American Life in Poetry: Column 083

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Poems of simple pleasure, poems of quiet celebration, well, they aren’t anything like those poems we were asked to wrestle with in high school, our teachers insisting that we get a headlock on THE MEANING. This one by Dale Ritterbusch of Wisconsin is more my cup of tea.

Green Tea

There is this tea
I have sometimes,
Pan Long Ying Hao,
so tightly curled
it looks like tiny roots
gnarled, a greenish-gray.
When it steeps, it opens
the way you woke this morning,
stretching, your hands behind
your head, back arched,
toes pointing, a smile steeped
in ceremony, a celebration,
the reaching of your arms.


We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Reprinted from Far From the Temple of Heaven, Black Moss Press, April 2006, by permission of the author. Copyright © 2005 by Dale Ritterbusch. Introduction copyright © 2016 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.