Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mulling -- 1. Tea Way

It’s that time again,
and because all this takes time,
best to first brew a cup of tea.

Tea is first a vegetable,
then a medicine,
a meditation,
a poem.

To brew,
first clean the house,
cut the wood,
catch the stream,
lay the fire and light it,
then boil the water.

Set a flower
in a vase,
bowing to its smile.

Sweep the path,
from the gate to the house,
then call a silent invitation:
come, o my soul, come.

Enter in the gate,
follow the path,
your steps leaving no trace,
and enter at the little door.

Join yourself, seated.

Scoop tea into a warmed pot,
then add boiled water,
whisking lightly.

Contemplate as you pour,
meditate as you sip;
drink in the color and scent
of the bending and flowing flower.

First cup blesses thirst;
Second cup melts loneliness;
Third cup reads the book of unfolding;
Fourth cup chases fear out through the pores;
Fifth cup warms and clarifies;
Sixth cup is uplifting;
Seventh cup casts the lifted spirit onto the wind.

Ah, wherever I am,
am I here?

Indeed, it is so,
and that is a poem.

© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

N.B. This is not intended to be apt description of an actual Asian tea ceremony.