Tea Poems

The following are poems written by Ken Lo, inspired by great tea experiences at the China Arts Council Tea Society:

Third Prize Te Kuan Yin

How can I know you?

Working in the fields,
Cutting wood;
Astride the horses.

You come to me
With fresh drawn milk
And sugar cookies
Brown at the edges;
Served in a leather box
Burnished with time and use.

Your clothes smell of
The soil and earth.
Your hands are soft and white.
Your face is rugged and lined.

When you speak, your accent is sharp;
But your words sweetly emerge
Meeting my ears with memories from far away.


Seui Tsien Te Kuan Yin

Your toasted aroma
Enters my senses
With a quiet stealth,
Taking my mundane world away.

Transported to a dark forest,
Mushrooms grow at your feet
And ferns appear everywhere
Under the canopy of ancient pines.


Third Prize Te Kuan Yin

Unseen waves crash against rocky shores,
Green belts float, gathering the sun.
From a buttery leather box you emerge.
Softly you enter my senses
And I am floating above verdant fields of tall grasses,
Submerged on shallow shores
Knowing you as never before.
You welcome my rude greeting
With the refinement of a hundred generations
And I bow to you in humble gratitude
To share your presence
In my small and simple home.
Grateful to even touch your virtuous feet
Or walk along the paths you tread.


Gao San Wu Lung

Gao San Wu Lung
How can you be so sweet?
Are you a pastry?
From where does your sweet butter cream come?
How did you bathe in that vanilla cream
And still appear so fresh and green?
Egg custard, crème brulee, delicate flan,
How can I put my cup down?
My master brews you deftly,
Over and over again into the night.
With good friends your fragrance
Remains always within my heart.


Mao Jian Ching Cha

So fresh!
So green!
You take me to a subtle place
Within my heart,
Early in my life,
When things were
Simple and new.
If I meditate on you,
You follow me into clouds
Embracing summer mountains
In the first light of dawn.

What a clear, clean taste
From my Master's cup!


Mun San Bao Jung

My old friend
It has been eight years
Since I first met you.
Your return is a delightful surprise!
As fresh and creamy as always,
I can still smell the butter cream on your hands.
Yet I taste the fragrance of Japan --
The sting of wasabi on my tongue
And I see bamboo before me.
In your mists, the ocean comes to life
And I can understand your foreign tongue.
Your travels abroad have made you worldly.
Stay, let's talk through out the night.