Thursday, March 08, 2007
Mona, TEA and POETRY FRIDAY
(GR's kitchen: new tin of Earl Grey, new cup and saucer GR made for himself, and in a household full of teapots, sightly cracked and therefore unsold and kept, purple teapot with a dog on top. )
Mona has asked for my help with poetry Friday, and she knows I deliver (remember last week's emergency shark mug?). So, a word: TEA
I first thought 'companion or companionable' but I am up to the elbows in teaset orders, and tea is a fun word for a number of reasons, and it is a companionable item. Let us consider TEA, because it is not only a liquid, it is also an event.
The word has many uses and meanings when you look around and think about it, The Beverly Hillbillies of my youth started out with a phrase saying '...Texas tea...' in reference to crude oil. There were four gentlemen riding past us last night in a new black BMW with the windows open, and there was an unmistakable odor of tea, an old 60s expression for something smoked, not brewed and sipped. And, as Gromit shows us below, tea is also an event, a part of the day, a break and in the British Isles, somebody might ask 'what's for tea?', as in teatime, which would include not only the drink, but maybe muffins, cookies, a tasty snack.
There is an expression from Keats that is fairly common, although slightly misquoted, it does sound better as 'tea and sympathy'. But what he actually tells us is 'I leaped headlong into the sea, and thereby have become better acquainted with ...the quicksands, and the rocks than if I had stayed upon the green shore...and took tea and comfortable advice'. In the context, he is telling us he has wanted to live life to the fullest, with adventures and risks, rather than sitting in drawing rooms chatting about gossip and trivialities. TS Eliot, from the 'Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock' wonders along the same lines 'should I, after tea and cakes and ices, have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?'. Both men tell us, as modern advertisers also tell us, that tea is for quiet and comfort, slowing down and relaxing. But it is also sociable, as Eliot also tells us in 'Lovesong': 'time for you and time for me....before the taking of toast and tea'.