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From the Poetry Friday Archives: Tempest


Take trip to Ireland. Read Edna O'Brien. Drink lots of tea. Return home. Think of nothing but tea. Make tea with tea bags. Terrible. Not it. Unable to read Edna O'Brien. Lunch with friend who spent year in Australia drinking tea. Friend says bought teapot after similar tea experience. Friend also recommends English Breakfast. Resolve to purchase teapot. Find two-cup teapot for eight dollars. Bargain. Realize loose tea is key. Milk and sugar cubes, too. Buy loose tea in tin at fancy deli. Have never in life made tea without tea bags. Have never made much tea, period. Cast yearning glance at unresponsive Mr. Coffee. Panic. Australian adventurer unavailable for counsel. Remember not knowing how to bake potatoes. Who knew? Fannie knew. Consult Fannie Farmer Cookbook on tea. Fannie knows. Fannie tells. Love Fannie. Boil fresh water. Warm teapot with boiling water. Pour out. Add big spoon of tea, more water. Strategy involved but do okay. Let pot, tea leaves, water sit. Five minutes later—tea. Breathe sigh of relief. Read Edna O'Brien.

by Susan Thomsen

During this snowy, icy winter, I've re-discovered the habit of afternoon tea, so I dug the prose poem "Tempest" out of the archives. (I ran it here back in 2006.) It was originally printed some years ago in Tea: A Magazine (the only poem I've ever had published!).

For more poems today, see the Poetry Friday roundup at the blog Rasco from RIF. Carol H. Rasco is the CEO of Reading Is Fundamental, "America’s oldest and largest nonprofit children’s and family literacy organization." Carol is a huge supporter of the children's book blogs. Go say howdy, and stay for the poetry.


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Ooh, I love the roundaboutness of this poem! I also love tea... Harney & Sons has a Paris Tea that I absolutely adore. Thanks so much for this "Tempest."

Thanks, Irene! I haven't had the Paris Tea, but will look for it. I used to LOVE Typhoo (loose tea), but can't find it easily. Recently I bought English Breakfast from Fairway (the NYC market that has a branch out here in CT), and really like it. Lots of taste.

Yum! Your poem is just my cup of tea. :)

Tempest made me smile with the tea and novel and cookbook reading, the trials and errors, and, yes, of course, the tea.

Irene's is the second mention of that Paris tea. I'm going to look for it, too. I agree afternoon tea is a good way to deal with ice that seems as if it may never melt. And I love the shiny blue teapot a dear friend gave to me when she was divesting before leaving the country (thank goodness she blogs...)

SHRIEK! I read that and didn't realize that was YOUR poem for a second.

Fannie Farmer really and truly has the answers to life, does she not?? Pie crust! Sponge cake! Angel food! All the things you're "supposed" to know how to make... and never learned...

I love the poem.

Jama, and some scones would be delightful, too, don't you think?

Jeannine, I still have the teapot I used at the time I wrote this poem! It came from a crazy store called Surprise, Surprise, which used to be on 3rd Ave. in NYC. Sort of a half-step up from a dollar store, with a little bit of everything.

Tanita, YES, Fannie tells everything you're supposed to know! I made jam with Fannie just last summer.

I have a six-cup pot, but it's teacups, not measuring cups. It isn't fancy. I find the fancy ones are harder to wash--and the spout drips. It's a ritual comfort.

A ritual comfort--yes, absolutely! I have a little collection of teapots; I should have taken a picture. I look for interesting ones in thrift shops.

Tea for me, too! I like Harney & Sons Queen Catherine, and Republic of Tea All Day Breakfast. I make tea by the cup with my trusty but permanently-stained infuser. And lucky me -- hubby made chocolate chip scones for a Valentine treat, so I had a scone with my tea this morning!

What a wonderful poem! I love that a tea magazine published it! What fun! I just got my first copy of Fannie Farmer, now that I am a confirmed New England resident. I too can have all the answers. (Oooo....and must check out Paris tea! Sounds fabulous!)

Chocolate chip scones? Now that is the way to start a Sunday morning!

Carlie, Fannie is the best! My copy is practically falling apart. I use the pancake recipe all the time and add chocolate chips. (I see a theme here...) I believe they're called griddle cakes in the book.

I'm in southwestern Connecticut, kind of a hybrid of NYC suburb and New England. It's definitely Yankees territory, although there are some Red Sox fans around. Red Sox loyalty, to me, is a sign of true New England!

Amazing blog I like it !!

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