An old-fashioned bouquet of camellias
your grandmother’s tea service

have more in common than the sideboard
on which they’re standing.

The camellia bush with its shiny
green leaves and corsage blossoms is

Camellia japonica; the evergreen
tea plant, Camellia sinensis.

If left to grow in the wild,
sinensis can reach thirty feet high.

(In Yunnan province, China,
an ancient tea tree

a hundred feet over the landscape.)

Cultivated tea plants are pruned
to waist height to

encourage the
dense growth

of young


The flush for finer teas
are still

An experienced picker, almost

always a woman,
can pluck

in one day flush enough
for nine pounds of finished tea:

1800 cups, six month’s imbibing
for a thirsty Brit

and his camellia-gathering

a found poem from The New Tea Book by Sara Perry, which means the words are (mostly) Perry’s; the line breaks, mine own.

This post is offered as part of Tweetspeak Poetry’s found poem project, Tea for Two.