the tea of good fortune

for Megan & Guy
i found you luminous on a shelf
over rows of unseasoned woks 
100-year-old eggs, cellophane pungency 
and coriander still wet from the fields 
wrapped in the Chinese Daily. 
an upright turquoise — 
the glaze is still trucked from Wuhan 
to Jingdezhen, city of porcelain
(tho your base is stamped 
Factory 21 Shanghai, your lineage 
is the alchemists of the Tang Dynasty).

collared with a sunny yellow 
(a grander pot would be gilded)
it’s here the potter hurried
the colour has run a little 
is thin in spots — but for 15 dollars

               you are a bargain
a Peoples’ Republic spout 
and a handle that meets my grip
like the handshake of a stranger
i met drinking at an oasis.

the heft of faithfulness
keeps tea warm enough 
for a person drinking alone 
large enough for one 
who has dreamed of tea
while walking in the desert 
until there was nothing else.  

inscribed with calligrams for
long life, water, home 
and sunny days — 
and a lotus referencing 
the Buddha’s liberation from 
the cycle of rebirth, truly

               i am blessed —
by your tannic volume 
my plain old Tetley’s 
is transmuted daily 
into this tea of good fortune.

Image: the Chinese ideogram for ‘tea’ – Tetley is a brand of tea. A piece for two friends who, on a whim, gave me a teapot from their cupboard, which is sitting next to me as I write.

And for music, here’s a joyful rendition of Terry Riley’s In C – by Africa Express (YouTubers there’s a fab video of traffic in Bamako, Mali to accompany)

2 thoughts on “the tea of good fortune

  1. What a lovely gift. There’s something timeless about tea from a pot. I have a lovely Yixing (brown clay) pot that I bought in Hong Kong many years ago. I sometimes think that pot is magical.

    Like

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