World Poetry Day

Poetry is the language of artists, advertisers, music lyricists, lovers, writers and tea drinkers. Poetry is an internationally recognized writing style that has been around for centuries. I am honoring the art of poetry, and drawing attention to World Poetry Day. It ironically, is in early spring this year, on March 21, 2021. Which happens to coincide with the awakening of tea plants, first flushes, and the first cuppings of the new spring teas. Writing poetry about spring and the new teas it brings, can be a creative way to put on paper what is in the heart, and on the tongue regarding tea. 

Poetry (A Word Is But A Word) 

A word is but a word singularly. Put the words together, add a rhythm, a pattern, a flow to the words, a reflective observation, a feeling or emotion, and you have poetry. Webster’s Dictionary defines poetry as: “literary work...with special intensity given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm.” Poetry is a form of emotive writing. Emotions expressed in poetry can be a connection point between a writer and the reader. 

The history of poems can be traced back to Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt. These earlier poems were often sung, or incorporated into drama, or comedy. These earliest forms of poetry were possibly used to pass down oral stories. 

There are approximately fifteen types of poetry. Several of the more common forms of poetry include; rhymed poetry, epics, narrative verse, pastoral poetry, haiku, and sonnet poetry. Some classic examples of poetry include; The Illiad an epic poem by Homer, Shakespeare’s sonnets, and nursery rhymes. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, is an example of a narrative style poem. Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken is an example of a pastoral poetry. 

Poetry uses numerous literary devices to convey, and emphasize meaning and emotions to the reader. Traditionally, poems are meant to be read aloud. In doing so, the reader can hear the meter, alliteration, rhyme, and assonance of the poem. These forms of writing give a musical, lyrical effect to the poem. A meter in a poem Is the basic number of syllables in a line of poetry. Or, the structure of a line of poetry within the poem. Assonance can be defined as using repeated vowel sounds in the poem. Alliteration in a sentence or written material incorporates the repeated consonant sound. All of these examples aid in emphasizing, and the conveyance of emotion. 

Why Teach Poetry? 

I asked two teachers, who teach at opposite ends of the learning spectrum, why is it important to teach poetry in school? Poetry can be difficult to read, and understand. I remember my high school and college English classes. I would frequently cringe at the thought of having to read, analyze, and write about poetry. I would break out in a cold sweat if I had to write a poem for a class! 

Maryjane is a preschool teacher. Her answer regarding why teach nursery poems and rhyming words to preschool students, was straight to the point. She stated that “Learning poetry helps preschoolers develop their memory and brain power through nursery rhymes and songs. It encourages children to build their vocabulary, and helps them read later on.” Melissa was a high school Honors English teacher. Her explanation for why poems are taught in high school was multi layered. “Poetry is a form of expression students can hear the intended emotions, especially when read aloud well. It (poetry) is a way for a student to explore their emotions in a different and calculated way, when writing their own poetry. For example, they have to pay attention to word choice and punctuation, because those things are what makes the reading of it capture the attention of the audience,” Melissa explained. She also stated that poetry “increases vocabulary, and produces empathy for the author.” Lastly Melissa explained that “poetry is a way students can understand literary devices. Reading and studying poetry leads to thinking and interpreting what was just read, unlike reading fiction.” 

Examples of Poetry 

Here are several examples of poetry centered around the theme of tea. 

Cook, cook, 
Drink your tea 
But save some in the pot for me…… 
–Unknown 

Still On The Green 

Breakfast time with tea 
Off the golf course, it’s just me 
Solitude to see. 
–Leslie 

Stands the church clock at ten to three? 
And is there honey for the tea? 
–Rupert Brooke 

Teapot is on, the cups are waiting, 
Favorite chairs anticipating, 
No matter what I have to do, 
My friend, 
There’s always time for you. 
–Unknown 

We had a kettle, we let it leak; 
Our not repairing made it worse. 
We haven’t had any tea for a week…… 
The bottom is out of the Universe. 
–Rudyard Kipling

Tea Time 

My hot Earl Grey tea 
Is better with some honey 
Little splash of milk. 
–Sarah D. 

A Monk Sips Morning Tea 

A monk sips morning tea, 
It’s quiet, 
The chrysanthemum’s flowering. 
–Basho 

Writing Poetry 

Writing poetry is, evidently, a form of putting emotions to paper, similar to writing in a journal. But, poetry, unlike journal writing, is meant to be shared and read aloud. Poetry can be exceedingly lengthy, an example would be the Illiad. Poetry can also be extremely short, an example would be a three lined haiku. 

My challenge to you, the reader of this blog is to try your hand at writing poetry. Write about your love of tea! Write about your frustration at whisking Matcha. Write about the joy in finding the perfect blend of tea. During International Poetry Day, make a cup of tea, and write about it! 

You too can write a poem! You can do it! 

Leslie 

References: 

Collins, Billy. Poetry, Different Types of Poems, and Poetic Devices With Examples. Masterclass, November 8, 2020.


About the Author

Leslie Sundberg is a World Tea Academy Certified Tea Specialist, a World Tea Academy Apprentice Tea Sommelier, a Specialty Tea Institute Level IV trained Tea Specialist, and a Tea and Business Etiquette Specialist. On any given day, Leslie can be found teaching, speaking or sharing in the joys of a cup of tea.  No matter what Leslie is doing or where she is, one thing remains constant: 4:00 in the afternoon is tea time!

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