On Visiting the Tea Garden in Middletown, New York I. A harried daddy with two kids in tow, Maneuvering through city streets and cars, I look around quite nervously for crows Whose filthy bombs my head before had marred. I dashed in through the front door of the place, A maniac who straggled desp’rately Straight to the counter through the tranquil space, I had ten minutes only for some tea. “Give me something to make it worth the trip!” I thought, but said, “Which do you recommend?” And then as if by thought and not by lip, She spoke and offered me a floral blend: A soothing oolong and Chrysanthemum, The flavor of a mystic garden’s hum. II. The flavor of a mystic garden’s hum And misty essence of the mountain top From where the shriveled leaves of tea did come, Infuse as time slows nearly to a stop. There, fragrance of the flowers mixed with dew Congeals to rest upon the tea plant’s leaves And then with piercing sunshine further stew Into a potion made from Heaven’s sieve. Rich scenes of rivers bending out of sight And legends of Immortals in the caves, Of fairies dancing in the full moonlight, Rub on the plant as on the shore rub waves. These leaves then plucked and cast across the world Have all this hidden magic in them curled. III. “…Have all this hidden magic in them curled,” The Lady of the garden teahouse said. Indeed, I’ve traveled all around the world, And peering down from clouds has been my head, I never tasted anything like that, So soothing and refreshing to the mind Like ocean vast and grand, yet calm and flat, And all my shallow troubles left behind. The tea-filled, smiling kids to me have changed, No longer baggage, they’re endangered pets, Some fleck of gold in each warm breath contained, “Have they or I or both somehow reset?” Ten minutes at the tea house now are up, The bottom seems the top of my tea cup. The Trojan Treasure The Trojan War has finished its long course. Achaeans won by sneaking past the vaulting walls As if they were a gift: a wooden horse; A decade done, at last the city falls! And yet the riches found were not it all, Along with war, there came a great resource Achilles’ n’ Agamemnon’s egos tall Were humbled to the ground with mighty force. The greatest hero and Achaean king Saw limits to their sight and faced their error; Their compromise, a wretched shineless thing, Was their most brilliant and enlight’ning treasure. Amidst life’s war, when warrior wills compete, Just do your job and one day bitter’s sweet. Written July 9, 2013 / Revised June 19, 2017 Evan Mantyk is President of the Society of Classical Poets. He teaches literature and history in the Hudson Valley region of New York.