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It was overcast the morning
my son and I
rode the Wenshan Line
standing room only
to the zoo
waited in line
a long line
always a line
for the Maokong Gondola
to carry us above an emerald
canopy to the mountaintop
where teahouses burst
out of banyan and figs trees
like Taoist temples.

A cloud of white egrets
meditated in the teafield below
as we climbed down and down
and down mahogany stairs
to the tearoom where a tiny woman
smiled, touched my white hair
as if it were fine silk and
seeing our watercolor kits
led us to a window table with
good light and a view
of Taipei 101 in the distance.

Wūlóngchá? she asked.
You want oolong tea?
And snacks, my son told her
in Mandarin, and water for
for painting, please.
Someone flipped on
traditional music,
the kind where a woman sings
high as a songbird and a moon lute
twangs in the background.

And then the woman returned
with a tray of clay pots and tiny cups,
bowls of fermented tea, plums and
peanuts and cast us into an
intoxicating dream of pot
warmings, and cup heatings,
an examination of color
and scent, and many oolong
pourings, and a thousand
sippings until we slipped
into painting images
profound as prayers.

8 thoughts on “Maokong I

    • Thanks, Jean. It was quite an experience. I’ve been reading through my four journals from Taiwan and teahouses are a repeated theme so I thought I’d write about one for day 3 of NaPoWriMo.

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