Haiku of the Day : Snowflakes of Autumn

At the beginning of fall one of the resolutions I made was to go running on a regular basis. As they say, be careful what you wish for, because lately my days have been on a fast track. Nevertheless, one must carve out moments of contemplation even during busy, stressful periods, and my other autumnal resolution, to read more poetry, came to the rescue. Poetry concentrates images and sensations, and it’s an effect it shares with perfumery.

Japanese poet Yamazaki Sōkan (1465–1553) was a poet and calligrapher in the shogun’s court, but he gave up the courtier’s life and became a Buddhist monk. Though I have no wish to renounce the world, reading his poetry is like shutting out the noise and focusing on the beautiful. Today I bring you one of my favorite autumnal poems by this haiku master.

If they were silent
flights of herons on dark sky –
snowflakes of autumn.

To complete its effect, I would add Eau d’Italie Bois d’Ombrie, a wistful blend of woods and iris, with a hint of bonfire smoke. Or perhaps, Hermès Eau des Merveilles, the scent of an empty beach with a dark line of salty seaweed.

Please share your favorite poems or perfumes.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin



  • Kaleidoscope: I love that haiku and the Hermes fragrance, too!

    Recently, I wrote something (https://wwwkmw.blogspot.com/2017/09/things-fall-apart.html?q=poetry) inspired by a particular Yeats poem, “The Second Coming,” which chills me with its dark beauty each time I read it.

    Continuing with Yeats, I really like a phrase from his “A Prayer for My Daughter,” (taken out of context and thus, not meaning precisely what he intended). It provides a moment of relief in our present dour zeitgeist, so I plan to take his advice to “…eat a crazy salad.”

    Here is the relevant portion of the poem:

    “Helen being chosen found life flat and dull
    And later had much trouble from a fool,
    While that great Queen, that rose out of the spray,
    Being fatherless could have her way
    Yet chose a bandy-leggèd smith for man.
    It’s certain that fine women eat
    A crazy salad with their meat
    Whereby the Horn of Plenty is undone.”

    I like this Robert Frost poem, too:

    Come In

    As I came to the edge of the woods,
    Thrush music –hark!
    Now if it was dusk outside,
    Inside it was dark.

    Too dark in the woods for a bird
    By sleight of wing
    To better its perch for the night,
    Though it could still sing.

    The last of the light of the sun
    That had died in the west
    Still lived for one song more
    In a thrush’s breast.

    Far in the pillared dark
    Thrush music went —
    Almost like a call to come in
    To the dark and lament.

    But no, I was out for the stars;
    I would not come in.
    I meant not even if asked,
    And I hadn’t been. October 13, 2017 at 7:48am Reply

    • Nora Szekely: The Frost poem gave me goosebumps. October 16, 2017 at 5:21am Reply

      • Kaleidoscope: Yes, it is chilly, isn’t it? As moody as “The Road Not Taken” and”Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” but more unsettling, uncanny. October 16, 2017 at 10:32am Reply

    • Victoria: This poem was like a perfect gift last Friday. Thank you very much. October 16, 2017 at 11:32am Reply

      • Kaleidoscope: You are most welcome!

        Here is another one that moves me:


        Slowly the west reaches for clothes of new colors which it passes to a row of ancient trees.
        You look, and soon these two worlds both leave you
        One part climbs toward heaven, one sinks to earth.

        Leaving you, not really belonging to either,
        not so hopelessly dark as that house that is silent,
        not so unswervingly given to the eternal as that thing that turns to a star each night and climbs–

        Leaving you (it is impossible to untangle the threads)
        your own life, timid and standing high and growing,
        so that, sometimes blocked in, sometimes reaching out,
        one moment your life is a stone in you, and the next, a star.​

        ​–Rainer Maria Rilke October 18, 2017 at 9:39am Reply

        • Victoria: This is so moving and poignant. Thank you October 18, 2017 at 12:06pm Reply

  • Becky K.: I will admit that I have not read much poetry, but I want to read more from Basho, thanks to your article a few weeks ago. You included this quote by Basho: “I wandered on, a cloud in the wind, wanting only to capture the beauty of flowers and birds.” It’s such a beautiful way to live, and I have been thinking about that quote every day. As for perfume, my current favorite is from the garden, a yellow rose known as Eternal Flame™. The citrus scent seems to clear the cobwebs from my mind, and it provides an instant mood boost. October 13, 2017 at 8:03am Reply

    • Trudy: I’m always looking for roses and found this written about the Eternal Flame Rose: long stems and strong citrus fragance combine to make ‘Eternal Flame’ a great rose for the cutting garden. The plant offers above average winter hardiness.

