Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Place of Scent

The Place of Scent

Then I went to where scent discovers all its harmonies.

Here is the dark red perfume of the rose; the drowsy quiet of bean-fields in the dusk; the gentle death of autumn in deep woods; and the clean smell of ploughland after rain.

The friendly wood-smoke of a cooking-fire; the satisfying smell of baking bread; the earth-forgotten green of new-cut grass; the moon-drunk sweetness of night-blooming flowers.

The warmth of clover murmurous with bees; the sleepy peace of avenues of limes; the tuberose’s languorous caress; the chill austerity of alpine flowers.

The yellow warmth of primroses at noon; the scent of water running over stones; the lonely sorrow of the river mist; the smooth white smell of linen, and of snow.

The dusty wisdom of papyrus rolls; and the warm spice of cedarwood and myrrh; the hot impatient smell of spikenard; and tarnished silver’s half-remembered dreams.

The clear sharp energy of lemon rind; the lovers’ ecstasy of orange trees; the melancholy smell of winter nights; and hyacinth’s azure echo of the spring.

The salty challenge of wind-driven spray – that wander-urging message of the sea; the gentle memories of sun-dried flowers the still abandonment of fields at noon.

The moth-winged purple of new gathered grapes; the easy laughter of a jar of beer; the excitement of a gallop-sweated horse; and the proud splendour of the manes of lions.

The acrid keenness of a copper sword; and the brave smell of torches in the wind; the musky pomp of ceremonial robes; and the solemnity of bitumen.

Here can our nostrils so delight our hearts that we forget colour and are blind to sound.

- Joan Grant, from Winged Pharaoh 1937

photo: Los Olivos, California  Lura Astor