L-I-G-H-T(ea): A Recipe

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I wrote this poem to accompany a tea-serving with the Multicultural Teahouse Collective, for Latitude 53’s Winter Salon at Pacific Cafe in Edmonton’s McCauley neighbourhood on January 31. The theme of the night was light

L-I-G-H-T(ea): A Recipe

By Kathryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon

Come in out of the dark
heat water,
shake in a few leaves
wait
take tea cup in hand
feel steam on face
wait
as leaf
water
heat
unfolds into…

a memory of a morning when
a bead of water rolls into the earth
traces its way down into the dark between earthworm burrows and beetle routes
to kiss awake a seed
inside rigid cell walls
mitochondria breath in
and out
begin
to synthesize possibilities
to send out shoots
that reach up out of the soil in search
of light.

Light
water
heat
translate into
shiny shoots and buds plucked by gentle hands
to the beat of bare feet over wet earth,
morning songs sung to high mountains
fly up over clouds in search of light.

Light
water
heat
berth winds that fill sails
of ships carrying cargo from the
fingertips of the east to the lips of the west
wrapping the world
like trade routes, like fire-flies, like tea-lights.

Come in out of the dark
let heat
water
leaf
unfold your hearts
and listen
as tea-cup poets speak of light.

*A note about this poem: I wanted to try writing something that was about tea and hope and light, and not revolutions or “social justice”.  With the theme of light on my mind, two days later, I passed Roberston-Wesley United Church, and saw this quote on their board: “Give light and people will find a way”. Curious about the origins, I looked it up, and found out these are the words of Ella Baker, a leading African American civil rights and human rights activist beginning in the 1930s, who was a behind-the-scenes activist, working alongside some of the most famous civil rights leaders of the twentieth century, including: Rosa Parks, W.E.B. DuBois, Thurgood Marshall, A. Philip Randolph, and Martin Luther King Jr. She also worked closely with her friend, longtime white anti-racist activist Anne Braden. I guess sometimes themes have a way of making themselves universal…

**If you want to learn more about  Anne Braden, check out “Noisy and Quiet” the blog of my friend, Annie Banks, who is writing about her experiences in the Anne Braden Anti-Racist Organizing Training Program in San Francisco.

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4 thoughts on “L-I-G-H-T(ea): A Recipe

  1. Kathryn – wanted to let you know that when I see a poem of yours I am compelled to read it out loud to myself and anyone in earshot to enjoy it to the fullest… which is my favorite kind of poem. Thank you

  2. anniembanks

    Reblogged this on Noisy and Quiet and commented:
    Beautiful poem by poet Kathryn Lennon, who ends her post by making connections to Ella Baker (through her words, “Give light and people will find a way.”), Rosa Parks, W.E.B. DuBois, Thurgood Marshall, A. Philip Randolph, Martin Luther King Jr. and Anne Braden.

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