Tea poems


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Tea poems

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Jun 20, 2008, 8:17 am

A thread for tea-related poetry. Here's a poem I ran across elsewhere on LT:

Snow Water
By Michael Longley

A fastidious brewer of tea, a tea
Connoisseur as well as a poet,
I modestly request on my sixtieth
Birthday a gift of snow water.

Tea steam and ink stains. Single-
Mindedly I scald my teapot and
Measure out some Silver Needles Tea,
Enough for a second steeping.

Other favourites include Clear
Distance and Eyebrows of Longevity
Or, from the precarious mountain peaks,
Cloud Mist Tea (quite delectable)

Which competent monkeys harvest
Filling their baskets with choice leaves
And bringing them down to where I wait
With my crock of snow water.

Jun 22, 2008, 9:58 am

How nice MaggieO.

It isn't a poem but I always liked the quote:

"Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea."

Jun 24, 2008, 3:34 am

Steam rises from a cup of tea
and we are wrapped in history,
inhaling ancient times and lands,
comfort of ages in our hands.

~Faith Greenbowl

see for more tea-related poems http://www.seedsofknowledge.com/teapoems.html

Jun 25, 2008, 2:35 pm

Maggie, a lovely idea. If I run across any poetic references to tea, they will certainly be posted, now.

Maren: what a wonderful quote, and how much better - especially for me! - than making lemonade of your lemons (or marmalade from oranges unexpectedly bitter, rather than sweet)! Though I think the latter a fine accompaniment to toast and tea...

Edited: Jun 25, 2008, 5:20 pm

Actually song lyrics, but I always like them since they seemed to fit my mood often: from Blind Melon's "No Rain"

All I can do
is just pour some tea for two
and speak my point of view
but it's not sane

All I can do
is read a book to stay awake
it rips my life away
but it's a great escape

Jun 26, 2008, 12:51 am

Nice choice, quartzite!

Jun 26, 2008, 1:57 pm

I just heard that song the other day...pretty great lyrics!

Jun 26, 2008, 2:34 pm

There are those who love to get dirty
and fix things.
They drink coffee at dawn,
beer after work,

And those who stay clean,
just appreciate things,
At breakfast they have milk
and juice at night.

There are those who do both,
they drink tea.

- - Gary Snyder

Jun 26, 2008, 4:17 pm

My copper kettle
whistles merrily
and signals that
it is time for tea.

The fine china cups
are filled with the brew.
There's lemon and sugar
and sweet cream, too.

But, best of all
there's friendship, between you and me.
As we lovingly share
our afternoon tea.
~Marianna Arolin

Jun 28, 2008, 7:25 pm

This is wonderful! I just copied the poem in message 9 and e-mailed it to my sweetheart (long-distance romance isn't easy, but thank goodness for e-mail), reminiscing about a time we got caught in the rain, went home and made tea. It was raining here, too, but the sun's just come out.

You've made my day.

Jun 29, 2008, 12:35 am

Nice. One of my favorite memories with my own long-distance boyfriend is being together caught in the rain - at an outdoor table, partially covered by an umbrella, and continuing blissfully and stubbornly reading. When it began whipping under the umbrella and standing in the street, we took off our shoes, rolled up our pants, and waded home.

Warm blankets, I remember. Tea, however plausible, eludes me. :) (It was early September.)

Jul 2, 2008, 3:00 am

No. 10: I'm very glad to have made your day with that little tea poem!

Jul 2, 2008, 3:03 am

The Tea Party

I had a little tea party
This afternoon at three.
'Twas very small-
Three guest in all-
Just I, myself and me.

Myself ate all the sandwiches,
While I drank up the tea;
'Twas also I who ate the pie
And passed the cake to me.

~Jessica Nelson North

Jul 3, 2008, 1:12 am

EstherD, I loved the poem you posted in message 13. I confess that I like tea best when I have a rare moment alone, with a fresh pot gently steaming next to me, a dog curled up in my lap, and a great book waiting to be read!

