The Poetry of Tea

I can’t honestly say that I’ve never written a poem about tea and I have a feeling that I probably never will. But I can see how it could happen. Every once in a while a tea comes along that’s sufficiently amazing that it could conceivably inspire a few lines of verse. And for that matter the whole of tea and tea culture is a worthy subject for at least a poem or two.

If you guessed that tea’s merits have already been celebrated a time or two or more in the form of verse, then you’d be absolutely right. The poetry columnist for The Observer, a British paper, recently took a look at this topic, in a review of Ten Poems About Tea – “a mini-anthology” on the topic which is available from The Observer’s online bookshop.

Among the luminaries whose tea-inspired verse makes it into this modest volume are Thomas Hardy, with a work called “At Tea.” Most of the other poets whose work turns up here are not as well-known but if you’re looking for poetry about tea it’s obviously not a bad place to start.

Yorkshire Gold Tea
Yorkshire Gold Tea

Over at the Yorkshire Tea blog not so long ago they posted a piece of verse from a reader (and Yorkshire Tea enthusiast) that begins “Shall I compare thee to any other TEA.” Okay, so it ain’t quite at the level of old Will Shakespeare but you take what you can get. If that’s not quite enough tea poetry for you or if you’re looking for something perhaps a bit more timeless, take a look at this collection of tea-related poetry. It also contains links to even more tea poems. It’s a fairly extensive collection and a great place to get started.

And while it strays just a bit from the topic at hand, how about a classic story from a classic author of horror and mystery. It’s a tale in which green tea is portrayed as a substance that wreaks all manner of unrest and difficulties and which includes a very bad monkey that may or may not be real. That would be Green Tea, by the Irish writer Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and you can read the electronic version for free, at Project Gutenberg.

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