good morning?

Sleepy Cornelius


Wake up! Wake Up!

Don’t want to.

But if you had some tea?


by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer

It is the bleakest of
as I crawl from my bed,
red-eyed, rumpled, and
decidedly unrefreshed.
My right hip seems not to
be working,
my left shoulder has a
already a sinus headache
is brewing
and, oh, Lord! — look at
my hair!
Limping, snuffling,
creaking, moaning,
I make my way toward
the kitchen . . .
grope about in the dark
for the kettle,
grope about in the dark
for the tea tin,
turn on the stove, feel my
spirits rise up
as I reach for a cup in
needy anticipation.
Thank you, God, for the
glorious gift of Earl Grey.

~ from She of the Rib: Women Unwrapped (CRM Books, 2006)



by Miguel Vallinas


Sound familiar? I think Ms. Ferrer must be spying on me or reading my mail or something. How did she describe me and my morning routine so well?

What’s that? Yours too?

I guess we’re all in this together. Have you noticed that with age it gets harder and harder to get up and going? Oh the grogginess and slowness! Oh the struggle to move!

Not that I was ever one to bounce out of bed, kick up my heels, and burst into song or anything. But man! It’s become quite a challenge lately.


by Lissy Elle Laricchia


I’ve never been a morning person (no phone calls before noon, please!). One of my college roommates even called me Grumpy. I think ‘Silent and Contemplative’ would have been more accurate. Some of us simply prefer to greet each new day with a modicum of gentleness. 🙂

In any case, this poem made me smile in recognition — a welcome bit of levity in these dark times. BTW, did you know Jayne Jaudon Ferrer is the one who launched Your Daily Poem back in 2009? If you’re a subscriber, you probably already knew that. Well, I just found out after many years of enjoying the site. See what I mean about being slow to wake up?





Thanks to all who entered the giveaway for JOEY: The Story of Joe Biden a few weeks ago. Things are getting exciting (and nerve wracking), now that the election is just a few days away.

After several cups of Earl Grey, Mr Cornelius (who isn’t a morning person either), picked the winner, who is:



🎉 WOO HOO! 🎉

We know you’ll enjoy the book!

And thanks again, everyone, for your comments and enthusiasm. 🙂


La la la la Lovely Linda is hosting the Roundup at TeacherDance. Waltz on over to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up around the blogosphere this week. Stay safe, be well, wear your mask, and VOTE (no more malarkey)!



All set now and ready to go!

What’s your morning high octane drink: coffee or tea?


from “Camellia and the Rabbit,” by Petra Storrs and Becky Palmer


*Copyright © 2020 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.


honoring our elderly with a pair of poems (+ a special birthday!)

“We’re all just walking each other home.” ~ Ram Dass

“Holding Hands” by Suzanne Summers LaPierre


by Linda Crosfield

Every afternoon at two-fifteen they come,
a procession of chairs and walkers,
or unaided in a slow and ponderous shuffle,
backs hunched against the unkindness of time,
to assemble in the great room for tea.

They enjoy this ritual —
the sturdy cups of Orange Pekoe,
cookies and squares that break up a day,
words exchanged, sometimes even heard,
by folk whose paths might not have crossed before.

It’s a slow dance, led by invisible partners.
It’s the last dance, and they’re saving it
for every afternoon at two-fifteen.

~ Posted by permission of the author, copyright © 2011, 2020 Linda Crosfield. All rights reserved.



“God Bless the Caregivers” by Pami Ciliax-Guthrie


Nursing homes have been in the news a lot lately. After all, it was a nursing home — the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington — that first warranted our serious concern about COVID-19’s community spread in the U.S. back in late February.

We learned that the elderly were the most vulnerable, and that many residents as well as caregivers had been lost or were fighting for their lives across the country.

When I stumbled upon this lovely poem by Canadian poet Linda Crosfield recently, I couldn’t help but view it through the lens of the pandemic. The cherished ritual of afternoon tea took on an added poignancy as I thought of those who no longer have the joy of a “last dance” to look forward to.

As it turns out, though, there was a bright spot, a glimmer of hope.

When I contacted Linda to ask for permission to share her poem, she provided a little backstory about it:

I wrote “Tea at Jubilee Manor” when my aunt was living there. It’s a nursing home in Nelson, BC. She died at 102 in 2012. Now my mother is in the same place and she’s turning 100 on June 3rd. Sadly, it won’t be quite the celebration we’d always planned. Can’t see her in person. No hugs. No flowers. Gifts frowned on. But we can send in one of those little airline-sized bottles of gin and some tonic and we will toast her over the fence on the day. 

Now the poem is even more meaningful. Though I was sorry to hear Linda and her family won’t be able to celebrate this landmark birthday in person, I was so relieved that her mom is okay and would indeed be observing a rare milestone next week.

Would you like to meet Daisy? Here she is:


Linda’s mother Daisy, the birthday girl!


Have you ever seen such a beautiful face, such a wonderful smile? Oh, the people she’s met, the things and places she’s seen, the love she’s shared in 100 years! And she’s given us a poet!

Oh, look — it’s 2:15! In honor of Daisy’s birthday on Wednesday, we’ve set up a little afternoon tea. Please help yourself to some marble cake, dark chocolate pretzels, lemon, oat, and chocolate chip cookies, and of course, a warm cup of Orange Pekoe.




If not for Linda’s poem, our paths might never have crossed. Just as her heartening words suggest, we must follow the lead of our wise elders by rejoicing in simple pleasures and cherishing each moment as it comes, with gratitude that it’s been given.


Mr Cornelius wants you to try a Tunnock’s Tea Cake, a special treat from Scotland.


There’s much to be said, especially in tough, unpredictable times, about treating each slow dance as your last.



While you nibble and sip, enjoy this mini gallery of seniors and Samantha Reynolds’s poem, as a way of honoring those we’ve lost, those we’ve found, and those we’ve yet to meet. Not to be forgotten, devalued, discounted or sacrificed, but revered, respected and treasured.


Continue reading

friday feast: ♥ true love in three acts ♥

“You must always be awaggle with love.” ~ D.H. Lawrence

~ With advance apologies to Tea S. Eliot, Elizabeth Barrett Brewing and William Shakespour.


1. To tart or not to tart, that is the question.

Reasons for not making fruit tarts:

  • Pesky little tart pans
  • Stirring vanilla cream in nippy kitchen
  • Finicky pastry dough
  • Locate pretty fruit in the dead of winter? Oh, come on.

Reasons for making fruit tarts:

  • Len loves them. Cornelius loves them. I love them. What person in their right mind doesn’t love them?
  • It’s Valentine’s Day.
  • Beloved blog readers might be impressed that an adorable a self-sacrificing writer stood in an icy kitchen for hours some minutes stirring, stirring the vanilla cream and whipping finicky pastry dough into shape after walking flying to Chile to pick fresh berries.
  • Good excuse to buy a new tartlet baking set.
The baking set comes with a 12-well non-stick tartlet pan, a dough cutter and a tamper.
Handsome assistant demonstrates use of tamper.

In the room the women come and go,
Talking of rolling pie dough.

*   *   *

Continue reading

friday feast: tea for two and three

“Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.” ~ Catherine Douzel

Sip and stay awhile.

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.


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. 


“Five O’Clock Tea” by Mary Cassatt (oil on canvas, 1880)

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)


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.