Jul 4, 2008, 3:50 am


Stand firmly resolv'd, and bid Grenville to see,
That rather than freedom we part with our tea,
And well as we love the dear draught when a-dry,
As American Patriots our taste we deny--

This poem was published anonymously in the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1768. It is thought that it was written by a Quaker lady who lived in Philadelphia. It was dedicated to the Daughters of Liberty during the Revolutionary War.

Jul 5, 2008, 10:30 am

How appropriate for the day krishh. I am glad it is no longer patriotic to not drink tea however.

Jul 21, 2008, 9:38 am

As found on Denise's blog ( uniquelytea.blogspot.com ) this morning:

I've taken tea on Bahrain's isle,
Sri Lanka and Hong-Kong,
Where desert sands run mile on mile
And sunlight's powerful strong;
Tea from the gallery in our plane
Gave ease when flights were long.
In tropic heat, in freezing rain
The tea-cup came along.

Tea in Japan, tea in Malay,
Tea in Aden's heat.
At cricket on a summer's day
A tea is hard to beat.
And I remember taking tea in the land of Lorna Doone
With Devon cream – just you and me
Whilst on our honeymoon.

- Tea, Please by Jasper Miles, 1994

(Thanks, Marensr, and I agree with you.)

Edited: Jul 31, 2008, 9:07 am


Miss Ellen, versez-moi le Thé
Dans la belle tasse chinoise
Où des poissons d'or cherchent noise
Au monstre rose épouvanté.

J'aime la folle cruauté
Des chimères qu'on apprivoise.
Miss Ellen, versez-moi le Thé
Dans la belle tasse chinoise.

Là, sous un ciel rouge irrité,
Une dame fière et sournoise
Montre en ses longs yeux de turquoise
L'extase et la naïveté.
Miss Ellen, versez-moi le Thé.

("Miss Ellen pour me some Tea
In the lovely Chinese cup
Where gold fishes pick a quarrel
With the terrified pink monster.

I like the mad cruelty
Of a tame chimera.
Miss Ellen pour me some Tea
In the lovely Chinese cup.

Here, under an angry red sky,
A proud, sly lady
Reveals, in her long-slit turquoise eyes
Ecstasy and naivety.
Miss Ellen pour me some Tea.)

I learned that one at school when I was eight and didn't remember the author then. Two minutes ago I thought it was Théophile (tea-lover!) Gautier, but preferred to google-check and was right : it's by Théodore de Banville, of whom I have read strictly no other line.

Of course it deals more with china than with tea, but hasn't it got an exquisite nonsensical flavour about it? I suppose the speaker is hardly older than I was when I learned the poem, and Miss Ellen is his English governess ("sa miss anglaise").

Jul 31, 2008, 11:43 pm

>18 Eustrabirbeonne: Eustrabirbeonne - What a wonderful poem. I think I'll take it to my French class next week.

Aug 1, 2008, 4:29 am

Agreed. I like it very much, indeed. :)

Aug 1, 2008, 10:49 am

I first saw Afternoon tea
by Kate Greenaway
"With a cool breeze blowing, and not too much heat -
And doesn't the tea-tray look charmingly neat?"

then I found
The Tea Party
by same artist.
"Do you take sugar?" and
"Do you take milk?"
She'd got a new gown on -
A smart one of silk.

Aug 1, 2008, 3:45 pm

How very timely! I'm going to a tea-party in a pleasant green garden tomorrow!

Aug 1, 2008, 3:47 pm

OOh jealous! Where?

Edited: Aug 1, 2008, 3:49 pm

It's the PEERS Impressionists Picnic - in Alameda, CA.


Aug 1, 2008, 4:20 pm

That looks absolutely lovely - perhaps some new tea poetry will be derived from the picnic?

Aug 1, 2008, 5:37 pm

You never know!

If I remember, I will post a link after pictures get posted to the web.

Aug 13, 2008, 1:55 pm

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Aug 14, 2008, 2:32 am

I'd love to see one/some, if you felt like copying them out. :)

Edited: Aug 14, 2008, 4:38 am

This message has been deleted by its author.

Aug 14, 2008, 1:25 pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

Aug 14, 2008, 3:51 pm

Too bad!! Sounds like fun!

