Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tea on Thursday 18 : Chinese Tea Poetry

"Garden Party" tag inspired by a poem by Wang Wei. 
It would have been  a delight to sip tea in the garden, but ...
Softly closing the chamber door,
 Alone I await you in the empty room. 
You never came. 
Disappointed, I drink solitary tea.       - Wang Wei: An Occasional Poem

During the last year, I have been reading a lot about tea, and especially poetry inspired by tea.
This little verse by Wang Wei is amongst my favourites. However, the most well known tea poem of the same period in Chinese history was written by Lu Tong , a hermit, who was so moved by a gift of tea that he wrote :
The first cup kisses away my thirst,
and my loneliness is quelled by the second, 
The third gives insight worthy of ancient scrolls, 
and the fourth exiles my troubles, 
My body becomes lighter with the fifth,
and the sixth sends word from the immortals,
But the seventh - of the seventh cup - 
If I drink you, a wind will hurry my wings toward the sacred island . 
—Lu Tong (795835 A.D.) (trans. Christopher Nelson*) 

Did he drink the seventh cup?