This is my fourth Christmas on Tea Trade, and it’s time for my fifth Christmas post.
They have been amongst my most widely-read posts. A silly poem about tea friends, a rant about Christmas radio, and two last year: the story of my attempts to blackmail Father Christmas and my guide to being the winner of Christmas.
So, I’m feeling the pressure. I’ve set myself up to do poetry again, but this time, I want to write the Ultimate Christmas Tea Poem. The one that gets printed off and hung in tea shops every year at Christmas. The apogee of Christmas Tea Poetry, the star-spangled standard. The one that causes me to get the Nobel Prize for literature, the Pulitzer prize, an Arts Council grant and my own page on Wikipedia.
So, I sit here sipping an excellent Mokabari East Assam pre-dawn, considering the form I’ll use.
Definitely not limerick. And it has to rhyme. Not pretend poetry for those who can’t rhyme, like haiku, which you can knock out in five seconds (e.g. Haiku as poetry, is like ikebana, make boredom an art form).
I could go epic legend-style, full of room for argumentation and interpretation (what exactly were Achilles and Patroclus up to in those quiet moments?), but the chances of someone hanging about a tea shop to read 14,000 stanzas is remote. So here’s the plan:
Five or six stanzas of four lines. Recurring assonance. A lyrical refrain. Gentle humour. A dash of audacity. A smidgen of selfishness. And no religion either way. Just because I’m an atheist doesn’t mean I need to make that point in relation to Christmas, which precedes Christianity anyway and has many, many things to recommend it that don’t involve religion.
Also, it’s got be less annoying than most Christmas songs. That shouldn’t be hard.
So, here goes. Here’s where you get the scissors out, because the next bit goes up on that wall. Framed would be nice.
Just Give Me Some Tea
It’s a fashionable Christmas wish,
Peace for all Humanity,
But is that really what I actually want?
Bah Humbug, just give me some tea.
Those tricky gift-giving politics
Does one spent twenty bucks? Or three?
Do I need to keep a running score?
I won’t. I just want some tea.
Thinking of donating a chicken
Via some worthy third world charity
And then giving me just a card and a smile?
Not likely. Hand over some tea.
Its easy, just visit your local tea shop,
To gain the perfect gift for me,
Find a top shelf black or softest white,
And bingo! Fetch hither my tea.
When Christmas Day dawns and all’s right with the world
I can relax contentedly.
And I’ve practiced my surprised exclamations:
“How lovely! You got me some tea.”
And in return I’ll pass over a small gift-wrapped box,
Whilst you wonder what it might be,
And I’ll wait for the smile to take over your face,
As you open your tea. From me.
There you have it. Add my name to the bottom, tastefully frame it, find a prominent place in your tea shop or family home and there you go, job done.
And of course, if you want to send me a small Christmas gift to show your appreciation, then I think you probably can guess what’s required.