A poem to read in the bath… ‘The Cinnamon Peeler’

This is one of the most sensuous poems I have read, it conjures up love and desire and… cinnamon. By Michael Ondaatje [below], better known for novel and film The English Patient, it is an assault of the senses. I first read it in the anthology Staying Alive edited by Neil Astley [UK: Bloodaxe]. That’s why I love anthologies, I own all three of the Astley trilogy: Staying Alive, Being Alive and Being Human. All are excellent, a great way of finding new poets, great to dip in and out of.

Michael Ondaatje

[illustration: newyorker.com & Patrick Long]

Because of copyright restrictions I am unable to reproduce the poem in full, but please search it out in an anthology or at your local library.

‘The Cinnamon Peeler’
If I were a cinnamon peeler
I would ride your bed
And leave the yellow bark dust
On your pillow.

Your breast 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.

To listen to The Cinnamon Peeler, read by Michael Cerveris for The Poetry Foundation, click here.

Michael Ondaatje


The Cinnamon Peeler: Selected Poems’ by Michael Ondaatje [UK: Bloomsbury] 

Read these other excerpts and find a new poet to love:-
The Dead’ by Billy Collins
‘Elegy of a Common Soldier’ by Dennis B Wilson
‘Poems’ by Ruth Stone

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A #poem to read in the bath: ‘The Cinnamon Peeler’ by Michael Ondaatje http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1M4 via @SandraDanby


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