The Apple Tree

In the Winter, branches bare, the unkind wind bends twigs around;

As it slaps the slackened halyards of the Cutty Sark aground

Against the mizzen mast; just as the pennants flutter,

So do the remnant leaves of twisted brown their breezesong utter.

At the passing of the frost, those scraps too are lost,

While the first upward slant of light reveals embossed

The swelling buds of fruitful promise; as coiled ropes

Foretell a journey yet to yield the merchant’s hopes.

As the light grows longer, just like the billowing sheets,

So unfurl the hungry leaves; as the stays creak at last,

Shoots of green rise up, blossoms flag to fleets

Of bees, like them the men who swarm upon the mast

To catch the ocean zephyrs, to bring home loot of tea …

So basks the tree in summer sun, growing fruit for me.

© Michael Westcombe, November 2008


The Second Cup

How sweet this brew, unsugared, blended tea,

Infused with my love for you, and yours for me!

So blessed, from rich estates, and Darjeeling,

Expressing so much of us, our mutual feeling.

And as the pungent liquor slowly pours,

I reflect on this love of mine, and of yours.

Our children, like the issue from the spout

Are sometimes here, but much more often, out.

So much survived, and much more shared

Leaves both of us with nerve ends bared;

And this, the gentle ritual, brewing tea

Provides for me, an essential sheltering lea:

Because your welcome presence lifts me up,

I always pour for you, the second cup!

© Michael Westcombe 2012


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