Perfect Cups of Tea

Perfect Cups of Tea

I drink my final cup of tea on death-bed at death-door.
I can't escape my steaming thoughts of how I could have more.

I'd commissioned that a smile be drawn, a thoughtful distant stare.
Refused to pay the rendering, when failed to see it there.

Engaged the best composers to express in flights of bird.
Yet, did not cry the beauty in the way when I first heard.

Demanded simple joys be forged in clay and bronze and steel.
Then smashed the clay-molds back to dust when, joy, I did not feel.

While histrionic shrines of life perch, perfect, on their stands,
missing gifts of normalcy keep running through my hands.

Those things one cannot order, instruct, or bend to will;
such are stars and trees and wind; and smiles of free good-will.

Searching for the stimuli that I have once espied,
has left a gap, abysmal deep, exposing my insides.

My perfect cups of tea, you see, are rendered on my walls.
Marking fish that got away and petty conquered squalls.

This, my failing glory, and that, my almost-win.
The stories that the stains can tell... oh, where do I begin.

The splatter by the baseboard, reminds me of the day,
I promised to myself to have all souls within my pay.

That mess beside the door-frame, oh, how could I forget;
a botched design to force a fool to renege on a bet.

There, I lost a friend and wife; and dominated foe.
Here a stolen ransom for a truth I shouldn't know.

Observe my missed revenge attempts; all gaping second graves.
Witness competition, those low-life, scoundrel knaves.

Behold, demands for justice; resolve for things unsaid;
all sleepless nights of dark regret, yet steeping in my head.

My past ran down my paper walls, my futures' lost and wasted.
If only I had stopped to drink, what joys might I have tasted.

© Sean G. O’Leary 2021
Loosely inspired by Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess"

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