Thanks for the samples, Foxhunter.

Aug 14, 2008, 5:51 pm

Yum Yum...
Smell the brew
Ooops hot!
Makes u feel new
3 sugar cubes, or two...
Turn the spoon
And sip away...

~Snodgrass :)

Aug 17, 2008, 12:59 am

Foxhunter: Hilarious, no; agreed. - Amusing, certainly. And I quite like the pastiche of Macaulay. Something about 'varlet' and tea-making.... they go together with such unsuitable fervor.

Aug 17, 2008, 1:01 am

Thank you for copying them for us. At least as far as my own enjoyment goes, the effort was not unrewarded.

Aug 20, 2008, 7:53 am

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Aug 20, 2008, 12:34 pm

I think the Macauly style one may be my favorite.

I just want to order, "Pour, varlet, pour. . ."

Sep 30, 2008, 10:53 pm

English poet Rupert Brooke (1887-1915), known as "the handsomest man in England," wrote in his poem "The Old Vicarage":

“Stands the Church clock at ten-to-three?
And is there honey still for tea?”

The two lines close "The Old Vicarage," a poem written by Brooke in May 1912 while he was residing in Berlin. He isn't feeling well, and is remembering Grantchester with nostalgic fondness.

The lines aren't about tea, the beverage, per se, of course, but rather about afternoon tea, the ceremony, but still, we've got to include the "beautiful young man" who is is simultaneously one of the best-loved and most-derided poets.

Brooke died when he was 27 in WWI. A temporary Sub-Lieutenant, he was sailing with the British Mediterranean Expeditionary Force when he developed sepsis from an infected mosquito bite. He died in the Aegean, off the island of Lemnos.

Ironically, Brooke was also responsible for the 1915 sonnet "The Soldier," which provides perhaps the most-famous momento of fallen British soldiers in these lines:

"If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England."

Brooke's foreign field turned out to be Skyros Island in Greece.

Sorry for the info overkill, but I had to suffer through an English Lit prof who was potty about Brooke's "lost promise."

Oct 8, 2008, 12:42 pm

No overkill. I think it is lovely BasilBlue and I appreciate all the information.

Now I am wondering about Skyros Island isn't that one suggested that Philoctetes was stranded on. . .another soldier left behind.

Oct 10, 2008, 3:39 am

Whoa, Marensr, I had totally forgotten that, but it's been a while since I've read Sophocles. In Philoctetes I think it was Lemnos where they left him, just 'cause his wound stank, or something like that, wasn't it? Thanks for reminding me - those islands have lots of associations.

Edited: Oct 11, 2008, 12:11 pm

Oh yes I think it was Lemnos! You know on the poetry theme there is a lovely version of Philoctetes that was done by Seamus Heaney.

Edited to add -oh yes it was a stinking wound- on his foot.

Edited: Oct 11, 2008, 4:50 pm

Well, life on board ship was pretty close quarters, so I guess we have to cut them some slack, but still that seems pretty cold, doesn't it? Sort of like being thrown out of the party for having B.O.! Except that you're actually hurt, so it's worse. Plus you're being abandoned in the middle of nowhere, albeit an atmospheric nowhere.

I'm not familiar with the Seamus Heaney, but I've looked it up and will get my hands on it. Thanks for the info. For anyone else reading who's curious about getting it, it's The Cure at Troy: A Version of Sophocles' Philoctetes. It was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 1991 and appears to be readily available on both new and used listings. The reviews for it are really good.

Edited: Oct 12, 2008, 11:54 am

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Oct 12, 2008, 1:18 pm

How about "Toast and Marmalade for Tea."

Oct 12, 2008, 2:38 pm

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Oct 12, 2008, 2:50 pm

Toast and marmalade for tea.
Sailing ships upon the sea.
Aren't lovelier than you,
Or the games I see you play.

Oct 12, 2008, 9:39 pm

Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child's Garden of Verses - #31. The Lamplighter of 1913

My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky;
It's time to take the window to see Leerie going by;
For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,
With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street.

