Recently, while browsing through The Poets Laureate Anthology (W.W. Norton & Co., 2010), I came across this wonderful poem by William Jay Smith that’s just perfect for Valentine’s Day.
I’m a sucker for the short lyrical line and fell for it immediately, all the while wondering why I hadn’t seen it before. Most of you probably know this poem, perhaps as the lyrics of a children’s song or as a wedding ceremony recitation. I like how it celebrates that pure, unconditional love between parent and child, as well as the romantic love that has the power to sweep us off our feet at any age. With its charm, whimsy and unbounded declaration, the poem expresses the love we all live and long for — beginning to end, above, below, around, and between.
“Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.” ~ Catherine Douzel
Happy Poetry Friday!
We’re serving tea and treats today to celebrate National Hot Tea Month. Please help yourself to a cup of PG Tips, Twinings Darjeeling, or Republic of Tea’s Green Rooibos, along with a fruit tart or cupcake. (If you say, “I love poetry” three times, you may have both.)
Nothing like a good cup of tea to restore calm and tranquility, to enhance a moment of solitude and sweeten reflection. When shared, this wondrous beverage can engender the most “civilized” of conversations, a call to best behavior even when ennui or disaffection is brewing beneath the surface.
For your sipping pleasure, two poems steeped in the drama of relationships. Each cup a world unto its own with universal truth and the delicious wonderment of “what happens next?”stirred in.
IN A BATH TEASHOP by John Betjeman
“Let us not speak, for the love we bear one another — Let us hold hands and look.” She, such a very ordinary little woman; He, such a thumping crook; But both, for a moment, little lower than the angels In the teashop’s ingle-nook.
AT TEA by Thomas Hardy
The kettle descants in a cosy drone, And the young wife looks in her husband’s face, And then at her guest’s, and shows in her own Her sense that she fills an envied place; And the visiting lady is all abloom, And says there was never so sweet a room.
And the happy young housewife does not know That the woman beside her was first his choice, Till the fates ordained it could not be so. … Betraying nothing in look or voice The guest sits smiling and sips her tea, And he throws her a stray glance yearningly.
Oh, what tangled webs we weave . . .
These poetic vignettes contain the seeds for full length novels. Tidy and unobtrusive, these interesting studies in compression invite us to delve and deliberate, teasing our senses. As Henry Fielding once wrote, “Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.” Poetry seems the ideal vessel for such titillating refreshment.
What drama will unfold with your next cup of tea?
♥ Jim is hosting today’s Poetry Friday Roundup at Hey, Jim Hill! Please take him an extra fruit tart and enjoy all the poetic goodies being shared in the blogosphere this week.
This post is also being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, which is open to anyone who has a food-related post to share (novel, nonfiction, cookbook, movie reviews, recipes, quotes, random thoughts, etc.).
“The mere chink of cups and saucers tunes the mind to happy repose.” ~ George Gissing (The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft)