Can Humans Smell Beauty

Can Humans Smell Beauty

She sensed him more and more
when he was no more.
His scent filled hands otherwise vacant.
“I can’t” was all she would have said,
had she said.

The scent was not of rot, or cold,
but of the boldly fresh, the warm,
that is to say, a child’s head,
sun suddenly, the sweetness of just sitting
on a picnic table
or swing,
the aroma of singing or of being able
to sing,
what you hold to your breast when you notice
your heart beating,
or hurting,
that kind of thing,
what you hold to your breast
when it’s your heart you would hold. 

****************************

For Magaly Guerrero’s prompt on Real Toads, which included the great question, which is the title here.  It doesn’t quite work as the title, but I haven’t come up with something else. 

The drawing is also mine (Karin Gustafson).  As always, all rights reserved. 

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15 Comments on “Can Humans Smell Beauty”


  1. This so reminds me of my aunt and the way she kept my uncle’s sweaters for their scent… in the absence you will hold on to the scent….


  2. Those closing lines are especially perfect, Karin. Wonderful!


  3. Certain scents bring specific people to mind. Your poem is the smell of longing to me.

  4. Jim Says:

    We hold what is dear to our hearts. This thought got my attention, ” … was all she would have said, had she said.” I have not other words for it, it’s a mind twister. Nice to see you back, I hope you are okay. 🙂
    ..


  5. So true. Beauty holds the scent of love and lost and more.

  6. M Says:

    oh my, k. thank you ~

  7. sanaarizvi Says:

    My goodness this is the most tender and beautiful piece of writing ever, K! ❤️

  8. Susie Clevenger Says:

    Out of the blue a scent will arrive and I am enfolded in a memory. This is so beautifully written.


  9. Ah, the poignancy reaches its peak with the sensitivity and tenderness of these images and the ensuing smells of beauty. It’s so bittersweet to read these lines time and again (and again):
    “the aroma of singing or of being able
    to sing,
    what you hold to your breast when you notice
    your heart beating,
    or hurting”

  10. Marian Says:

    So beautiful, Karin. My favorite line, “that kind of thing” perfect here.

  11. Kerry Says:

    what you hold to your breast

    This poem touches me deeply.


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