Apr 8, 2009, 11:13 pm

This is from Alexander Pope's THE RAPE OF THE LOCK:

For lo! The board with cups and spoons is crown’d,
The Berries crackle, and the mill turns round;
On shining altars of Japan they raise,
The silver lamp; the fiery spirits blaze:
From silver spouts the grateful liquors glide,
While China’s earth receives the smoking tide,
At once they gratify their scent and taste,
And frequent cups prolong the rich repast.

Apr 10, 2009, 11:00 am

Calling the Kettle by Dennis O'Driscoll

No matter what news breaks,
it's impossible to think straight
until the kettle has boiled.

The kettle with its metal back
strong enough to take the strain,
shoulders braod enough to cry on;

plump as the old grandmother
in her woollen layers of skirts
who is beyond surprise or shock,

who knows the value of allowing
tears to flow, of letting off steam,
of wetting the tea and, her hand

patting your cheek, insisting - as she prevails on you to sit and drink - that
things could have been much worse.

Apr 10, 2009, 11:56 am

Not poems, but I quite fancy these quotes:

“Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.” ~Billy Connolly

“When the news reporter said "Shopkeepers are opening their doors bringing out blankets and cups of tea" I just smiled. It's like yes. That's Britain for you. Tea solves everything. You're a bit cold? Tea. Your boyfriend has just left you? Tea. You've just been told you've got cancer? Tea. Coordinated terrorist attack on the transport network bringing the city to a grinding halt? Tea dammit! And if it's really serious, they may bring out the coffee. The Americans have their alert raised to red, we break out the coffee. That's for situations more serious than this of course. Like another England penalty shoot-out.” ~Jslayeruk, as posted on Metaquotes Livejournal, in response to the July 2005 London subway bombings

And my favourite “Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.” ~ Henry Fielding, "Love in Several Masques"

Apr 10, 2009, 1:10 pm

"Tea solves everything"

The ultimate comfort food! :-)

Apr 10, 2009, 1:46 pm

I was in a tanka*-ish mood this morning.

cold spring frost lies thick -
I wait for the tea kettle...
sun parts cloud-curtains,
water boils to waken leaves;
mist and steam rise together

*tanka - elder cousin of the haiku - a Japanese syllabic poetry form, the lines of which are 5-7-5-7-7

Apr 10, 2009, 2:57 pm

#48, That one is definitely suitable for framing! Hot tea and wise grandmothers---nothing better for frazzled nerves! I see a scrapbook page waiting to happen.

Apr 17, 2009, 6:21 am

I love # 48's tanka!

Apr 29, 2009, 11:50 am

Two song lyrics from the Kinks. In my opinion, the most British of all the British invasion bands: "Afternoon Tea" and "Have a Cup of Tea"

"Afternoon Tea"

Tea time won't be the same without my Donna
At night I lie awake and dream of Donna
I think about that small cafe
That's where we used to meet each day
And then we used to sit a while
And drink our afternoon tea
I'll take afternoon tea (afternoon tea)
If you take it with me (afternoon tea)
You take as long as you like
'Cause I like you, girl
I take sugar with tea (afternoon tea)
You take milk if you please (afternoon tea)
Like you talking to me
Because you ease my mind

Tea time still ain't the same without my Donna
At night I lie awake and dream of Donna
I went to our cafe one day
They said that Donna walked away
You'd think at least she might have stayed
To drink her afternoon tea
I'll take afternoon tea (afternoon tea)
If you take it with me (afternoon tea)
You take as long as you like
'Cause I like you, girl
I take afternoon tea (afternoon tea)
Every day of the week (afternoon tea)
Please come along if you like
Because I like you, girl

"Have A Cup of Tea"

Granny’s always ravin’ and rantin’
And she’s always puffin’ and pantin’,
And she’s always screaming and shouting,
And she’s always brewing up tea.

Grandpappy’s never late for his dinner,
Cos he loves his leg of beef
And he washes it down with a brandy,
And a fresh made cup of tea.

Have a cuppa tea, have a cuppa tea,
Have a cuppa tea, have a cuppa tea,
Halleluja, halleluja, halleluja, rosie lea
Halleluja, halleluja, halleluja rosie lea.

