Life Musings 哲学 / Poetry 詩

Tea Party

I wrote this poem during my high school days when I was in my third depression, and when I found what an incredible healing tool writing could be. The 14th stanza (I’ve put it in bold.) has become a mantra for me when life splits at the seams.

(Woab! I just had a metacognition flash typing that paragraph: The act of finding something beautiful in a terrible time reflects the poem’s message itself. I found writing in my depression. [Oh, the isometric beauty!])

Of course, I’ve updated the poem a bit, and am offering it in hopes that it might be a source of solace for whatever life personal plagues you with while COVID-19 plagues our world.

Tea Party 
Once there were three maidens,
Ms. Barty, Ms. Harty, and Ms. Higgins,
Who were all very close friends.
They had all suffered through hardships greatly
And wished with life to make amends

On a bright spring day,
With the sun and shadow mingled 
under the lilac tree,
There, our ladies three made their way
To drink their afternoon tea
At Ms. Barty’s tea party

Their troubles they poured into one another,
As they poured out the tea,
And set the china on lacy doilies fanning splendidly.
There they sat and sipped reverently.

As the maidens sat abreast
Ms. Barty noticed that her guests
 new possessions had obtained 
“Such lovely-fine things,
What a gorgeous necklace you possess, Ms. Harty!
And, Ms. Higgins, what a glorious ring!”

For around Ms. Harty’s neck, 
a string of pearls did rest
With such a hue with light a-dancing, 
Such luster a-prancing
 across the gleaming pearls

And on Ms. Higgin’s finger 
A golden ring did linger
With gems sparkling like stars plucked from the night
Who forgot to sleep their light 
When the morning dawn did bright 

Such beauty were the treasures 
For Ms. Barty’s eyes to take pleasure 
That for a time she took and leisured
Upon the interest that seized her
Until remember her trouble did she do

“I too have something new for you,” said, Ms. Barty
Although, please you mine, it’s not so fine 
But dim our sorrows might it do
At least until tomorrow 
For now, these hours let us borrow,
And perhaps peace for us may follow.”

From her purse, she took a bottle 
Filled with scarlet wine. 
She filled the empty china cups, 
And peace they did find for a time

While Ms. Barty sat a-thinking
Staring at her friends new wealth,
 And swirling the wine in her cup,
 a notion pierce her heart.
Such a notion that gripped her attention
That she could not drown it with the wine 
And so ruminating with the time
Formed in her mind a revelation
And on this contemplation
 her soul did sup

She placed back the china cup
On the fanning doilies
And turned to the maidens did she,
The maidens under the swaying lilac tree

“Friends, we have suffered greatly,
Our hearts broken often and lately, 
But take this thought not lightly
For it troubles me more than all the others,
And I must know what it means to you, my sisters.

What if sorrow and pain are like wine? 
Their value becoming good over time
Although horribly bitter to go through,
Adds richness to life once been brewed.

Their drinks they did forsake 
As they let this ruminate,
The maidens three
Under the swaying lilac tree

“An interesting point you make,” said Ms. Higgins,
“Although I’m not quite sure what you mean.
Are you sure it’s not the wine talking 
And rightly, you are not thinking?
What is good about sorrow and pain? 
Surely, you do not wish to experience them again?"

“No. I have suffered tragedy plenty.
Dearest friends, just try to see
Even though the idea does seem strange
But, me, the drink has not deranged
I only mean that perhaps sorrow
Cannot be understood until tomorrow.
Just like wine is not good when first made.
Time must pass before it can be an accolade.

Or like the lilac tree,
In the shade that guards us three.
When it must be pruned,
Damage must be ensued,
So that the next season it will flourish
And bloom and joy bring for us.”

“Or like the oyster when the pearl
 is in the making?” said Ms. Harry in a whirl,
Tossing her curls and clutching her pearls.

“Exactly, my dear friend,” said Ms. Barty
“Do you see too, Ms. Higgins?” 

Higgins fiddled with her ring as she thought
And upon the ring the epiphany was draught 
“Like when gold in fire is refining?”said, Ms. Higgins
Glancing at the gleaming band.
“Or how gems cannot form without stress? 
But surely, you do not mean our troubles, we are to bless?!” 

“Of course not,” said Ms. Barty
Our hearts do and will hurt from breaking,
But if I keep in mind that in the process
There are not only losses.
That while life is painstaking
There may be redemption for the taking 
If I we seek the treasures inside the ventures.

Put away the wine they did 
And brewed another round of tea
Seeing that it was heat that made the treat. 
They poured back through their memories 
As they relieved times of old, 
finding portions of suffering now turned to gold.

And so they had a wonderful time
Life had been turned to wine
At Ms. Barty’s tea party
The three maiden-girls
Now marveled at their new pearls
Valuing the sanctity Of life’s bitter-sweet,
Laughing at the serendipity
Did the maidens all a-three
Under the swaying lilac tree.
My son crashed my photo shoot for this blog post. I was frustrated, but couldn’t turn down his request for a tea party and am so glad I didn’t for we had a marvelous time and he finally tried the butterfly pea tea! He says he prefers the blue butterfly “pee” to the pink kind. 

What is a quote and or mantra that helps you when life is difficult?

Total post: 36


2020-04-08 at 1:42 pm


How beautiful poem! Thank you.

I wish that you are all right. We are happily and now we have been under lockdown 4 weeks.

Stay safe and healthy!

    2020-04-08 at 2:33 pm

    Thank you! Your encouragement is appreciated. Please stay safe and have healthy quarantine. Interesting thought: We are living through something our children will study about in their history books.

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