Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dehairing (Poem)

Dehairing

Fibers of prayer rugs
unrolling at the call

of the muezzin remind
us the wool is coarse,

the Mughal unyielding
in push to sort and scour.

We look for the boteh
in what we can not see,

both card and comb
below the guard hairs,

beat out the dirt to claim
the virgin yield we spin

to insulate ourselves in
underdown. Our shawls —

our veils before the light
beckoning from minaret —

drop as we fall in Kashmir,
chanting our incantations

of many-patterned sorrows
we let shed naturally in His

name, woven in closeness
of skin over red, raw heart.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas
________________________________

This poem is a response to L.L. Barkat's call for poetry about cashmere. You'll find a post about that call on the T.S. Poetry Press Wall on FaceBook.

Dehairing is a step in the production of cashmere.

Boteh (or buta) means flower and refers to the principal motif associated with Kashmir shawls, the repetitive curvilinear shape called paisley, taken up in the Mughal period and thereafter increasingly stylized. Its different forms correspond to different periods in shawls' creation.

7 comments:

L.L. Barkat said...

oh, this part...

"woven in closeness
of skin over red"

I could use some woven closeness on this winter-fall day.

Louise Gallagher said...

This is beautiful Maureen. warms my heart like a cashmere shawl wrapped around my shoulders.

nance marie said...

you take us on a journey
to another land

violet said...

Wonderful poem, Maureen! It encompasses so many aspects of cashmere but in a culture-affirming, not clinical way.

jen revved said...

I love the specificity of this poem, Maureen-- rich, complex-- very beautiful-- I love

We look for the boteh
in what we can not see,

both card and comb
below the guard hairs,

beat out the dirt to claim
the virgin yield we spin

to insulate ourselves in
underdown.


xxxj

Monica Sharman said...

You are so good at increasing my vocabulary, Maureen. :)

Hannah Stephenson said...

Wonderful textures and sounds in this poem...