Chashitsu – Kathryn Alderman


*Japanese Tea Room

The grown-ups will talk in long whispers today
and I must play with Little Green Geisha.
Aunty M switches on the chashitsu lamp
and slips next door with two steaming cups.

Green Geisha folds her camellia parasol and bows.
She lays out rice straw mats,
draws back paper shoji panels and enters
the tiny house. Her shadow gathers tea flowers,
heats water over fired charcoal
and warms the flowers to bloom.

She brings me a tea bowl painted with owls.
I bow, take it with the right hand,
cup it with the left and twist it two quarter turns
to the right; this is the Way of Tea.

Green Geisha kneels back to watch me sip at the rim;
the amber mist, a drift of jasmine on the tongue.

Next door, two silhouettes framed in the shoji’s glow;
the glint of spoons on china,
murmurs, now just beyond hearing.

The proverb on the chashitsu scroll says –
the speaker may be a fool but the listener is wise.
Green Geisha’s eyes narrow and crease,
she presses a finger to her lips.


Kathryn Alderman was an actor before starting a family. She won Cannon Poets’ Sonnet or Not (2012) and is published online and print including: Amaryllis, The Cannon’s Mouth, Eye Flash Poetry Journal, I Am Not a Silent Poet. She Co-Chairs Gloucestershire Writers’ Network.  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s