Friday, August 24, 2007

Poetry Friday - Tea

I love all things related to tea. Even though I did not have a tea set as a child and therefore, did not throw tea parties, the thought of this one makes me smile. Tudor Jenks has described the very party I might have thrown.
Small and Early
by Tudor Jenks

When Dorothy and I took tea, we sat upon the floor;
No matter how much tea I drank, she always gave me more;
Our table was the scarlet box in which her tea-set came;
Our guests, an armless one-eyed doll, a wooden horse gone lame.
She poured out nothing, very fast,—the tea-pot tipped on high,—
And in the bowl found sugar lumps unseen by my dull eye.
She added rich (pretended) cream—it seemed a wilful waste,
For though she overflowed the cup, it did not change the taste.
She asked, “Take milk?” or “Sugar?” and though I answered, “No,”
She put them in, and told me that I “must take it so!”
She ’d say “Another cup, Papa?” and I, “No, thank you, Ma’am,”
But then I had to take it—her courtesy was sham.
Still, being neither green, nor black, nor English-breakfast tea,
It did not give her guests the “nerves”—whatever those may be.
Though often I upset my cup, she only minded when
I would mistake the empty cups for those she ’d filled again.
She tasted my cup gingerly, for fear I ’d burn my tongue;
Indeed, she really hurt my pride—she made me feel so young.
I must have drunk some two score cups, and Dorothy sixteen,
Allowing only needful time to pour them, in between.
We stirred with massive pewter spoons, and sipped in courtly ease,
With all the ceremony of the stately Japanese.
At length she put the cups away. “Goodnight, Papa,” she said;
And I went to a real tea, and Dorothy to bed.

This poem comes from An American Anthology.
John Mutford is hosting the round up this week is at The Book Mine Set. Please stop by and check out all the great posts. Happy poetry Friday, all!


  1. I love it when she says he "must take it so". Shatters the dainty image for just a second- but man, is it accurate!

  2. Tricia,

    If you love all things related to might want to check out a book of poems written by Eileen Spinelli entitled TEA PARTY TODAY: POEMS TO SIP AND SAVOR. At the bottom of nearly every page in the book, Spinelli even includes a "teatime tip."

    Have a great weekend!

  3. Thanks, Elaine! I'll definitely look for this one.

  4. Would you also like to add this post to our Weekend Wordsmith prompt on "tea"? It would be perfect.

    Thanks, I enjoyed having tea with Dorothy and Papa.

  5. You've been added to the list! We few who have been adding comments to Weekend Wordsmith have given ourselves permission to write about ANY word at ANY time, so you may still do any word you like. This week it's SEUSS. I do believe you've probably heard the name ... lol.

    Words so far:


    And I'd be willing to bet you'll see the pattern. Um-huh. It will take us half a year to use all the words I've already chosen. Please feel free to write (or find an earlier post) about any of these. Your readers are also welcome.

  6. This reminds me greatly of my little sister; interminable games of 'ice cream parlor' have replaced 'tea,' now, but it's the same - we "MUST" have sprinkles and chocolate chips on our imaginary ice cream... Good time.