Perfectly Steeped in Its Lore

Robert Finch. “A Cup of Tea” in The Grand Duke of Moscow’s Favourite Solo

This begins with a description of the equipment needed and goes on to muse about labour and climate.


How many gestures till a cup of tea
Is there to drink! The kitchen tap must free
What in the kettle goes, where it must stay
Until it boils. Meanwhile a simple tray
Will come in handy, with a spotless cloth
And napkin, that the whole array be couth.
Next, cup and saucer, most important these,
Since they may make or mar the best of teas,


The hands that pick and dry and pack the leaves,
Oh, the poor pittance that their work receives


There are the gestures, too, of sun, wind, rain,
Their cultivating labours and, again,


The tea is ready. Could more gestures be
Even thinkable? Yes, one more — pour the tea

Sipping tea has rarely been so informed.

And so for day 1942

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