      Sounds beautiful. I will seek it out, thank you for sharing. October 13, 2017 at 10:08am Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t think that you can find a better rose perfume. 🙂 October 16, 2017 at 11:34am Reply

  • kat: I occasionally pen down short thoughts (I call them poems) dealing with the seasons. This post made me check back in my notebook and I found this, written almost three years ago to the day:
    Heavy scent of woody roses.
    Twin lambs chasing each other under golden leaves.
    Poems whisper alluringly from books put aside.
    Autumn October 13, 2017 at 9:49am Reply

    • Trudy: Lovely. I can picture the scene and smell the roses. Makes me smile. October 13, 2017 at 10:05am Reply

    • Victoria: Brava! What a beautiful vignette. October 16, 2017 at 11:35am Reply

  • Julie Demelo: For the Chipmunk in My Yard

    I think he knows I’m alive, having come down
    The three steps of the back porch
    And given me a good once over. All afternoon
    He’s been moving back and forth,
    Gathering odd bits of walnut shells and twigs,
    While all about him the great fields tumble
    To the blades of the thresher. He’s lucky
    To be where he is, wild with all that happens.
    He’s lucky he’s not one of the shadows
    Living in the blond heart of the wheat.
    This autumn when trees bolt, dark with the fires
    Of starlight, he’ll curl among their roots,
    Wanting nothing but the slow burn of matter
    On which he fastens like a small, brown flame.

    Hello— I love to watch CHIPMUNKS!!
    A great weekend to all…:) October 13, 2017 at 11:26am Reply

    • Bobbie Ann: I love this! I wish I was experiencing a fall scene like this. My heart yearns for fall. Some day I will leave So. California! October 13, 2017 at 8:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much! October 16, 2017 at 11:36am Reply

  • sandra: Over on the Now Smell This blog I tend to write my own Haiku for community projects or just whenever..

    I have so many favorites it hard to pick one to share!

    Have a good weekend October 13, 2017 at 11:36am Reply

  • Alicia: Exquisite haiku, Victoria. Here I offer a well known poem, Voltaire’s Chanson d’autumn:
    Personally I am going into the opposite season in the Southern hemisphere. I am choosing spring-summer fragrances. I have decided up till now on a few: Chanel 5 Eau Premiere, Bulgari Eau Perfumée au Thé Vert, Eau de Lancome, Chamade, Sa Majesté la Rose and Fleurs de Orangier, plus a small bottle of vintage Vent Vert for special occasions.I intend to stay there for over seven months. It’s going to be mighty hot. I noticed in previous trips that Eau de Lancome is hated by insects.I will not finish all those bottles, but my friends will be delighted to inherit what is left. Any suggestions, Victoria? October 13, 2017 at 11:44am Reply

    • Nora Szekely: Hi Alicia,

      How great to travel to the Southern hemisphere.
      La chasse aux papillons by L’Artisan popped into my mind. Also Cristalle by Chanel and Carnal Flower by Frederic Malle and Chanel no. 5 L’Eau work wonderful for me in the heat.
      I also love wearing Bronze Goddess for that suntan/cocktail sipping mood.
      For roses, Stella by Stella McCartney and A la rose by Francis Kurkdjian are two soft, light rose scents but in the evening I wear Roses Musk by Montale and Nahema as well. October 16, 2017 at 6:01am Reply

      • Alicia: Thank you so much! Excellent recommendations. October 16, 2017 at 12:48pm Reply

    • Victoria: Colognes would be my pick too. L’Artisan The Pour Un Ete is another good warm weather perfume. October 16, 2017 at 11:40am Reply

      • Alicia: Thank you, Victoria. My last time there I run out of colognes. Not this time. October 16, 2017 at 12:53pm Reply

  • Julie Demelo: Hi Victoria,
    I love poetry and thinking about ordering more to read. Beautiful photo too! Thank you for this post.
    I forgot to mention some of my favorite scents for fall…

    Phi/Une Rose Kandahar

    (a lover of chipmunks) October 13, 2017 at 12:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: And such nice perfumes too.

