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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "A Recollection of Smells"

This poem came out of the March 2013 Creative Jam.  It was inspired by a prompt from zianuray and the #3 Edition slot in the Rainbowfic Vellum list.  It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.  This poem belongs to the series Tripping into the Future, which you can find on the Serial Poetry page.

A Recollection of Smells

It is the wind that
catches you off-guard this time,
wrapping invisible fingers
around your throat
to choke you with
a scent of memory.

You stand at the edge
of the field you've planted,
where the first pink shoots
are just beginning to show,
bright against the dull soil
that is not and never will be

You turn your face
into the breeze,
remembering how lilacs smell,
but it isn't lilacs at all --

it is a row of bushes
with reddish-bronze leaves
and long pannicles of
burnt orange blossoms --

but as long as
you don't have to face them
you can pretend,
for a moment,
that they are lilacs.

This world has written
a different edition of life,
strange botany
pressed like flowers
between the pages of a book,
and perhaps it is no wonder
that creation has
cribbed from itself.

The world that you knew
is gone now, lost
in the distant ripples of history,
and you have no one
else to blame:
you threw the stone yourself,
threw yourself like a stone,
pulled your enemies down
into the dark muck of entropy.

Flowers, you recall,
grow up from muck,
and the scent of them
is wringing tears from you
like water from a twisted rag.

You set yourself the task
of learning them,
studying this edition
because it is all you have left
of the long library of wildlife,
flower and fur and feather and all.

You will gather what is
and memorialize what was,
a recollection of smells
from the pink and orange and purple
from the bushes and vines and herbs,
beginning with these,
here, at the edge of the field.

Fire lilacs,
you decide to call them,
and you wonder
if it will ever be remembered

that lilac
once meant purple
instead of orange.

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4 comments or Leave a comment
zianuray From: zianuray Date: May 28th, 2013 01:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I love how you can take a few scrambled words I had to flail around to express and go so perfectly beyond what I ever intended and make it better.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 28th, 2013 01:21 am (UTC) (Link)


That makes me happy. It's also what makes the crowdfunding world go 'round, that exchange between audience and author. I love it from all possible directions.
From: technoshaman Date: May 28th, 2013 01:43 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yay!

Mmmmm. How many people today remember that *carrot* used to be purple instead of orange? (You can still get them... but they're rare.)

That's the second time for a scent memory today. :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 28th, 2013 04:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yay!

I have seen the purple ones, but yeah, they're rare.

I like using scent as a memory cue.
4 comments or Leave a comment