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The Suddenness of Scent

by Oonah V. Joslin

Today I smelt the woodland
sudden, wild,
my being skipped a beat.

An adult child
new to the gaseous dank
of muddy pond,
mushroom earth-notes,
herbal, green delight,
and peppery frond,

I drink each blessed draught
of seeded air,
sniff every fresh infusion
garlic, nettle, dog rose, pine,
leaf mould musk,
fungi waiting to burst.

I sample the sappy citrus of the common lime,
cedar, beech, fir,
odours of another time that trees lift daily
upwards to the sky.
The giant redwood gifts its warm, amber yeast.
A celebrant, I touch its hairy bark,
offer a silent grace for this olfactory feast,
of biochemical broth,
that those with normal sense of smell
take so for granted.

Whilst I, like some wild spirit freed,
feel a need to exclaim,
  Oh my!
proclaim aloud delight at each sensation,
  What is that fragrance?
give voice to this
  Can you smell that?
intimacy of wordless conversation.

Do you smell it? The wood
to attention for the rain,
the first
enlivening, August rain after an unaccustomed month
of heat.

Tomorrow I may
lose the miracle. Ah, but today
more temperate,
I smelt the world,
communed with all the woodland web,
and I am happy.

Copyright © 2019 by Oonah V. Joslin

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