The discontented grumblings of a blogger will out, apparently, because after all that stuff the other night about overly sweet faux jam we got Christmas Morning Tea this morning.
Christmas Morning Tea is a nice, sane, no-nonsense black tea with vanilla flavour. We couldn’t for the life of us tell you how this is Christmassy, but candidly, we don’t care. It doesn’t taste like jam. Huzzah! Would it be more Christmassy with cloves in? Of course it would.
Do we care? Not a jot.
We can drink it without awful gagging noises, no tea was poured down the sink in vexation, it’s a banner day for the Chorister at Home and the menagerie.
Doubly so, because we have discovered Muriel Spark wrote poetry. We like to think we’re if not Muriel Spark experts than decently cogent on the subject of her writing. We can even name some of her plays and tell you how The Girls of Slender Means opens.
(We can tell you the last sentence of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, too, but so can anyone who claims to like Spark, so that’s no great thing.)
We did not know she wrote poetry.
So, obviously, what with writing about nothing but tea and poetry all Advent we set out to find some of her poems. It took some digging. Turns out Muriel Spark’s poetry is rivalling Tenessee Williams for Best Kept Poetic Secret of the Century. The thing of it is, we’d all know it a heck of a lot better if they’d both never written a novel or a play worth talking about.
With that in mind, here’s a quintissencially Muriel Spark poem by the woman who wrote the most horrifyingly gothic tea scene ever. You can find it in Memento Mori, if you are wondering. You’ll never look at a Victorian tea service the same way again. But before you set off to do that, here’s that poem.
Do you want to know why I am alive today?
I will tell you.
Early on, during the food-shortage,
Some of us were miraculously presented
Each with a goose that laid a golden egg.
Myself, I killed the cackling thing and I ate it.
Alas, many and many of the other recipients
Died of gold-dust poisoning.
You’re laughing, aren’t you? Even while experiencing visceral horror. That’s Spark’s signature. Darkly, comedically brilliant.