One of the Peruvian writer Sui-Yun's Four Short Poems (translated from Spanish by Jennifer Shyue) is written as addressed to "Eve, my eternal mother".

I hope I'm not being excessively dirty-minded in reading the verse about "licking the tip of evil" as a sexual reference: particularly in light of the poems as a whole being described as meditations "on sin and sensual pleasure", and the last two containing more blatant sexual imagery. But the rest of the poem is more confusing to me:

To turn away from evil
I’ve crammed my jars full
of somber recollections
calling to the unknown silks
radiating from my body

To turn away from evil
I’ve added every letter of your body
to my body, tattooing myself whole.

The "jars" presumably refers to jars of memory, being filled with recollections to remind the speaker to turn away from evil. But what are the "unknown silks radiating from my body"?

The last verse is even stranger: why would the speaker tattoo every letter of Eve onto her body? What does this represent? How does it (or for that matter the things described in the earlier verses) help her to erase sins or "turn away from evil"?

Do the jars, silks, and tattoos actually symbolise something else? Is there some biblical significance, perhaps relating to the original story of Adam and Eve?

  • My lunch break is over so I shan’t delve into this right now, but this book seems a promising avenue books.google.co.uk/… – Spagirl Sep 17 at 13:22
  • @Spagirl That page isn't viewable from my location, but from surrounding pages I see it has something about Sui-Yun. Does it say something about this specific poem? – Rand al'Thor Sep 17 at 17:37
  • Alas, it won’t let me see it now either. The book was called ‘Dragons in the Land of the Condor: Writing Tusán in Peru’ if that helps at all. The page I lit on made reference to Sui-Yun’s identifying more closely with the natural world than any national culture, and some reference to Christianity (possibly rejection of). I wondered if silks were a reference to Chinese traditional clothing. – Spagirl Sep 17 at 17:50
  • @Spagirl I don't know much about the poet's background. She's described as Peruvian, but her name seems more Chinese. These four poems were part of a collection by "Asian Peruvian" writers, whatever that means. Might be some interesting background to dig into, if you're right that cultural references are involved here. (The Girl With The Eve Tattoo???) – Rand al'Thor Sep 17 at 17:53
  • apparently there is a significant sino-Peruvian literary community. Which is just one of the many things I’ve learned today! ubcpress.ca/dragons-in-the-land-of-the-condor – Spagirl Sep 17 at 18:02

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