If you feel a bit under the weather,
If you feel a little bit peeved,
Take granny’s stand-by potion
For any old cough or wheeze.
It’s a cure for hepatitis it’s a cure for chronic insomnia,
It’s a cure for tonsilitis and for water on the knee.


Tea in the morning, tea in the evening, tea at supper
You get tea when it’s raining, tea when it’s snowing.
Tea when the weather’s fine,
You get tea as a mid-day stimulant
You get tea with your afternoon tea
For any old ailment or disease
For christ sake have a cuppa tea.


Whatever the situation whatever the race or creed,
Tea knows no segregation, no class nor pedigree
It knows no motivations, no sect or organisation,
It knows no one religion,
Nor political belief.


Apr 30, 2009, 11:07 am

Very nice.

May 24, 2009, 8:54 am

Bookbesotted quoted (at 49):

“When the news reporter said "Shopkeepers are opening their doors bringing out blankets and cups of tea" I just smiled. It's like yes. That's Britain for you. Tea solves everything. ... Coordinated terrorist attack on the transport network bringing the city to a grinding halt? Tea dammit!"

I'm an American Red Cross volunteer. One of the things I do is give presentations on emergency preparedness as part of our chapter's Community Outreach program. And, yes, I have a few bags of Earl Grey tea in my Go Bag. Yes, dear Tea! members, tea bags.... in a disaster I'll be lucky to find real boiling water, let alone a proper pot and a tea strainer. But when I do find some decently boiling water, I'll make myself a cup of Earl Grey and know that things are starting to return to normal.

May 24, 2009, 6:51 pm

Karen, I love your tea disaster comments! About a year ago, an ice storm left us without power and freezing for more than a week...I told myself at the time (and hopefully haven't failed to do so) that I would NEVER take a hot cuppa for granted again ... along with working light bulbs and sitting on the bathroom porcelain without flinching!

May 29, 2009, 10:15 pm

Gmathis (57), it's amazing how simple pleasures can relieve the stress of a difficult situation. I think I'll add a small book of poetry to my Go Bag.

Next April, in addition to "Poem in Your Pocket" Day, I'll advocate for a book of verse in every Go Bag! Can't you just picture a shelter full of people reading poems to one another? (Yes, I helped our chapter's Mental Health staff pack boxes of supplies for sheltering... and they included books for children!)

Jun 3, 2009, 9:26 am

The first bowl sleekly moistened throat and lips.The second banished all my loneliness.The third expelled the dullness from my mind, sharpening inspiration gained from all the books I've read.The fourth brought forth light perspiration, dispersing a lifetimes troubles through my pores.The fifth bowl cleansed every atom of my being.The sixth has made me kin to the Immortals.The seventh...I can take no more.

Lu Tung,Chinese Poet

Jun 17, 2009, 11:07 am

Stumbled upon on this page

Peter Dixon

I'd like to be a Teabag

l'd like to be a teabag,
And stay at home all day -
And talk to other teabags
In a teabag sort of way . . .

l'd love to be a teabag;
And lie in a little box -
And never have to wash my face
Or change my dirty socks . . .

l'd like to be a teabag,
An Earl Grey one perhaps,
And doze all day and lie around
With Earl Grey kind of chaps.

l wouldn't have to do a thing,
No homework, jobs or chores -
Comfy in my caddy
Of teabags and their snores.

l wouldn't have to do exams
l needn't tidy rooms,
Or sweep the floor or feed the cat
Or wash up all the spoons.

l wouldn't have to do a thing,
A life of bliss - you see . . .
Except that once in all my life
I`d make a cup of tea!

I'd Like to be a Teabag from I'd Like to be a Teabag and other Poems
BBC Books

Jan 18, 2010, 8:13 am

Rudyard Kipling

from "We and They":

We shoot birds with a gun.
They stick lions with spears.
Their full-dress is un-.
We dress up to Our ears.
They like Their friends for tea.
We like Our friends to stay;
And, after all that, They look upon We
As an utterly ignorant They!

from "I keep six honest serving-men...":

I let them rest from nine till five,
For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,
For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views;
I know a person small-
She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!