his curly head
it’ s scalding
you’ re spilling it
Janet Charman is an Auckland Secondary School teacher. Her fifth collection of poetry, Snowing Down South was published by the Auckland University Press in 2002.
Charman comments: ‘Some recent issues with friends and family enduring health crisis led me to construct this poem. Underlying these personal matters were my thoughts on a critical piece I read some years ago.
This article looked at the work of a famous Japanese writer (whose name escapes me). He has a scene in his novel where a husband and wife who have been separated by the bombing of Hiroshima, reencounter one another for the first time in several days. They do not speak. Rather, the wife sets about preparing her husband a cup of tea. The critic noted that non Japanese readers might not be alert to the symbolic resonances of such a gesture. This made me think about how I have experienced the symbolic aspects of “tea making” in my own Pakeha tradition.’