Saturday, April 11, 2009

April 11th - National Poetry Month- Michael Ondaatje

The Cinnamon Peeler

If I were a cinnamon peeler
I would ride your bed
And leave the yellow bark dust
On your pillow.

Your breasts and shoulders would reek
You could never walk through markets
without the profession of my fingers
floating over you. The blind would
stumble certain of whom they approached
though you might bathe
under rain gutters, monsoon.

Here on the upper thigh
at this smooth pasture
neighbour to you hair
or the crease
that cuts your back. This ankle.
You will be known among strangers
as the cinnamon peeler's wife.

I could hardly glance at you
before marriage
never touch you
--your keen nosed mother, your rough brothers.
I buried my hands
in saffron, disguised them
over smoking tar,
helped the honey gatherers...

When we swam once
I touched you in the water
and our bodies remained free,
you could hold me and be blind of smell.
you climbed the bank and said

this is how you touch other women
the grass cutter's wife, the lime burner's daughter.
And you searched your arms
for the missing perfume

and knew

what good is it
to be the lime burner's daughter
left with no trace
as if not spoken to in the act of love
as if wounded without the pleasure of a scar.

You touched
your belly to my hands
in the dry air and said
I am the cinnamon
Peeler's wife. Smell me.

Michael Ondaatje (1943- )

Brief Bio and publication list

More bio and links to interviews


Blogger Vérité Parlant said...

I love that poem! Now I want to marry the poet. LOL. I'm going to go look up his work now (for reading purposes only.)

BTW, I'm the new NOLA Lit Examiner, Mata. Pls drop by and read my Walt Whitman article when you have a chance.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Mata H said...

Hi! yep most folks only know him as the author of "The English Patient". But he has several poetry volumes out -- I'd refer you to "Secular Love" and "There's a Trick With a Knife I'm Learning to Do"

6:15 PM  

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