Friday, April 17, 2015

Carpe Diem Time Machine #8, Perfume

It is always impressive how quickly a blind person can read with braille, and how cleverly deaf people can read lips. 

People who have lost the use of one sense often have more acute other senses. But people who lose their sense of smell lose their joy of life. With no smell comes no taste. I am not sure how I would feel stepping out among the trees and not being able to breathe in the forest aromas. I am sure I would not be able to make my pine oil.

There are women who do not wear make-up, and who do not colour their hair. But I do not know any women who do not wear perfume. Fragrance can be stronger than imagery in evoking the senses, and the traditional ingrediants to a natural perfume are remarkably similar to those of a successful haiku.

I have a strong feeling that the best way to write a haiku about perfume is to set it out as a kikôbun. Kikôbun is a literary travel journey entry; a set of notes similar in format to haibun. 

Within the time frame of 24 hours, see if you can compose a kikôbun, a haiku with literary travel notes, that leave a lingering aroma to enhance the feel of the environment. Mine is below as an example.

After the rain the sun steams raindrops off the trees, and the forest perhaps is at its most aromatic. Yesterday, after the rainfall I chose the tiniest, most directionless paths, the ones deer take and hunters sometimes find, so that I was able to lose myself in thought. 

among the birch trees
the perfume of her hair
I slow my pace

I also found a nice haiku (below) to put some notes to and make a kikôbun. Yes…it’s by a haiku poet called…Chèvrefeuille

Summer nights in Aberdeen, northern Scotland, were wonderfully long, and colourful. Walking along the lane up from the harbour, past 11.00 pm, the sun would still be casting its radiant glow over a street lined with yellow roses — my native Aberdeen is famous for its roses, and their light, intoxicating aroma in the air. I was suddenly reminded of those memories today.

sitting in the garden
the sweet smell of roses
 — the cry of seagulls

© Chèvrefeuille

Please try a short kikôbun on the theme of ‘Perfume.’ The link is ready for you at 7.00 pm Dutch time and will be open for just 48 hours.


  1. what a gorgeous picture.
    I want to walk there and touch that bark and feel the path below my feet.
    If I had to choose between losing the sense of touch or smell, I would keep the former I think.
    Nice prompt Hamish, thank you.

  2. YES!!! Reaching into nature - using scent - in kikôbun! Rather than gush on and on I'll just say -- GREAT POST, Hamish --- awesome!!!!