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
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
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.
your belly to my hands
in the dry air and said
I am the cinnamon
peeler's wife. Smell me.
Michael Ondaatje (1982) from The Cinnamon Peeler: Selected Poems. New York: Vintage International, 1997
POETIC BITES (EXCERPTS FROM RESEARCH ESSAYS)
ARTFUL FARE RESPONSES (RESPONSE TO ART WORK)
RACHEL BESKAU (ENGLISH) is a second year English student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University; she plans on becoming a teacher at the secondary school level.
SARA GRIEVE (FINE ARTS) is a full time student in pursuit of a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts with an end goal of Art Education. Her chosen areas of study are painting and ceramics, however she approaches art and concepts openly and is keen to explore both traditional and nontraditional mediums.
GLENN NISHI (FINE ARTS) is a student majoring in Fine Arts. His favourite medium is printmaking and he hopes to become a Print Technician.
MARK ROBINSON (FINE ARTS) is a Fine Arts student at KPU, and he has no large plans for the future. He simply knows that creating art will be part of whichever plan he decides to follow.
MELLIZA QUETUA (ENGLISH) is majoring in English at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Following the completion of her BA, Melliza plans to teach English as a second language.