A Poets’ Tea

In the fall semester of 2010, our son and his fiancée met in a college English class, and they’ve been writing a sweet love story ever since. Soon, they’ll speak their wedding vows; later, in a storybook mansion, they’ll glide across the floor in their first dance together as newlyweds. With a sentimental glance back to that fateful English classroom where our two lovebirds first met, their reception will be literary-themed, the tables stacked with vintage books, flowers, pearls, lace.

The day before Easter, my husband, our daughters, and I hosted a Poets’ Tea bridal shower for our darling bride-to-be. Since April happens to be National Poetry Month, I thought I’d share a few photos from our special day.

As we brainstormed on ways to decorate our home for our guest of honor and assembled family, my husband came up with an idea to fill each of our existing picture frames with portraits of the great poets. Here’s the result of this marvelous idea:

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A few of the teacups I’ve collected over the years sit in front of four of the nine poetry vases we created with pages from an old book of garden poetry. From left to right are Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Robert Frost, Louisa May Alcott, William Butler Yeats, and Carl Sandburg.


0158_A Poets' Tea 2

On the wall from left to right are Ralph Waldo Emerson, e.e. cummings, Robert Browning, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning; on the table, Henry David Thoreau.


0158_A Poets' Tea 3

Edna St. Vincent Millay


0158_A Poets' Tea 4

Maya Angelou


0158_A Poets' Tea 5

My mother’s college poetry professor often compared her poems to those of A.E. Housman, pictured here.


0158_A Poets' Tea 6

Lewis Carroll strikes a thoughtful pose as Sara Teasdale’s sad eyes seem to search for a silver lining.


0158_A Poets' Tea 7

Poets’ Corner: on the wall are Robert Burns and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; on the table, Langston Hughes and Jane Kenyon. (Other poets on display but not pictured here are Oscar Wilde, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Kahlil Gibran, the Brontë sisters, William Shakespeare, John Keats, and Lucy Maud Montgomery.)


0158_A Poets' Tea 8

Because I wanted to create a poetic keepsake to give our guests before they departed, my husband helped me decoupage stanzas from e. e. cummings’ “i carry your heart with me” to papier-mâché eggs. I framed the words with palest pink flowers (to reflect the color the bridesmaids will wear) and finished each egg with delicate ribbons.

Our Poets’ Tea, which was great fun, is a treasured memory now, the teacups washed and put away. But the marvelous faces of the poets still grace our home.

All my life, I’ve papered the walls of my innermost heart with poetry. What a joy it is for me now to sit here in our quiet home with my beloved friends, the poets, and to feel, with Robert Browning, that “all’s right with the world.” Soon, we’ll gain a lovely daughter-in-law, and our dear son will be a married man. There is so much to look forward to, so much to be grateful for.

In honor of our precious, soon-to-be bride and groom, I’ll close with one of the most exquisite love poems ever penned.

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

~e. e. cummings

36 thoughts on “A Poets’ Tea

  1. love laced and beribboned with poetry, oh, blessed beginning….you are dream come true for the lovely heart who’s discovered her life’s infinite vessel in your sweet once-upon-a-boy….

    a bounty of blessings on all of you as these sacred days unfurl…..

    • Don’t you make me cry, my loving friend, with your poignant way of weaving words: “once-upon-a-boy….”

      Thank you for the blessings you send; I hold them close to my heart. xoxox

  2. Oh my Dear Amy, this is possibly the loveliest thing I have seen. What a lucky girl your ‘bride to be’ is to be joining such a wonderfully loving family, and what a lucky man your son must be to have found a bride to induce such beauty! This is all so beautiful, just paradise, it took my breath and had me in tears of joy right from start to finish. How wonderful of you! Much Joy ahead for your son and daughter-in-law to be! Thank you dear heart for sharing this. ♥

  3. You are wholly in your nest among the poets, and oh! those beautiful eggs, imprinted with sweet promises of love eternal. Such a gorgeous tea service, and a glorious welcome to the lucky bride-to-be. You are a creative spirit, through and through, and I am in awe.

