Saturday, May 16, 2020

Roger & Gallet

At the 'socially-distanced' Chapel service yesterday (attended by 8 resident staff), Mr Swift 
(compère of Voices of Poetry' introduced and then read his own poem 'Roger & Gallet'.

Roger & Gallet

Our sense of smell trumps all the others, they say,
For transporting us back through time,
To places (or people) that we sniffed unconsciously
Lifetimes ago.
Deep heat and the rugby changing rooms
Linseed oil on a cricket bat and our uncle’s antique workshop...
Brown bread baking.

I’d like to believe both you and I were fairly inoffensive
To nostrils passing near us.
We can’t take too much credit though
For something in the genes.
And we had some foreign helpers too,
Some continental styling down the years -
Acqua di Parma, Heno de Pravia, Hermes et al.
I even used Brut in the very late ‘80s
But you had better taste, even way back then.

One August day in 2016 we met by chance
On the Glasthule High Street!
I had emerged from The 64
With the glow of 40 Foot and coffee,
You were there to collect a prescription -
So we went to see the apothecary.
Pharmacy fragrances mingled in Glennon’s
As a cocktail of reassurance.

Soon you were adding a bottle
Of Roger & Gallet cologne
Onto your list of purchases,
And pressing it into my hand
Saying, ‘This is your favourite one, isn’t it?’

That bottle’s long finished but I have returned
To Glennon’s chemist since,
I’ve made myself known as your brother to Martha,
And replenished that favourite scent.

Now each morning several citrus sprays of French cologne
Call forth the memory of your welcoming self -
By a window, offering tea.
And the house smells grand,
With a still warm loaf cooling in the foreground.

June 5th, 2019

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