Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Today is National Carrot Cake Day!

Image credit: www.examiner.com
Today we celebrate National Carrot Cake Day. Carrot cake, sometimes known as Passion cake is a sweet spice cake where grated carrot is mixed into the batter.

According to Wikipedia:
Carrot cake closely resembles a quick bread in method of preparation (all the wet ingredients, such as the eggs and sugar, are mixed, all the dry ingredients are mixed, and the wet are then added to the dry) and final consistency (which is usually denser than a traditional cake and has a coarser crumb). 
Many carrot cake recipes include optional ingredients, such as kirsch, cinnamon, nuts, pineapple or raisins. The most common icing on carrot cake is icing sugar and lemon juice or icing sugar and kirsch (Europe) and an icing with icing sugar, butter and cream cheese (United States). 
As the cake is relatively moist, it can be conserved longer than many other types of cakes.
Why not pour yourself a cup of black or oolong tea and have some poetry, along with your slice of moist carrot cake!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

January Poetry from Poet Helen Hunt Jackson


Helen Maria Hunt Jackson (October 15, 1830 – August 12, 1885), born Helen Fiske, was an American poet and writer who became an activist on behalf of improved treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. government.

She published five collections of poetry, including Verses (1870) and Easter Bells (1884), as well as children’s literature and travel books, often using the pseudonyms “H.H.,” “Rip van Winkle,” or “Saxe Holm.”

A Calendar of Sonnets: January
By Helen Hunt Jackson

O Winter! frozen pulse and heart of fire, 
What loss is theirs who from thy kingdom turn 
Dismayed, and think thy snow a sculptured urn 
Of death! Far sooner in midsummer tire 
The streams than under ice. June could not hire 
Her roses to forego the strength they learn 
In sleeping on thy breast. No fires can burn 
The bridges thou dost lay where men desire 
In vain to build. 
O Heart, when Love's sun goes 
To northward, and the sounds of singing cease, 
Keep warm by inner fires, and rest in peace. 
Sleep on content, as sleeps the patient rose. 
Walk boldly on the white untrodden snows, 
The winter is the winter's own release.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Chicago, a poem by Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg was an American poet, writer, and editor who won three Pulitzer Prizes, two for his poetry and one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln. He was widely regarded as "a major figure in contemporary literature", especially for volumes of his collected verse, including Chicago Poems (1916), Cornhuskers (1918), and Smoke and Steel (1920). Sandburg composed his poetry primarily in free verse. "Poetry is a pack-sack of invisible keepsakes. Poetry is a sky dark with a wild-duck migration. A few of his definitions of poetry: Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during a moment." His success as a poet was limited to that of a follower of Whitman and of the Imagists. 

Today we are featuring his poem, Chicago.

Chicago
By Carl Sandburg

Hog Butcher for the World, 
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, 
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler; 
Stormy, husky, brawling, 
City of the Big Shoulders: 

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I 
have seen your painted women under the gas lamps 
luring the farm boys. 
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it 
is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to 
kill again. 
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the 
faces of women and children I have seen the marks 
of wanton hunger. 
And having answered so I turn once more to those who 
sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer 
and say to them: 
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing 
so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning. 
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on 
job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the 
little soft cities; 

Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning 
as a savage pitted against the wilderness, 

Bareheaded, 
Shoveling, 
Wrecking, 
Planning, 
Building, breaking, rebuilding, 

Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with 
white teeth, 
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young 
man laughs, 
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has 
never lost a battle, 
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, 
and under his ribs the heart of the people, 

Laughing! 

Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of 
Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog 
Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with 
Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Poetry by Poet Khalil Gibran

Image credit: goodreads.com
Gubran Kahlil Gubran, known as Khalil Gibran, was a Lebanese American artist, poet, and writer born in the town of Bsharri in modern-day Lebanon (then part of the Ottoman Mount Lebanon mutasarrifate). He emigrated with his family to the United States where he studied art and began his literary career. His most well-known works was his 1923 book, The Prophet, which consisted of inspirational fiction including a series of philosophical essays written in poetic English prose. 

Today's spotlight is on his poem, A Tear and a Smile.

A Tear And A Smile
by Khalil Gibran

I would not exchange the sorrows of my heart 
For the joys of the multitude.
And I would not have the tears that sadness makes 
To flow from my every part turn into laughter. 

I would that my life remain a tear and a smile.

A tear to purify my heart and give me understanding
Of life's secrets and hidden things. 
A smile to draw me nigh to the sons of my kind and 
To be a symbol of my glorification of the gods.

A tear to unite me with those of broken heart; 
A smile to be a sign of my joy in existence.

I would rather that I died in yearning and longing than that I live Weary and despairing.

I want the hunger for love and beauty to be in the 
Depths of my spirit,for I have seen those who are 
Satisfied the most wretched of people. 
I have heard the sigh of those in yearning and Longing, and it is sweeter than the sweetest melody.

With evening's coming the flower folds her petals 
And sleeps, embracingher longing. 
At morning's approach she opens her lips to meet 
The sun's kiss.

The life of a flower is longing and fulfilment.
A tear and a smile.

The waters of the sea become vapor and rise and come 
Together and area cloud.

And the cloud floats above the hills and valleys 
Until it meets the gentle breeze, then falls weeping 
To the fields and joins with brooks and rivers to Return to the sea, its home.

The life of clouds is a parting and a meeting. 
A tear and a smile.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

It's National Hot Tea Month!

January is National Hot Tea Month! Baby it's cold outside, so brew you a cup of your favorite hot tea and relax! While you're at it, have a slice of poetry to accompany it. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Auld Lang Syne, a poem by Robert Burns

Happy New Year, Tea & Poetry Book Club

Did you know that Auld Lang Syne is a Scots poem that was written in 1788 by Scottish poet and lyricist Robert Burns? It's traditional use is to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight and ring in the new. According to Wikipedia, Scots poet and novelist, Matthew Fitt uses the phrase "In the days of auld lang syne" as the equivalent of "Once upon a time..." in his retelling of fairy tales in the Scots language.
Happy New Year!

Auld Lang Syne (Traditional Version)
By Robert Burns

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And never brought to mind? 
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And days o’ lang syne!

Chorus: 
For auld lang syne, my dear 
For auld lang syne, 
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet 
For auld lang syne!

We twa hae run about the braes, 
And pu’d the gowans fine, 
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot 
Sin’ auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’t in the burn 
Frae morning sun till dine, 
But seas between us braid hae roar’d 
Sin’ auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere, 
And gie’s a hand o’ thine, 
And we’ll tak a right guid willie-waught 
For auld lang syne!

And surely ye’ll be your pint’ stoup, 
And surely I’ll be mine! 
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet 
For auld lang syne!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas Tea & Poetry Lovers!

Image Credit: caccioppoli.com
To all of our wonderful Tea & Poetry Book Club friends and family, we wish you a very Merry Christmas! From our house to yours have the jolliest of holidays!