15 Nov 2016

Warming Her Pearls -- Carol Ann Duffy

Next to my own skin, her pearls. My mistress 
bids me wear them, warm them, until evening 
when I'll brush her hair. At six, I place them 
round her cool, white throat. All day I think of her,
resting in the Yellow Room, contemplating silk 
or taffeta, which gown tonight? She fans herself 
whilst I work willingly, my slow heat entering 
each pearl. Slack on my neck, her rope.
She's beautiful. I dream about her
in my attic bed; picture her dancing
with tall men, puzzled by my faint, persistent scent
beneath her French perfume, her milky stones.
I dust her shoulders with a rabbit's foot, 
watch the soft blush seep through her skin 
like an indolent sigh. In her looking-glass 
my red lips part as though I want to speak.
Full moon. Her carriage brings her home. I see 
her every movement in my head.... Undressing, 
taking off her jewels, her slim hand reaching 
for the case, slipping naked into bed, the way
she always does.... And I lie here awake, 
knowing the pearls are cooling even now 
in the room where my mistress sleeps. All night 
I feel their absence and I burn.

Source: www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/56715, retrieved 15 November 2016.
Original source: Duffy, Carol Ann, 1987, 'Warming Her Pearls' in Selling Manhattan,  Anvil Press Poetry, Ltd.

Quotes by Nayyirah Waheed

expect sadness
you expect rain.
cleanse you.


the ocean 
can calm itself, 
so can you.
are both 
salt water 
mixed with 

Retrieved 14 November 2016, www.nayyirahwaheed.com