Drink Your Tea Slowly

Small Cup

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; live the actual moment.
Only this moment is life.
–  Thich Nhat Hahn

We invite you to spend time in contemplation with these words from Zen master Thich Nhat Hahn. Then join in the conversation with your own poetic response.

You can enter into conversation with this text by adding your haiku response below.

About Margaret D. McGee


  1. Hurrying up
    to slow down…
    green tea

    And an older one that evokes the spirit of the quotation for me:

    camp tea…
    flames die to ember
    while ravens mutter

  2. Janet Stanwyck says:

    Wicker rocker beckons
    Katydids call,
    gifts of the moment.

  3. Sharon Nowicki says:

    Appearing soft
    a sensory illusion
    moss on rocks.

    • Yes, moss does appear very soft, doesn’t it? But the tiny stems & leaves are tougher than they appear.
      Sharon, I’m sure how you’re using the word “allusion.” Do you mean “illusion”?

      • Sharon Nowicki says:

        Yes I do, thanks. Can you correct that for me?

      • Sharon Nowicki says:

        My thoughts about these moss covered rocks I observed was that they looked so soft like one could nestle down among them in the green carpet of softness. These were along a river bank in the shade and looked so lovely and inviting. But the rocks underneath are hard and jagged, and would not be comfortable at all.

    • Sharon — I changed “allusion” to “illusion.”
      And … interesting, that the “illusion” in your thoughts was the softness of the moss vs. the hard jagged edges of the rocks. We have lots of moss around our house (some of it growing on rocks!) and after reading your poem I went outside and touched the moss. It was drier and tougher-feeling than I expected. But now I can see that the contrast in the poem is between the moss & the rocks. I like that … makes me think of the iron hand in the velvet glove! And I appreciate that you sent me outside to have a sensory experience that is not an illusion.
      best, Margaret

  4. My friend Sharon Nowicki sent me this page from her nature diary, with poetry, notations, and drawings all intermingled.

    A page from Sharon Nowicki's nature diary

    • Janet Stanwyck says:

      Interesting take on in formation and information.

      Like the drawings very much!

  5. Brad Offutt says:

    Sun has set – waves run
    beyond time to break against
    rocky eternity

    • Brad Offutt says:

      This is one of many attempts to express what happens after the sun sets beyond the mountain opposite. Time stops. The waves’ movement does not measure time like the sinking sun did. The sea and the old, old rocks on the shore are outside of time for a little while, and that little while seems awfully big!

      • Really interesting, the contrast between the sunset’s way of marking day’s end and the vastly greater time scale of the waves & rocks. The juxtaposition of a momentary image with an image that evokes eternity is close to the heart of haiku.

        Brad, I’m going to make a suggestion that you can take or leave. If this poem focused more on the images and senses, taking away the abstract words & phrases, it might evoke the feeling of eternity even more strongly. Something like this:

        sun has set–
        still the waves break and break
        against ancient rock

        Or maybe “still endless waves break/against old, old rock.” Or maybe another set of lines that you like better than any of those!

        Now I admit that I’m abandoning the 5-7-5 pattern. But for me the relationship between the images & senses is the true heart of the poem.

        Thanks for sharing this compelling moment.

  6. Sharon Nowicki says:

    Good subject matter. I am intrigued by this mental picture of time and its visual measure. I have come at it from a different perspective and added a couple more.

    Time by sunlight ends
    shifting from day to night
    Time by tides begin

    Sun has set
    Measure of time shifts
    To the tides.

  7. Brad Offutt says:

    Margaret, thanks for your suggestions. I like your ideas but probably will leave both my attempt and your thoughts as they are for now. Maybe after another sunset I can isolate my impressions better. I see what you’re getting at – that’s always my problem in haiku. I tend to think in sequences of ideas rather than feeling impressions.
    Sharon, I like your perspective! It’s different than mine and beautifully stated.

  8. c.temte says:

    pungent scent of camphor
    delicately carved wooden box
    tattered love letters

    bone chilling mist
    fog horn blowing
    a solitary walker

    • Nice combination of senses — scent and sight in the first, and sound, sight, and touch in the second. Thanks!

    • Another quick note. In the first poem, what would you think of “from the” instead of “delicately”? That would tie the first two lines together, and also make the middle line work both ways (with first & third lines).

      I think the second poem would also be strengthened if the first two lines could flow together … possibly by reversing the order:

      fog horn
      in the bone chilling mist
      a solitary walker

      Hey, that also makes the 2nd line work both ways! What do you think?

      • c. temte says:

        Hi Margeret,
        Yes, I like “from the”. It was actually my first choice but switched at the last moment. I really meant to post these in “Every Day is a Journey” because life has been a rugged journey the last nineteen months but I am very rugged and resilient. I have a sense of fragility also. Delicately seemed to give this a sense of fragility and vulnerability and camphor gave a bittersweet sense – I really do have this box.
        In the second I like the flip flop of the lines. I had thought of using the word sounding instead of blowing but blowing gave a more rugged image. Anyway, I do enjoy writing these. I am glad our paths crossed.
        Thanks for your help and for your web site.

      • I like blowing.
        And am also glad our paths crossed.