Hot Chocolate Tea and Mist like Incense

In the course of sampling a tea labeled ‘Hot Chocolate’ we’ve put our finger on why we take exception to chocolate in tea; it is disconcerting to drink something that smells of one thing and tastes of another. Hot Chocolate tea in particular is neither fish nor fowl. It has black tea notes, so is long in the mouth like any weighty black tea, but it smells of chocolate. It doesn’t actually taste of chocolate though, more of cinnamon and vanilla, maybe of sugar too. Most disconcertingly that undefinable thing, ‘milk essence’ is back, which leaves the whole thing tasting vaguely creamy. Now it may be that adding milk to ‘Hot Chocolate’ tea would help it, some teas work that way. Equally, milk might crush the spices and the vanilla, which opinion we tend towards. Either way, if we have this for breakfast tomorrow (and we could,as  it’s very definitely a black tea whatever else it is), we’re going to feel excessively decadent -Signora Neroni comes to mind, or possibly a misguided E. M. Forster heroine.

By rights we should give you another Scots poem this evening, just to prove that this piece of green and pleasant land has in fact produced poets who understand both metre and rhyme. We were going to too, and then we went rootling around on the internet for a scrap of something that had come up in a sermon months ago and were so delighted that our haphazard googling yielded results that you’re getting that instead. It’s neither May, nor Ascensiontide, nor even a Thursday, but that doesn’t diminish the loveliness of the poem. Besides, it’s Gaudete Sunday today, the Advent Sunday when we can relax liturgical disciplines a bit. If the priests can wear rose, we think we can disregard the calendar and look backwards to Ascension in the name of good writing. We’ll chalk up on a roster somewhere though that we owe you one piece of good Scottish poetry.

Ascension Thursday

Saunders Lewis (translated from the Welsh)

What is happening this May morning on the hillside?

See there, the gold of the broom and the laburnum

And the bright surplice of the thorn’s shoulder

And the intent emerald of the grass and the still calves;

See the candelabra of the chestnut tree alight

The bushes kneel and the mute beech, like a nun,

The cuckoo’s two notes above the bright hush of the stream

And the form of the mist that curls from the censer of the


Come out, you men, from the council houses

Before the rabbits run, come with the weasel to see

The elevation of the unblemished host from the earth,

The Father kiss the Son in the white dew.

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