by Douglas Gilbert

Climbing away to a mist beyond foliage
where leaves leave peaks alone
naked at the top
no tea leaves to read

Wandering up
lost from you, climbing
away to a mist, I had hoped
something would
move me like you did a day
looking up, window listening
to true katydids play forelegs
at tops of oak trees, when I
seemed home, as if from the kitchen
you were coming to a boil with
true approval and encouragement tea.

Mountain climbing where
leaves leave peaks, I had hoped
to let spirits of you sanctify
meanders in the cold with gracious thoughts,
those hot dreams of you that infuse the stew
I carry in my backpack, mostly filled with
drudge stuff, but your precious memorandear
was tucked into the rear pocket made for
precious notes like gems amen, something
to hold for incantations against pebbles
in the shoes and grace for stumble stones
that haunt the winding up mountain path

Broken trees below the snow line
broken hearts above
misty mountain hawks
splintered memories clawing

Blue skies and fluff at the mountain top.
In a cloud I saw your face, a
tea cup and a dove, but

I heard myself scream and
saw the grief of my breath
form wispy puffs that fly away

But those sorrows are not of you,
though you do embrace every sparrow,
and when you’d not know
the name of the bird, you’d
christen it cute and lovely like you are

Winding down
there are birds in the sky
and no stumble stones, but
only the scent of tea up my nose
the feel of a memorandear in my pocket
There is sweetness to the air
your valley is near,
could be I’ll stumble
by your house to leave a note
or ring where I learned that
fresh tea is sweet when brewed
for an occasion where eyes meet

and blinks become flutters
a stuttered word divine, because
what would be affirmed in the steep
is the scent of wafting play where
seeping things flow out into
the rivers in two cups
fragrant with cinnamon
and swirly with a word
whispered in the mists
before silence goes to bed

I’ve seen it in a memo.

Ding dong.


5 thoughts on “Tea

  1. Sooo beautiful. Your words dance exquisitely. I’ve always thought the ending was exciting…almost like a cliff hanger. What happens after the ding dong?

    1. Thanks. I’m not sure I even remember how I wrote in that style. I think it involved fantasizing with a rhyming dictionary as consultant, and I only reached the door in the fantasy and “woke” up. Nowadays i seem to do things differently with a lazy pen, but it has no magic ink — I have to remember where I bought the magic ink. It must have been in an antique shop in Nepal or maybe in Cleavage Ohio; they have an interesting little pun shop on Main street.

  2. If i come across any magic ink in my travels ill be sure to get it for you. Although I have a feeling that YOU are the magic and the ink just transfers it to paper…

    1. Yeah I suppose, but I need to believe in a placebo ink that’s certified to work. I remember as a kid I wanted to do the invisible ink trick that I heard about. I had to fight to be allowed to it very carefully. You write with lemon juice on paper and let it dry. When it dries you don’t see anything and then if you carefully heat it, the letters you wrote turn brown. But of course, it is a fire hazard. I thought it was exciting, but when it was done, everyone said, “So what? It’s nothing. Why bother?” I think I saw it on a TV show about Robin Hood. A monk was sending him a secret message that he didn’t want the Sheriff of Nottingham to see. I think he wrote an innocent message between the lines in regular ink for the Sheriff to read. When Robin got it he heated it to get the real message.

  3. I would’ve been excited about that too. That’s really cool. I used to have these invisible markers. You’d write with one and then when you colored over the invisible ink with a different marker it would reveal the words. Special stuff. I didn’t really have many secrets back then though…

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