      Thank you! October 16, 2017 at 11:40am Reply

  • Monica: Many fall perfumes favorites. It quickly comes to my mind

    SL Feminite du Bois
    Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir
    Byredo Pulp
    Calvin Klein Euphoria
    Carner Barcelona D600
    10 Corso Commo
    Chanel No. 19 Poudree October 13, 2017 at 3:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Feminite du Bois is one of the fragrances I also associate with this season. October 16, 2017 at 11:41am Reply

  • Alexandra Fraser: Have you read Jane Hirshfield? The Heart of Haiku. Beautiful little book. I am now reading her collection of essays ‘Nine Gates entering the mind of Poetry.’ Next I want to read The Ink dark Moon – her translations of love poems by two women from the ancient Japanese court.
    It’s spring here – either endless rain or summer sun. Pretty smells don’t suit my mood – I’ve been picking chrysanthemum leaves and crushing them – peppery camphor-y green
    And here’s a spring poem I had published a few years back

    We walk on rain-softened
    apple blossom
    speak of the weather
    in our silence October 13, 2017 at 4:36pm Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t, but I will now look it up. Thank you for your beautiful poem. The image is so vivid. October 16, 2017 at 11:42am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: J’aime le son du cor, le soir au fond des bois

    Every fall this beautiful verse is on my mind.
    It’s the opening verse of a long poem by Alfred de Vigny. The end:
    Dieu! que le son du cor est triste au fond des bois.

    This fall I enjoy :
    Eau de Velours, Bottega Veneta
    Cuir Améthyste, Armani
    Gomma, Etro
    Magie, Lancôme
    Fendi (vintage). October 13, 2017 at 4:57pm Reply

    • Victoria: So many beautiful poems in this thread. Thank you! October 16, 2017 at 11:42am Reply

  • kekasmais: Subtle but striking genius from Ian Hideo Levy’s translation of the Man’yoshu, credited to Princess Nukada who was tasked with choosing between the blossoms of spring and the colors of fall:

    When spring comes,
    bursting winter’s bonds,
    birds that were still
    come out crying
    and flowers that lay unopening
    split into blossoms.
    But, the hillsides being overgrown,
    I may go among the foliage
    yet cannot pick those flowers.
    The grass being rank,
    I may pick
    yet cannot examine them.

    Looking at the leaves of the trees
    on the autumn hillsides,
    I pick the yellowed ones
    and admire them,
    leaving the green ones
    there with a sigh.
    That is my regret.
    But the autumn hills are for me.

    As of late, I’ve fallen back in love with my bottle of Tom Ford Vert d’Encens. I purchased it back in April, scratching my head at my own judgment which seemed so certain when I first sampled it. Now that I’m removed from the flowery rush of spring and settled into the subtlety of autumn, it’s become the perfect companion for walks in the woods. Earthy but dazzling. It makes me think of the way light looks in an emerald. October 13, 2017 at 8:40pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much! I can’t express how much I’ve enjoyed reading all of these poems. October 16, 2017 at 11:43am Reply

  • TrishD: So many beautiful poems here! For autumn, I suppose my choice would be the this verse by Housman:

    For nature, heartless, witless nature,
    Will neither care nor know
    What stranger’s feet may find the meadow
    And trespass there and go,
    Nor ask amid the dews of morning
    If they are mine or no.

    Here in Normandy, this season means fog, wood smoke and gathering chestnuts in the lane. I want cosy, so wear Douce Amère, Chergui, Five O-Clock au Gingembre, Habanita, Borneo 1834, Avignon, Ambre Sultan, Obsession (vintage EDP), L’Air du Desert Marocain, Dzing!, Muscs Koublai Khan, Belle au Parfum de Oud etc, even Yatagan in small doses. Recent purchases (feeding my vintage desires) include Rumba (yeah, I know…), Quadrille, Balenciaga Pour Homme, Ambre Sultan (original formula) and Nuits Indiennes by Scherrer, which is fantastic. Going to pick up a coffret of vintage Lauders today – Spellbound, Azurée and Alliage. And I’m holding a fragrance night for the guys on Friday, so have stocked up on a raft of classic male minis for them to try – should be interesting, not to mention very smelly! October 14, 2017 at 4:18am Reply

    • Victoria: Ah, I also can imagine picking such perfumes for the autumnal days you’ve described. October 16, 2017 at 11:44am Reply

      • TrishD: We are on the edge of tropical storm Ophelia today – not affected by the winds, thank God, but sand whipped up from the Sahara and fires in Portugal have turned the skies end-of-the-world red. It feels like the Apocalypse out there. So not our usual autumn day at all. October 16, 2017 at 12:25pm Reply

  • Anna: Victoria. I especially like your posts when you talk about poetry and fragrance. The Fall can be a hectic time and stopping to read a few lines of poetry or wearing a warm scent can shift us into a comfort zone.

