A Welsh High Tea

This was written following a glorious September day. Sadly, it is now finished. You can either read it, or hear it.

A Welsh High Tea

A sunshine filled September day,
the dining room doors framing a view of a few fields
leading us to the expanse of sea that is Rhossili Bay.
The room filled to overflowing: standing on the deck, the grass,
against the field fence where the ponies graze.
Families – the sisters, nieces, aunts and uncles,
the friends from a lifetime of 80 years to the day.
Gathered for High Tea.

A much extended table laid with precision.
Competing aunties’ Bara Brith and Welsh cakes.
Tiny shells filled with lemon cream atop with raspberry, singular.
Sandwiches, definitely for an occasion,
narrowly cut, stuffed to overflowing,
trimmed of crust and neatly laid.
Remembered recipes of jam dipped sponge squares,
coated with coconut shreds,
finished with cherry jam and a cream blob.
Scones, by competitive sisters this time:
small and perfectly stuffed;
or ready to break yourself and indulgently fill,
with more cream and home made jam.
And, more, too much to see, too much to eat.
Celebration for every sense.

In the centre the cake, the birthday cake.
With the champagne, the wishes
“Penblwydd Hapus” by most,
plain “Happy Birthday” the rest.
But the “iechyd da” felt hollow even as our glasses met.
No shared joy blotted out unsaid thoughts.
We knew: no tea would ever be as bitter sweet,
however bountiful or lovingly made.
The sun would never fall on her so radiantly.
The wake, too soon it was to be,
would be no match for her High Tea.

Doreen Page 12 September 1930 – 5 November 2010

©Peter D Cox 2010 all rights reserved