A Day of Tea and Haiku

The BHS Spring Gathering took place in Conway Hall, London on Saturday, 18 May 2024. This was the first live BHS event since Covid, with 22 members in attendance on the day.

During the ‘Meet and greet’ with tea and coffee poets had the opportunity to see again old friends and welcome some new BHS members.

The main event was a ‘Tea and Kimono’ presentation by Krissi Prahova aka Sofuku. She learned to perform the tea ceremony (chanoyu) in Japan and upon completion of her training Krissi was given the name Sofuku (meaning ‘bearer of happiness’). After a short introduction, Sofuku showed a short Japanese film about tea followed by a tea ceremony. The BHS members were fascinated to observe the meditative act of preparing, presenting, and sipping matcha. Andrew Shimield and Allan Jarett took part as the guests in the ceremony and were served matcha tea and traditional biscuits. The tea ceremony was followed by a Kimono presentation and after that there was a very informative Q&A session in which Sofuku talked about the intricacies of the Japanese culture and traditions, and shared more about her life in Japan.

After lunch, the day continued with a lively workshop/sharing session. For the workshop participants were invited to share either haiku inspired by the tea & kimono presentation or previously written haiku/tanka about ‘tea’.

Here are some haiku/tanka shared by the participants:

tea ceremony
landscape on the drinking bowl
entering my mind
Paul Hickey

little bowl
facing a friend
Chris Southam

tea ceremony
out of the silence of the cup
a thousand cranes
oceans & waves
Tony Marcoff

steam rises
from my teacup
the day’s problems blurred
Jenny Shepherd

her world in a spin her obi
Robert Kingston

Green tea powder
spooned in a bowl
a lichened window
Diana Webb

admiring her kimono
I ask how long
her sleeves are
coyly she answers
how long do you want
Andrew Shimield

morning cuppa
Gaza headlines
leave a bitter taste
Nick T

drinking nettle tea
kneeling naked on her balcony
sunrise across the city
Howard Colyer

The elegant tea
ceremony—I watch, sip
my instant decaf
Sarah Lawson

linden tea
an unexpected hug
from grandma
Iliyana Stoyanova

tea in the park
two girls make
a TikTok video
Erica Ison

Further reading recommended by Howard Colyer:

  • The Book of Tea (茶の本, Cha no Hon) – A Japanese Harmony of Art, Culture, and the Simple Life (1906) by Okakura Kakuzō
  • Zen in the Art of the Tea Ceremony (1983) by Horst Hammitzsch

Write-up by Iliyana Stoyanova

Photos by Neli Prahova and Iliyana Stoyanova



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