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POEM: Tea Ceremony Hurts Yours Legs

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Tea Ceremony Hurts Yours Legs

at 17, I studied the ancient art of tea ceremony
with my final host-mother
and a teacher who seemed middle-aged
but may have been just slightly older than I am now
I’m not sure about the sensei,
but one thing I do know is
tea ceremony hurts your legs
the insidious thing is that you
don’t even notice it at first
you’re too focused on
placing the bowl just so
the ladle along the crook
between your thumb and index finger
the sugary snacks on a piece
of pristine rice paper
floating above the tatami floor
after a while, it feels like
you yourself are suspended
above the floor, just slightly
is this enlightenment?
did I, at 17, achieve satori?
wait till my parents hear about this!
and it’s then, as you leap up
to spread the word
that you realize your mistake
and pitch face-down onto the mat
spilling your carefully whipped green foam
and crushing the delicate wooden ladle

Published in Audio Poems Japan My poems Poetry Travel


  1. Taneen Taneen

    Ocha hurt my back too…my ocha sensei, wee hunched over little obachan, used to whack us with her cane when we disappointed her by slouching and other shortcomings. Natsukashiii!

    • Wow — that’s much more hardcore than my sensei. Suddenly, a little numbness doesn’t sound so bad!

  2. Susan D'Entremotn Susan D'Entremotn

    Hate to break it to you, Jason, but someone who is a little older than you are now (e.g. me) IS middle-aged.

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