Saturday, 9 January 2016

Tea and Oranges

I'm going for a minimalist approach this week, in true oriental mode, by posting something simple and elegant..

Kudos to all who spotted that the blog's title derives from 'laughing' Lenny Cohen's song about 'Suzanne' (who "feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China"). I don't want to be pedantic, but the oranges probably came from Japan and were more than likely mandarins or satsumas.

Oranges from Japan became a Christmas tradition in the USA and Canada from the1880s onwards when Japanese immigrants began receiving the fruit as a New Year gift from back home. The mandarins were harvested in November (often after the first snowfall) and were shipped by sea across the Pacific and then by train throughout the continent, so their arrival always presaged the start of the holiday season in North America and became synonymous with Christmas. They eventually came to be standard issue in Christmas stockings in Britain and Europe as well.

The tea probably was Chinese leaf, most likely Keemun (black tea) and may well have been Earl Grey's blend, which, fittingly, derives its distinctive aroma from being flavoured with Oil of Bergamot - itself derived from the peel of the Bergamot orange, grown in Italy. Earl Grey's tea (which happens to be a personal favourite) was also the perfect accompaniment for such recreational activities as chasing smoke-rings and the touching of perfect bodies with minds.

And so to this first new poem of the New Year...

Written In The Leaves?
Black china tea
in blue china bowls,
pure water poured
with ceremony.

Vapours arise,
an essence is perceived
written in the leaves;
senses reel -
an intimation of inconstancy.

Black-fathomed soul?
Blue-eyed intemperance?
Pure thought forbear
such calumny!

By the way, much tea was drunk but no oranges were harmed in the making of this blog.
Thanks for reading. Have a great week, S ;-)