are a kind of tangible poetry:

With their own beauty of sound

the bubble of water boiling

their own vivid colours

the jade green of matcha the amethyst of lavender.

Their own rhythms their own specific shapes

the thin shell of a porcelain cup

the sturdy earthiness of a stoneware gaiwan.

It’s also that the writing of poetry is (at least for me) a ritual as calming and reflective as the brewing of tea. Today my grandson & I discussed haiku ~ where it comes from (Japan), its form, what ‘poetic form’ even means (!), the ‘turn,’ and then he wrote a draft. As did I. His isn’t mine to share, but here is mine, of tea and breath. It’s also the NaPoWriMo first post ~

800 years gone
still the celadon cup brims
filled with memory


Tea bowl, between Song and Yuan Dynasty, 13th century.

More tea (& poetry!) to come ~

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