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Midnight Tea

by Nancy Clark
My cup has cooled. The steaming tea I've sipped

This midnight hour--'twas meant to chase away

A frightening dream--is now deplete and tepid;

Just one swirl of tender green remains.

But, oh, the moments past, still comfort fresh

And counted by the ticking mantle clock,

I warmed my fingers, prayer-like, round the cup

And let the first hot taste break threshold--then

In bursts of calm, each sip came tingling down

My throat like hosts of microscopic bells,

And spread like sunlight cut through heavy clouds.

The moon, at full, gleams white and hard tonight,

While I, full-mellowed, couched in shadow, sense

The god of tea wisdom, kind minister,

Released from well-steeped leaves and fragrant vapors,

Drifting round my head, and soon I have

Forgotten moonlight, ticking, and my dream.

Inside my falling eyelids soon I see

Soft images of hands--all pouring tea.

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Copyright © 2002 by Nancy Clark. All rights reserved.