    The other morning I was wondering what to wear to stave off the gloomy grey weather we have been having. I chose L’Artisan Dzonka and I was instantly transported to a place of warmth and comfort. October 14, 2017 at 7:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s such a paradox with Dzongkha–it smells cool, but it evokes warm, colorful images. October 16, 2017 at 11:46am Reply

  • Maria: “Time present and time past
    Are both perhaps present in time future,
    And time future contained in time past.”

    I’ve always loved this first four lines, from the poem “Burnt Norton”, by T.S Eliot. As autumn, they are powdery but mossy, green, orange, red and brown. October 14, 2017 at 10:46pm Reply

  • Aurora: Thank you for sharing the beautiful haiku, the challenge you find in running everyday and your choice of perfumes.

    I choose an extract from Lamartine Le Lac:

    O temps! suspends to vol et vous heures propices
    suspendez votre cours
    Laissez-nous savourer les rapides delices
    des plus beaux de nos jours

    Reading it I am wearing Kenzo Madly which no one else seems to like. It’s my everday incense lately. October 15, 2017 at 5:18am Reply

    • Aurora: sorry for the typo it’s ton vol of course October 15, 2017 at 7:24am Reply

    • Victoria: Thanks to you, I’m discovering more Lamartine, a poet I didn’t read much of. This is beautiful. October 16, 2017 at 11:47am Reply

  • Nora Szekely: Dear Victoria and perfume lovers,

    As I shared a Hungarian poem in a previous autumn thread, I chose a French one this time. A famous one nevertheless reservedly so is Chanson d’automne by Paul Verlaine

    Les sanglots longs
    Des violons
    De l’automne
    Blessent mon coeur
    D’une langueur

    Tout suffocant
    Et blême, quand
    Sonne l’heure,
    Je me souviens
    Des jours anciens
    Et je pleure

    Et je m’en vais
    Au vent mauvais
    Qui m’emporte
    Deçà, delà,
    Pareil à la
    Feuille morte.

    English translation : (I found on internet)

    Autumn Song

    The long sobs
    Of the violins
    Of autumn
    Hurt my heart
    With a monotonous

    All suffocating
    And pale, when
    The time comes

    I remember
    The ancient days
    And I cry

    And I leave
    Into the bad wind
    Carrying me
    Within, beyond
    Very much like
    The fallen leaf

    Melancholic yet beautiful, it ignites a common sorrow within humans when autumn comes and nature goes quiet.

    To go with poetry, I love to wear Cuir de Russie (autumn bonfires evoke childhood memories) and vintage miss Dior, the latter especially on rainy days. 31 rue Cambon is also perfect, polished yet approachable and warm, I chose it when I visited my old alma mater recently.
    Actually this weekend indian summer reached my city so I put on sunny scents to prolongate the feel of hot days. I’ve worn Glow by Jennifer Lopez, Diorissimo and La chasse aux papillons.
    However the ultimate scent that embodies the sorrowful yet breathtaking autumn twilights for me is L’Heure Bleue. October 16, 2017 at 5:19am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Nora! October 16, 2017 at 11:48am Reply

  • Merete: I read this beautiful post, thinking that I really had to sample Bois d’Ombrie. Then it dawned on me: I have some Eau d’Italie perfumes! And right enough, out from the dark recesses of my perfume storage came Bois d’Ombrie! Thank you for reminding me to use it, it is really wonderful at this time of the year. October 16, 2017 at 11:32am Reply

    • Victoria: Perfect timing! I’m glad that you’re enjoying it. October 16, 2017 at 11:53am Reply

  • Satsukibare: A haiku by Mitsuhashi Takajo (1899-1972), translated by Hiroaki Sato in his anthology Japanese Women Poets (M.E.Sharpe, 2008), p. 250:
    Autumn wind fainter than the water the fins of fish
    At this time of the year I like to wear Hermes Osmanthe Yunnan. I know you have it pinned as a spring fragrance, Victoria, but in October the kinmokusei (osmanthus) are in bloom all over Tokyo. Almost anywhere you go there are sudden fragrant bursts of the scent on the breeze. Heavenly! October 17, 2017 at 5:47pm Reply

    • Victoria: I have the same anthology! Thank you for sharing this wistful poem.

      I probably didn’t live anywhere where osmanthus bloomed when I first wrote that review, but if you were to ask me today, I would definitely classify it as my autumnal scent. October 18, 2017 at 12:05pm Reply

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