In the drawing rooms round Chelsea
and in council flats in Brent
in quaint cottages in Cornwall
and in oasthouses in Kent.
in most rural Wiltshire kitchens
and in Torquay hotel rooms
on the staircases at Oxbridge
and in rectories near Frome.
From the rolling Yorkshire hillsides
to the swampy Norfolk Broads
they take it three times daily
- though just the once at Lord's.

Golden tippy orange pekoe,
rolled and oxidised and bruised.
in a calm, yet arcane ritual
will be artfully infused
with fresh water just at boiling
in a vessel, short and stout
left to steep for three clear minutes
to let all the goodness out
in a group, an incantation
might be used, although it's daft
and the words "shall I be mother?"
will announce the amber draught.

It's the English penicillin
its the balm for all their ills
for heartbreak or for heartburn
for hysterics, hives, or chills
it can soothe their shattered psyche
it can ease their troubled mind
no matter what the problem
there's no better cure to find.
Through the length and breadth of England
when life's black as it can be
they'll just murmur "mustn't grumble"
- and have a nice, hot cup of tea.

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