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The Art of Drinking Tea by Nin Andrews

In: English and Literature

Submitted By jennyy96
Words 587
Pages 3
The Art of Drinking Tea By Nin Andrews

When I first read this poem, I just thought it was about a lonely man’s desire to sleep with the black-haired woman who is drinking tea. He pictures her undress him and enjoying the one night stand that lasts 49 days and nights. Although the wordings of the poem sounded complicated, I believed that the poem just had a fun and simple read and that was my main reason why I selected this poem. However, when I started to think about why Andrews used drinking tea to describe a man’s sexual desires, the depth of the poem changed entirely. In the middle of the poem, the man tries to follow the instructions on the drinking of tea but fails to because he constantly imagines making love with a woman. This was my favorite part of the poem. Although he says that he failed to follow the instructions, I think he was doing it perfectly. When you take your first sip from the first cup of tea, the liquid moistens your lips and surrounds your mouth with warmth and comfort, just like a kiss that the man was picturing. “She lifts him to her lips like a china cup and sips so slowly.” So he knows what the art of drinking tea is but decides to become to teacup so that the lady can kiss him. Nin Andrews also used tea to show a sense of addiction. In tea, there is a bit of caffeine, which allows the drinkers to crave more of it. In the poem, the man seems to be addicted to his imagination that he barely remembers his own name. Although there weren’t enough information about the author, I personally think that this poem of hers was slightly influenced by a poem written by a Chinese poet, Lu Tong, of Tang Dynasty. “The first cup moistens my lips and throat. The second cup breaks my loneliness. The third cup searches my barren entrails but to find therein some thousand volumes of odd ideographs. The fourth cup raises a slight perspiration – all the wrongs of life pass out through my pores. At the fifth cup I am purified. The sixth cup calls me to the realms of the immortals. The seventh cup – ah, but I could take no more! I only feel the breath of the cool wind that raises in my sleeves. Where is Elysium? Let me ride on this sweet breeze and waft away thither.” Lu Tong, like the man in the poem of Nin Andrews, breaks his loneliness by drinking a cup of tea. In addition, the man wishes that his love with the black-haired woman lasts for days and nights. This relates to Lu Tong’s sixth and seventh cup. Tong is called to the realms of the immortals, a kingdom of gods, and wants to “ride on this sweet breeze and waft away thither.” The Art of Drinking Tea became more complicated as I thought more deeply about it. What I thought I understood before doesn’t make sense anymore. However, the way Andrews constantly repeated the act of drinking tea drew me in to the poem more. It allowed me to think what happens when people drink tea, why and when they drink it. The more I read this poem, the more I try to understand it, the more of a mystery the meaning becomes. I think that’s what makes this poem so powerful although it may sound ridiculous at first.

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