Cinnamon by Jessy Scarphone
You come from a tree, a scent ripe eight leagues to the sea, on an island at India’s tip,
Cinnamon, your first, Hebrew name was quinnamon, sweetest wood in the world.
Sailors from far off Portugal came looking for you,
Brown quill: a soft young shoot in wet air, cut to dry on the ground and curl,
Coil and whirl, sweetest wood in the world.
The ancients dreamed of a phoenix nesting in fragrant sticks, a bird so mighty she conquers death.
You scented her pyre, and she rose from fire, amid the sweetest wood in the world,
Cleopatra put you in her hair, romans fed you to pet bears, you arrived with fanfare from afar,
the scent of extravagance, opulence, sweetest wood in the world.
Columbus took off on his sail, seeking you, despite scary tales of giant snakes and monster birds,
Circling about to hide the bark with a secret inside, sweetest wood in the world.
You are especially easy to blend – the spice with difficult friends,
So nice to nutmeg and cloves, and mild in the flurry, we nicknamed curry,
Sweetest wood in the world.
Could you be the secret of Coke, the fizz that took over the globe?
You’re a surprise on a slice of toast, a twist in my mom’s pot roast,
A tingle in sticks of red gum, the core of buttery bun, a lilt in egg nog,
A light in a fog, when we are ill – cinnamon , quinnamon, sweetest wood in the world.