A Poem to Commemorate the Completion of Book 1 – On Theory, Meta Theory, and Culture

The Editorial team and I have just published the final installment of our first book in the series An Introduction to the Art and Science of Chinese Tea Ceremony.

Please do check it out on www.teatechnique.org!

To commemorate the publication of the first book, I’ve written a poem for the last chapter, which is cross posted here:

Brewing alone, all the teas I enjoy,

Only my own preferences to consider, not a god or guest to entertain;

Paused on the path of progress, watching small groups stumble along,

The white or soiled sails of piloted ships carry many against the river current;

Kettle cool, a welcoming caravan approaches, together now down the path,

Perhaps towards the shipyard in the distance? The once welcoming now focused group grows,

determined to construct a ship of our own, a vision of white sails alight on the wind,

How many can such a ship carry? Passion ignited is a siren song, a fleet of masts follow in close wake,

Our ship but one of many, countless sailing across time, others shipwrecked on the banks of the river,

Former sailors smiling as they brew alone, just a stare while we sail on and past,

Time rips members from our grasp, recruitment bolsters our numbers for now;

The time we have is not time enough, our members disembark and scatter like pollen on the wind,

Now near the end, I brew alone, all the teas I enjoy,

Different now with different wares, a new location more beautiful than before,

Years to arrive and lonely in all directions, only a few small groups of travelers visible on the steep trails below,

Those above, further up the mountain, invisible, hidden in their hermitages or shrouded in the mist that hides the way;

Will I ever make it to the summit? The thought drifts away as I sip my tea alone,

The muffled voices of a small group approaching, tempted to join, yet kettle hot I let them pass,

Maybe the next one? Maybe the next one….

Jason Cohen, Dec 16th 2021

To further celebrate finishing the first book during the holiday season, we’re offering a discounted membership for anyone interested themselves or giving a membership as a gift.

The discounted membership is available until the first week of January here: https://www.teatechnique.org/meta-theory

A poem on how I study

I’ve been asked about my method for studying Chinese tea and culture many times, and unfortunately my answer has and always will be “time and patience”.

While I don’t have any revelatory insights on faster methods of study, I do have a new poem that I hope inspires you.

Studying is a great pain

fueled by hours of bitter tea

yet I have never bent knee

in the face of adversity

– Jason Cohen, 10/16/2021

A Poem to Commiserate the Long Recovery from Knee Surgery

After 10 years of waiting, the partial tear in my ACL (high-school fencing injury) finally snapped (rock climbing injury). Since the surgery a few weeks ago, I’ve been in a full leg brace and have very limited mobility, which will last for another 5 – 6 weeks, when I will have only partially limited mobility.

On the whole – I have nothing to complain about. The pain is light, I have good healthcare, and will return to climbing next year, after 6 – 8 months of physical therapy. And last year’s quarantines really prepared me for spending weeks alone in my office.

While my writing output in preparation for the next book on teatechnique.org has declined during this early recovery, I did manage to write a poem reflecting on my condition:

Felled by worn sinew,

Many limp months await,

As I bide my time in the study,

Brewing torn pieces of tie bing[1],

Mending what is broken and stitching new thoughts.  

Jason Cohen – 10/12/2021

[1] 铁饼, “Iron Cake”