Tea Leave

In tepid drink devoid of taste,
the third today I’ll lay to waste
A ring of tannin has foretold
I’ll not sup tea as I grow old.

In small white cups you fill with brown,
Beneath the rim, and halfway down,
Lurk furtive creatures made of burp,
That bite the lips of those who slurp.

So pour it out and wash the cup
But fetch no more, I’ve given up:
A ring of tannin has foretold
I’ll not sup tea as I grow old.

Sunday

Cards, did you ever stand? Or was my brilliant house of hearts,

young fumbling fingers darting in to rebuild broken parts,

a childish and imagined thing dreamed up by chilly rooms?

Do you recall the way we played on Sunday afternoons?

.

In our separate world were marbles, and a box of dominoes,

each indent to be thumbed, the numbers nought to six in rows,

each globe a tiny planet trapped, in subtle colour rolled,

all added up when I was very young and they were old.

.

And when they called me in at last, I boxed and bagged my friends,

to leave disgruntled kings and queens and keepsies in the end.

One hand still cupped around a shell in which I hear the sea,

I peer through dust of lemon cake washed down with grown-up tea.

Cake

Let’s do it while the early light is pale and cold,

when our soft and slippered feet still ache with sleep,

before the awesome day grows in its wisdom, old,

and we no longer can each other’s company keep,

I’ll go down stairs and turn the oven hot and high,

mix sweet with cocoa, rich with buttered love,

you follow, rubbing sleep from night time eyes,

drawn by morning’s promise from the room above,

we’ll sit together with our cups of steaming tea,

til when we feel the waiting world can’t do us harm,

with half a chocolate cake for you, and half for me,

a slice of happiness to keep us safe and warm.

Cake and eat it!

This weekend in the perfect weather
we went to a boot sale all together
the stalls were selling standard fare
from books to jam to things to wear

We bought some clothes for a few pounds
and spent some time just wandering round
then when it got to half past three
we were tempted inside by thoughts of tea

St Anne’s in Arscott is a church
so pews are the only place to perch
As we were sitting with our cups
our twelve year old came wandering up

He looked concerned and ate a scone (pronounced sconn)
and then he ate another one
the question that he asked us next
revealed just why he seemed perplexed

Dear parents (he can be quite formal)
I’ve discovered something quite abnormal
Tell me why do grandmas make great cakes
when no-one under sixty bakes?

We scratched our heads and drank our tea
it seemed we had no answers see.
Will our dislike of messy flour
or too much supermarket power
or evolution or education
leave us soon a cakeless nation?

(answers on a prayer book)