Icon – Perfume and Poetry

I wrote this poem as part of a project for Lush’s new Gorilla Perfumes.  It was quite wonderful as Ericka Duffy, an officially titled ‘Top Banana’ at Gorilla or, as we like to call her, Goddess of Scent, sent myself and my friend the amazing poet and more Elspeth Murray each a box of perfumes from the new line to smell, wear, be inspired by and write poems about.  We then got to share what we’d written on Radio Scotland and at the splendid Scottish Poetry Library, at a joyous, perfume-filled scent event/poetry reading.  Have a look at my poetry website, www.jlwilliamspoetry.co.uk, for a link to a recording of the radio programme where you can hear a couple of the poems being read, including this one.

for EM

I smell her first,
and this is what I see:
a still life with a copper bowl of bergamot,
a wooden bowl of shiny apples, a pile of cloves.
And then there is her silver hair in the wind,
her leather boots,
her red cape smelling of wool and rain;
bitter, rich and sweet,
and this is her, coming from weather
to the fire in the library,
the spines of leather books whispering
her, her, as if it’s Christmas and she’s arrived
to take them down from their shelves, and rub them,
and read them to children sliding cloves into orange peel.

I smell her first, then I see her, then I see her again
as she will be someday, in a memory
that doesn’t even exist.

JL Williams   www.jlwilliamspoetry.co.uk   2011

Photos (c) Chris Scott   2011  http://www.chrisdonia.co.uk/

Poem submissions welcome – I’d like to start up a publishing stream of scent-inspired poems and flash fictions so do send them in to jusperfume@gmail.com.


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