Incense and innocence

Christmas smelled like tangerine,
fire placed and slowly peeled, while
waiting in a whiff of resin roast and firewood;
and from the woods a hint of moss and mulch.

The day before we’d cut the Christmas tree,
we brought moss and evergreens,
to green the grayness and our tables with…
Food was cooked and we had gingerbread.

Now it’s gone, we do not celebrate
the way with did, we ceased before
my father died, we sold the house now
only tangs of wood and tangerine brings back

the childhood and my innocence…
This — an incense of what once was home.

Now it’s Christmas again by Carl Larsson

Today Gina hosts Poetics at dVerse, and she wants us to go back to smells that spells the deepest sense of safety for us. For me it’s probably Christmas we used to celebrate when I was a child in our Country House…

October 2, 2018

22 responses to “Incense and innocence

  1. The smells of Christimas definitely brings me back to my childhood home. Love the smell of tangerine, wood, evergreen, and gingerbread. It is sad and nostalgic when our parents/family member dies as it changes our “happy” celebration.

  2. Another touching slice of your past, brother, Christmas was a huge deal in our family. But after my mother died, so did our holiday enthusiasm.

  3. Christmas has a certain smell, you’re right. And smells whisk us back through time. I’m enjoying these poems a lot – I loved this little dip into your Christmas memories.

  4. The first line just grabbed me a tugged me into the illustration, Bjorn! I love the lines:
    ‘waiting in a whiff of resin roast and firewood;
    and from the woods a hint of moss and mulch’
    and gingerbread! I haven’t seen gingerbread for such a long time. I enjoyed your incense of home.

  5. Oh Christmas! There is nothing quite like that time of the year. Your poem took a melancholy turn with the death of the narrator’s father, but I love that there are happy memories regardless.

  6. Oh I want to be there, it is so how home and Christmas should be. I know that time marches on and we lose what we had but we can recreate it still for those we love.

  7. A sense of nostalgic yearning for what used to be, mixed with a sense of knowing it can never be again. I share the nostalgia!

  8. smells that take you back to a place of innocence was very profound Bjorn. that never crossed my mind till I read your poem. associating safeness to a time our vulnerability had no threat, truly a long forgotten feeling of safety. oh and i so love the tradition of bringing the outdoors into a home, bonding us even tighter to nature and our origins.

  9. Love this, the way the poem story wraps round from childhood happenings to the way smells bring back those memories

  10. beautiful poem! we call small tangerines christmas oranges, they start to show up at the stores around this time, for sure a scent to bring memories back.

  11. It’s poignant to recognise what is lost and no longer celebrated, but the memories are there and traditions can be revived.

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