Lilacs smell goodbye

At spring when there is lilac in the air:
a scent so sweet to bring me back
to end of school: we hugged and promised:
it’s not goodbye it’s called au revoir, we’ll
meet again; and sure a year went by,
and once again.we met; “See, we’re
mates forever, it’s still au revoir”. But
then another year, a year again.
and now, perfumed by lilacs, I can feel
how paths diverge, how friends are those
that wander with you just a while and in
a scent of lilac parting come; it’s always
a goodbye, because as school is out, or job
is done the roads have forked, and nowhere
close a common crossroad can be seen…

Lilacs by the sea by David Burliuk

Lilacs by the sea by David Burliuk

Today Abhra has poetics at dVerse and wants us to write about saying goodbye without meaning it. At this time of the year when school are ending I remember the promises we made to meet again and never did. Here in Sweden lilacs bloom at this time of the year, and to me it’s a flower that symbolize the end of school.
May 24, 2017

29 responses to “Lilacs smell goodbye

  1. This is very true, and like you I’ve lost contact with school friends. We all move on, make new friends who share new interests.

  2. Too true. Some of my “best friends” that were destined to be “friends for life” have barely entered my thoughts in the last 20 or 30 years.

  3. True that, brother, but ironically, it was Facebook, 8 years ago, that put me back in touch with dozens of “old” friends; kind of cool, that. I liked your lines /friends are those/that wander with you just a while/.

  4. So much truth in this…so many friendships that wither as life takes different directions and we become so busy. Usually there are a few that endure and for that, I’m grateful.

  5. au revoir – very rightly said. I understand very little French but this reminds me the beauty of language once again.

  6. Yes but then, I wasn’t into my school buddies that much. My university friends and I say friends lightly and broadly, except for an old lover, are long long gone. And to be honest, I don’t miss them. Love the looking back tone in this and the overall scent of lilacs. In this part of the country, the scents of graduation are honeysuckle and magnolia – the American magnolia and not the tulip type – the dinner plate sized white creamy blooms with the incredibly rich rose-citrus smell.

  7. Those last lines are absolutely wonderful, Bjorn. So full of sweetness and sadness all at once. I too think about these parting moments from friends… and you never really see them again. Where did they go??

  8. For me, the good-bye flower, is the Japanese Cherry blossom, here for a short time, but it’s time of beauty and grace. There few people, for whom, I wish I had maintain contact with, over the years, but most, are blips on my radar screen.

  9. I love the voice you’ve taken in this, B, and the underlying scent of lilacs with each goodbye.

    “and now, perfumed by lilacs, I can feel
    how paths diverge”

  10. You’re right Bjorn, I never can keep people around long enough. I’ve missed so many people I like. If I see them after just a while, I can’t remember their names.

  11. You expressed what I have been thinking the past few weeks. Sad as it is, people come and go – that’s just the way it is but then, our lives are richer because people came into our lives.

  12. This is beautiful. I always thing of my grandmother when I smell the lilac scent. Tis true — our ways and roads diverge so much. I do like the feeling of au revoir instead of “goodbye”.

  13. There’s always that other path, the divergent road. Sooner or later we taken the trail that suits us and we say our fond farewell. No matter how you slice it, it is still a goodbye. Well penned, Bjorn.

  14. Your poem holds an eternal truth. We’ve lived in France for nigh on 30 years, and had many many friends, French and British. Many have died or moved back so UK, some to keep in touch, others to disappear over the horizon. The penalty of growing old.

  15. A lovely, emotive piece. By coincidence, the smell of lilacs always reminds me of the end of school in Northern Ontario. The bushes bloomed around that time, and children who had lilacs growing in their yards would bring in huge bouquets to the teacher … as classes were ending for the year.

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