Saturday, June 30, 2018

FINDING A POEM by Opening a Cupboard

This was definitely a first. I opened a kitchen cupboard and saw a humble tin of Bigelow Russian Caravan Tea, and it all came flooding back.  Memories of one of my favorite college instructors who was not in my major area.  Magda Schay taught Russian, and along with Choir Professor Dr. Wallace Long, are two of the non-theater faculty that I remember most fondly and who had the greatest impact on me.

Seeing that tin of tea (bought by my parents because Magda served up a cup of Russian Caravan Tea that was without equal - we all remembered it) reminded me that some of the most profound influences on me in my university education had nothing to do with the doctrine or academics.

Magda's Tea
by Judith Cullen
© 2018

So many lessons compressed,
four years of discovery, challenging
everything that was my known world.

So many openings of eyes
to a greater composition of cultures,
thoughts new and exciting.

Yet among so many revelations
a summation would be the completion,
or so one would think.

Lecture and practice, love and sex,
politics and religion, art and philosophy,
were not all diploma-equated.

It was the tea: Magda's Tea.

Spicy, rich and voluble of
foreign lands and exotic histories sipped
from the safety of her porcelain

A rich Russian Caravan that emboldened,
tasting of exploration and sensual delight,
amidst the whispering pines on her deck.

I would happily journey there once more;
from innocence to tingling rapture, a universe
beckoning from Magda's tea cup.

LISTEN HERE to this poem, read by the author.


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