Treasure Island

Mariam de Haan

(04 October 1993 / Pemba, Tanzania)

A Cup Of Tea

That fusion of spices
Lemon grass, what I know as mchaichai
And ginger.
Makes me travel,
To a land far away
Across mountains and seas.

To a land
Where the soil is brown,
Like milk chocolate,
And the beaches white.
Where the people smile not frown.
Stretched out savannah
With animals of all colour,
And a mountain that peaks over Africa
Topped with glittering glaciers.

But as those spices
Bubble in my teacup,
I don't see tourist attractions.

Instead I sit
At a crooked wooden table
With my knees to the side,
Glancing at a grassy roundabout
That you made oval,
In a kitchen
Still undone,
With eyes barely open
After being, shocked awake.

And I hear the birds
Whistling wisdom.
I hear voices,
As one looks for their schoolbag,
Another runs to brush their teeth,
Papa starts his motorcycle
A woman enters to sell bananas
Mama walks through the garden
Planting this,
Pulling that,
As I sit sipping tea
With lemongrass and ginger

Until the tea is gone.

Then it all fades.
The voices and the chaos.
The roundabout which's oval.
The kitchen undone.
I return to my longing
To be back
In a land,
That I call home.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Edited: Wednesday, December 12, 2012

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

One day I found lemongrass in the supermarket, I can't describe my joy at having seen it. It's my favourite spice to put in my tea, along with ginger. So the next morning I had a cup of tea with the spices, just like I did at Tanzania. I was brought home. It's funny how one small thing (or two things in this case) can bring you such happiness. Sure, it was shortlived happiness but it was pure.

Comments about this poem (A Cup Of Tea by Mariam de Haan )

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  • Francesca Johnson (12/4/2012 2:56:00 PM)

    Oh how this poem made me long for a cup of tea. I haven't drank it for 55 years (as I prefer coffee) but the poem made me thirsty. Please write more, Mariam. Lovely stuff.
    Thank you.
    Fran x (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

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