  4. Amy, you and Jeff are a daughter-in-law’s dream. Your thoughtfulness and meaningful touches throughout the tea show her how much you value her and that you welcome her into your family with open hearts. Well done, my friend.

  5. How beautiful, Amy, one of your very best. Loved every word and picture. I’m sure all of your followers are thinking how generous it is of you to share your happiness with them.

  6. This is the loveliest post I’ve seen in a long time! Thank you for sharing these words and pictures! How exciting for your son and his soon- to- be wife! What lovely momentos of the special day, too!

  7. This is so fabulous. I’m sure you’ll want your old friends back in their frames, but glad you are enjoying this wonderful gang for a while. I loved my first glimpse of Louisa. And of course the story of that English class meeting!

    • Thank you, Jeannine! I love that we share a special love for Louisa. When I was arranging the flower vases, I looked up at her face framed in petals, and my heart stood still. And you’re right: I absolutely love being surrounded by this wonderful gang!

  8. What a beautiful idea for a bridal shower! Swooning over all the poets in their frames and of course those Cummings keepsakes. Best of luck to the lovely couple!

    • Jama, I swoon every time I walk into the living room! The poets have mystical power over me – I’m entirely under their spell! Thank you so much for your kind remarks and wishes. Blessings~ xoxo

  9. Amy, your artistry and imagination know no bounds. This is the loveliest idea ever. How I wish I could come for tea with you and the poets before they all disappear from their frames. Thank you for sharing this special day with the rest of us! A favorite poem, too.

    • Oh, how I wish you could come for tea with the poets and me, Katrina! If I have a say in it, they’ll stay in their frames a good long while… Thank you, dear friend. xoxoxox

  10. Oh, this is just phenomenal! The theme, the love that went into all of the prep (which rings through loud and clear), that they met in an English class (my favorite)–and the beautiful poem (a personal favorite). You truly have an art for weaving the divine into the ordinary, everyday moments, Amy. Blessings to all of you at this happy time!

    • Yes, they met in English class, a good omen! Love knowing you also love “i carry your heart with me”.

      The divine hides in plain sight for each one of us, just waiting to be noticed. Don’t you agree?

      Thank you for these kind remarks and blessings, dear friend! xoxox

  11. Dear Amy, Your soon to be daughter-in-law is one lucky girl. You are most creative! I love your vintage teacups, poetry vases, framed poets’ pictures, and the lovely keepsakes you made. The Poets’ Tea bridal shower: a day filled with love and treasured memories that you carry in your heart.

  12. Amy, What a gorgeous idea for shower, and all of you put so much creative thought into it. No wonder you have been such a busy bee! I was going to write to you and ask about what kind of food you served. It is true that this blog offers much food for thought, but as usual, (odd woman out) I appear to be the one thinking about dainties, teacakes and fancy sandwiches as well! 🙂 I love showers!

    • Thank you so much, dear Margaret! (Mind you, I would have loved to fly you down from Winnipeg to cater our Poets’ Tea with your signature delectables!)

      Since our tea was held from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., we kept the fare simple. We served skewers of fresh strawberries, pineapple, grapes, and melons cut into the shape of flowers and arranged bouquet-style in a pretty basket. On a three-tiered silver dessert tray were Scottish shortbread and an assortment of divine chocolates made by a local confectionery: dark chocolate caramels topped with pink Hawaiian sea salt, three kinds of chocolate mints, dark raspberry chocolates, and a few white chocolates with cheesecake centers. The chocolates were oohed and ahhed over, then disappeared quickly, as did the fresh fruit flowers! 🙂

      An electric tea kettle kept our water piping hot while our guests chose from among a wide assortment of teas. We also served coffee. Wish I could do it all over again! It was such fun. xoxo

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