Sunday, February 14, 2010

What time is it? It's Valentimes!

On this day of loves and stuff, I thought I would share one of my favorite lovey poems. There have been papers written on this poem talking about how a man dominated society makes women dependent on them for identity. Some see it as a beautiful depiction of appropriate marital passion.

Personally, I just find this poem extremely sexy in a not trashy way.
THE CINNAMON PEELER by Michael Ondaatje

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 the rain gutters, monsoon.

 Here on the upper thigh
 at this smooth pasture
 neighbour to your 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.