! Being Today - Poem by Michael Shepherd
Today is that day
not on the calendar,
as National Olfactory Day,
but far more exciting than that:
the day when scent, fragrance, smell,
awoke on the warm sunlit air from a winter's sleep
and out of nowhere easily spoken of
produced a whole new world.
The first shock was the hedge two doors down
which yesterday was a green hedge with white bits
but today a burst of fragrance, a Hallelujah Chorus
transcribed to be played with or on or in the nose.
The restaurant two blocks up
unleashed from its kitchen
garlic that burst out like a bunch of singing nudists into the street
cavorting shamelessly and shouting to the world
every Mediterranean memory
of romantic meals and much else
that one thought private.
Then subtle smells that made one into a cat or dog
pursuing trails not on the street map
and making beaten tracks into voyages of discovery:
the baker's became a European trip of fresh morning bread
with another hundred freeze-dried memories unloosed;
And all down the street,
other people's lunches opened their front doors
and said 'Come and join us! We're having roast beef today
with all the trimmings, and we've enough smell
to feed the five thousand! '
and a hundred gardens one thought dormant
leaned on the front gate
and exchanged the time of year with a childlike innocence
that couldn't be told to come inside this minute or else,
and presented nosegays to strangers
without asking for a contribution to a cause.
A day for bringing past happinesses out from the store cupboard
and giving them a shake and leaving them on the line
until the sunlight moves off
and the air leaves them cooler and even fresher;
and wondering whom one will be tomorrow,
if one can feel like this today.
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