By Hanan Issa
Read by Charlotte Delima
The cup is the first step.
A delicate teacup suggests high teas, decorated by lace napkins,
and pale gloved fingers
that reach for neatly cut sandwiches,
while the talk slices up an Empire.
A mug of cha to calm the nerves in a crisis is a match’s half-time helping,
that synchronizes switches across the country. But are the builders enjoying their brew aware of the painful past
contained in its dried leaves?
A politely hidden history that traded tea for the poppy. Or that, once in Boston, pouring tea into water stood
for discarding colonial control.
A sorrow infused over time,
seeping bitterness into boiled water.
Although, when mixed with mint,
jasmine, star anise, or cinnamon,
the taste of history is steeped in the present:
a place we all try to infuse with the taste of us. Meticulous ceremonies that celebrate friendship:
“Gentle as life, strong as love, bitter as death.” Chai is poured from on high,
spilling along the Silk Road to Tescos. Merging bitter matcha with sweet shai, soaking into bara brith raisins overnight. Cultures and languages permeate life, weaving through our flow of experience, iridescent in the chaos.
Directed by Matthew Thompson.
"Tea" was first published in The Road to Clevedon Pier, Hedgehog Press, 2018.