Tea and Tarot
By Thomas D. Crowther

Arianwen seats herself on the settle by the fire
awaiting the uncommon occurrence of company.
She has arranged fruit in the bowl gifted to her,
quite unexpected, by Harris Morgan, Pontfaen.
There are russets from the orchard, two pounds
of ripe bananas from the mobile shop and a fresh
fallen cluster of chestnuts that flatters the patina
surface of the Sunday teatime and occasional table.

The table was also a gift, appreciatively bequeathed
By T. Dan Harry, the English Baptist pastor no less
and her being strictly Congregational by upbringing
and conviction - that made the tongues wag and set.
Ecumenical niceties were all well and Christian good
but how they could stretch to naming of such contrary
beings, in matters of faith, on the hallowed pages of a
will, was beyond the orthodox manner of simple folk.

Arianwen rises and opens the door before the knock;
it always impressed, however subdued the approach.
Mattie Nicholas acknowledged the act of presumption
with a coy smile tinged with her own small clairvoyance.
Surely a successful resolution of her audience would be
compelled to ensue after such an auspicious welcoming.
After the ceremony of coat taking and silent veneration
of such spick and span for a Thursday, they commenced.

Timely tea was served and the leaves were taken as read,
tittle-tattle murmurs of corroboration setting the scene.
The cards were reverentially unwrapped and ushered in
from their binding of squared black silk by the merest
whisper of invocation; far more notion than knowing.
From significator to conclusion, Mattie did not modify
her mood or mien but minded well the divinatory deeds,
uttered with comforting kindness by way of the old tongue.

Dai Crowther  2000

Dai Crowther lives in Goodwick (Wdig), on the Pembrokeshire coast in the West of Wales.


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