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.

No comments:

Post a Comment