Poetics: The Smell of Chrysanthemums

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Welcome to the dVerse Poets Pub for Tuesday Poetics with Kim of Writing in North Norfolk.

We are now in the middle of autumn. Soon the clocks will be going forward in quite a few countries across the world and the nights will be drawing in earlier.

I have been thinking about some of the things we associate with this time of year, such as various flowers, nuts, berries, conkers and fallen leaves, and would like you choose one autumnal item, take a closer look at it in all its glory with your poetic microscope and write a poem about it. It could be an ode to whatever it is, a poem from its point of view, or a collage of different types of that particular thing. You can focus on any aspect: sight, feel, taste, sound or smell, or a combination of any or all of them. This will, of course, be a different experience depending on whether you live in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere.

I have found a wonderful example in a poem by the British poet Elizabeth Jennings (1926 – 2011), which spills over with autumn:

The Smell of Chrysanthemums

The chestnut leaves are toasted. Conkers spill
Upon the pavements. Gold is vying with
Yellow, ochre, brown. There is a feel
Of dyings and departures. Smoky breath
Rises and I know how Winter comes
When I can smell the rich chrysanthemums.

It is so poignant and it makes me mourn
For what? The going year? The sun’s eclipse?
All these and more. I see the dead leaves burn
And everywhere the summer lies in heaps.
I close my eyes and feel how Winter comes
With acrid incense of chrysanthemums.

I shall not go to school again and yet
There’s an old sadness that disturbs me most.
The nights come early; every bold sunset
Tells me that Autumn soon will be a ghost,
But I know best how Winter always comes
In the wide scent of strong Chrysanthemums.

Elizabeth Jennings

Image result for chrysanthemums

Image found on chrysanthemums.org

The challenge is to write a poem, of any length or form, about an item of autumn: whole tree or just a leaf or nut; flower, berry, a bonfire in the garden – it’s up to you, just as long as the poem is new.

If you are new, here’s how to join in:

  • Write a poem in response to the challenge;
  • Enter a link directly to your poem and your name by clicking Mr Linky below;
  • There you will find links to other poets, and more will join so check back to see more poems;
  • Read and comment on other poet’s work, we all come here to have our poems read;
  • Please link back to dVerse from your site/blog;
  • Comment and participate in our discussion below, if you like.  We are a friendly bunch of poets.
  • Have fun.

I look forward to seeing autumn in new and different ways through your personal poetic lenses.