She swirled the cup, to read his tea,
He’d left to pay a visit,
This woman that he’d lunched with
At a tea-shop in the City.
He’d met her in a shop and chatted,
Between the shelves of musty books,
Tomes, both old and new,
Though mostly old,
At this shop of varied miscellany.
He’d sought a gem, and found a jewel,
At least that’s what he thought.
He’d felt a shiver, he thought a spark,
But not the spark, he thought,
The sparkles in her eyes,
The soft long flow of hair,
Or the smile that warmed
The torpid chill of heart,
Long since shrouded by the urban dark,
An auric glow to fill his heart,
And maybe pockets too.
By Gift this spark was lit,
And not by looks, or specious things,
For her soul too had stirred, at first,
And sifted forth a subtle phasing shimmer,
To touch the questing probe of his.
She peered into the cup and frowned,
And shook the leaves again,
A second time.
She signalled no with eyes and manner
To maid who moved to clear
The china pot and plates,
Then shook the cup again
The third and final time,
To see portents placed,
Aligned, within the cup.
The leaves they would not lie,
They would not cheat,
They would not use,
They told it true,
Laid out bare,
Against the bright white china backdrop,
Of this subtle china cup.
She saw his past,
And then the future that might be,
And alas, she saw, it was not meant to be,
That she drank from this man’s tainted cup,
But must needs seek another.
She rose before he would return.
She left a crisp new £5 note,
She left the man,
She left the bitter taste
Of what she’d missed
And put it all, like those before, behind her.
© Greg Richards