‘The way of tea’, the Japanese art of tea ceremony. In chadō tea is not steeped in a pot. The boiling water is ladled directly into the bowl and whisked together with the powdered green tea.

heavenly tea
With acknowledgements for use of this image to: 

if you
came just
as the water
came to the
boil in the
iron kettle
on the brazier,
the flame
woven like silks
of Nara* over
the burning
the sparks
a billowing
dance of
in a going
if you leaned
forward to ladle
the spring water
glistening with
air within into
the bowl
glazed like a
morning leaf,
though you
came only
those minutes
to ladle steaming
water, yet in time
we would know
each other, and
i would ask you
to stay in this
simple house.

if you came
just as the tea
had been whisked
to a froth of bitter
luminous green like
the lawn that
once bedewed your
childish ankles,
if you came to kneel
to receive my offering
in a crazed bowl the
sun had first served
to the earth , if
only for a minute
to drink and be
refreshed in the
taste of weathers
twined in leaf
and leave again
as you drew
the sliding panels
shut, though we
shared no words
yet in time we
would know
each other and
i would ask you
to stay in this
simple house

if you came only
when all the tools
for tea had been
put away
and this room
was quiet in the
one flute note of
moon through its
opened walls,
the tatami* wide as
a field of straw
in fragrance and
warm as summer
under the
our years
would make,
though we spoke
only in sighs
yet we would
know each other
and each
dawn onward
enfold us in
ash and embers of
tea ceremony

may 2019
te wai mokoia

*Nara was established as Japan’s first permanent capital in 710 and remained as such until the capital was moved to Kyoto in 794. The town was modelled after the capital of the Chinese Tang dynasty, Chang’an, and was seen as the last stop eastward on the Silk Road. I was able to see the remnant silk brocades on display in 1993 at the Nara National Museum on the grounds of Todaiji temple.

*Tatami: A type of mat used as a flooring material in traditional Japanese-style rooms, and traditionally made using rice straw as its core.

Acknowledgements to the Shakuhachi master, Miyata Kohachiro , for use of this recording. 

Copyright © 2019 Peter Le Baige.  All Rights Reserved

2 thoughts on “chadō”

  1. Beautiful… and read so wonderfully. Thanks for putting so much care into the reading. I want to listen to it over and over.


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