Friday, July 22, 2011

"Leaves scarcely breathing..."

Leaves scarcely breathing
in the black breeze;
the flickering swallow
draws circles in the dusk.

In my loving
dying heart
a twilight is coming,
a last ray, gently reproaching.

From Stone 24 by Osip Mandelstam, trans. by Clarence Brown & W.S. Merwin, The selected poems of Osip Mandelstam

Summer, Gustave Doré, 1860-70

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Australian poet, edible perfume, etc.

Now my five senses
gather into a meaning
all acts, all presences;
and as a lily gathers
the elements together,
in me this dark and shining,
that stillness and that moving,
these shapes that spring from nothing,
become a rhythm that dances,
a pure design.

From "Five Senses" by Judith Wright. You can read a profile of Wright here, and there's an interesting interview with her here.


Wright’s poem about the commingling of the senses seems like an appropriate introduction to my first perfume post in -– what? Must be months. To be honest, I doubted I’d ever write about perfume here again. Not that I’ve lost my love for the stuff. I’ve just lost much of my enthusiasm for writing about it, in part because writing about it usually means acquiring it, and I am presently not in a mood to acquire things. Even an extra 2ml vial seems like a major addition to the clutter around here. I have fantasies about mysterious men in trucks showing up some morning and carting it all away, leaving me nothing but my books, my bed and the coffee pot.

That said, pleasure-seeking still trumps my monastic impulse occasionally, so when Julie Rose (who writes wonderfully at Everything is Interesting) contacted me recently about a lovely discovery she’d made at a farmer’s market in Maine, I couldn’t resist checking it out. Seems Julie ran into an old acquaintance named Kathi Langelier who has started a business devoted to handmade herbal products. Kathi’s creations include floral and herbal elixirs that Julie described to me as “basically edible perfume.” This, I had to try. Kathi has been kind enough to send me some samples, including Wild Rose, Ginger, Lavender and Chocolate Love. The base is made with locally sourced raw honey, and the organic essences include lavender and wild rose that Kathi harvests herself. Julie declared them “intoxicating” and I agree. When I opened the bottle of Wild Rose, my first thought was OMG, my rose HG. It has a rich, almost boozy rose fragrance, as potent as any rose soliflore in my perfume cabinet. But, unlike my many rose oils, attars, etc., this rose I can eat. Kathi recommends putting a few drops into tea or water, but you can also take it straight from the dropper, and it’s absolutely delicious. The Lavender is just as delightful, with a combination of flavor and aroma that could satisfy the most powerful lavender jones. The Ginger and Chocolate Love aren’t quite as impressive on the fragrance front, but they certainly taste great, and I’m fascinated by the composition of the Chocolate Love, which includes – in addition to raw cacao – damiana, ginseng, hawthorn berries, maca root and saw palmetto. Quite an herbal aphrodisiac.

You can check out the elixirs for yourself at Kathi’s Etsy site, or on Facebook. Happy dosing.

The Five Senses and the Four Elements, Jacques Linard, 1627