Sleigh Rides and Snow Sprites

Today’s herbal tea is Sleigh Ride. The ingredients rattle off a whole thwack of stuff mixed into the blend, but all we could taste was the hibiscus and cinnamon. It’s a curious, tart combination, but not an unpleasant one. We’re reminded faintly, drinking it, of rhubarb crumbles we used to make. Of course, there’s none of the sweetness the descriptive tag features, but maybe we didn’t let it steep long enough. As established, the art of getting one of these tisanes to steep has eluded us all month. Mind, it had time enough; the pot sat there for a good ten minutes while we did auxiliary kitchen chores.

It doesn’t particularly remind us of sleigh rides, we have to say. We used to ski out west, and you could sign up for sleigh rides of the horse-and-sleigh variety. There was hot apple cider afterwards, and we roasted marshmallows over candles. Nothing about it involved hibiscus, and while there’s apple somewhere in this tea, the hibiscus drowns it. (It drowns the raisins too, because as discussed, raisins don’t really come through in any tea at any strength.)

So we are mostly sipping this tea and thinking how lovely and tangy and tart it is. Warm enough for winter, though, and on that note, here’s a wintery poem to pair with it.

The Snow Fairy
Claude McKay
I
Throughout the afternoon I watched them there,
Snow-fairies falling, falling from the sky,
Whirling fantastic in the misty air,
Contending fierce for space supremacy.
And they flew down a mightier force at night,
As though in heaven there was revolt and riot,
And they, frail things had taken panic flight
Down to the calm earth seeking peace and quiet.
I went to bed and rose at early dawn
To see them huddled together in a heap,
Each merged into the other upon the lawn,
Worn out by the sharp struggle, fast asleep.
The sun shone brightly on them half the day,
By night they stealthily had stol’n away.
     II
And suddenly my thoughts then turned to you
Who came to me upon a winter’s night,
When snow-sprites round my attic window flew,
Your hair disheveled, eyes aglow with light.
My heart was like the weather when you came,
The wanton winds were blowing loud and long;
But you, with joy and passion all aflame,
You danced and sang a lilting summer song.
I made room for you in my little bed,
Took covers from the closet fresh and warm,
A downful pillow for your scented head,
And lay down with you resting in my arm.
You went with Dawn. You left me ere the day,

The lonely actor of a dreamy play.

Perhaps our favourite part of poetry, and indeed of hunting down poems for this blog is the discovery of new phrases. You can bet anything you like that snowflakes hereafter are snow-sprites to us. It’s too lovely an image not to nick into everyday parlance, don’t you think?

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