Poetry

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Part of a window at La Basilica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. Taken in March 2016 by moi.

I was looking for a quote from Pablo Neruda when I came across a few other poems I wanted to share. The first one is also a  translated Spanish poem by Fernando Pessoa. I’m going to reserve judgment until I read more of his corpus, and then attempt to read and understand it in Spanish, but I’m kind of into this one, if only because it surrounds fragrance and humanity.

I know many people, myself included, who gladly wear the badge of “unnatural and strange” who also adore perfume. I may drop this into the purview of a few people in the fragrance community. 

THE UNNATURAL AND THE STRANGE

The unnatural and the strange
Have a perfume of their own
Full of the constancy in chance,
Of the smile at heart a groan:
The unnatural and the strange
Have a perfume of their own.

Flowers are they in a vase
Of no human workmanship,
The unnatural that dismays
And the strange strong as a whip:
Flowers are they in a vase
Of no human workmanship.

They have the scent of troubled peace,
Of disturbed halls of joy,
This the scent they have, which is
A thing half to sting and cloy:
They have the scent of troubled peace,
Of disturbed halls of joy.

The unnatural and the strange
Have a perfume of their own
That of human flesh, of change
Made corruption without moan:
The unnatural and the strange
Have a perfume of their own.

I wonder what I’d evoke in a scent of troubled peace. According to Bond No. 9 who creates The Scent of Peace and The Scent of Peace for Him, peace smells light, airy, and fruity. I would guess then that troubled peace smells like all of the above but with a dark stone, petrol, and tire smell. Like the smell of New York farmer’s markets in the summer heat. That dense bit clinging onto skin even as the prettier notes fade away, leaving only “trouble.”

I also found a much more inappropriate little piece that I liked called The Vine by Robert Herrick.

THE VINE

I dreamed this mortal part of mine
Was metamorphosed to a vine,
Which crawling one and every way
Enthralled my dainty Lucia.
Methought her long small legs and thighs
I with my tendrils did surprise;
Her belly, buttocks, and her waist
By my soft nervelets were embraced.
About her head I writhing hung,
And with rich clusters (hid among
The leaves) her temples I behung,
So that my Lucia seemed to me
Young Bacchus ravished by his tree.
My curls about her neck did crawl,
And arms and hands they did enthrall,
So that she could not freely stir
(All parts there made one prisoner).
But when I crept with leaves to hide
Those parts which maids keep unespied,
Such fleeting pleasures there I took
That with the fancy I awoke;
And found (ah me!) this flesh of mine
More like a stock than like a vine.

I think it’s rather erotic but also quite a giggler.

The Pablo Neruda quote I was looking for and eventually found is of course from Sonnet XVII:

SONNET XVII; STANZA II

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I imagine holding a bouquet of the most glorious nose-pleasers wrapped tightly in a soft fabric that keeps the fragrance in and clutching it to my chest tightly.

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