Take the water, flowing
up a tap from the earth –
old aquifer, luscious remnant
of prehistoric streams, refreshed by rain.

Take the teapot – heavy,
curvaceous – a potter’s spin on old clay,
drawing upright the soft mud
into cone then vessel, fired carefully
to stoneware – azure glaze flows
speckling on black; aurora frozen
on night’s round bowl. The cup
as small affirmation.

Take the tea – dried orange peel,
anise, ginseng; African rooibos
and chicory, and mint –
Silk Road treasures,
far-flung fields and groves becoming
Market Spice – the blackened tendrils’
mysterious wanderings
arriving in an ordinary kitchen.

Take a brief block of morning –
sun highlighting the pot and cup;
the kettle, red on a white stove –
take the boiling water
flashing as it fills the pot, the fragrant steam.
Before the tea touches your lips, take a moment
to feel the eons, the miles come together
into your hands – your hands!
Those soft wrinkled cups enfolding
fired clay, holding the steam beneath your nose –
those hands sheened with age, eloquent
of journeys and mornings and years – all of it
coming together.

Posted by kind permission of the author. Tea Break was previously published by Raven Chronicles in May 2016. 

This ode was among more than 100 responses to our invitation to write an ode to an “ordinary thing.” We share it here with delight and gratitude.