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Famous Smell Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Smell poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous smell poems. These examples illustrate what a famous smell poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Smart, Christopher
...s upon the leafy limes; 
 Sweet, Hermon's fragrant air: 
Sweet is the lily's silver bell, 
And sweet the wakeful tapers smell 
 That watch for early pray'r. 

Sweet the young nurse with love intense, 
Which smiles o'er sleeping innocence; 
 Sweet when the lost arrive: 
Sweet the musician's ardour beats, 
While his vague mind's in quest of sweets, 
 The choicest flow'rs to hive. 

Sweeter in all the strains of love, 
The language of thy turtle dove, 
 ...Read More

by Aldington, Richard
...ere was a sea-front, 
A long asphalt walk with a bleak road beside it, 
Three piers, a row of houses, 
And a salt dirty smell from the little harbour. 

I was like a moth -- 
Like one of those grey Emperor moths 
Which flutter through the vines at Capri. 
And that damned little town was my match-box, 
Against whose sides I beat and beat 
Until my wings were torn and faded, and dingy 
As that damned little town. 


At school it was just as dull as that dull Hig...Read More

by Pope, Alexander the people grass: 
What modes of sight betwixt each wide extreme, 
The mole's dim curtain, and the lynx's beam: 
Of smell, the headlong lioness between, 
And hound sagacious(20) on the tainted(21) green: 
Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood,(22) 
To that which warbles thro' the vernal(23) wood: 
The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine! 
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line: 
In the nice bee, what sense so subtly true 
From pois'nous herbs extracts th...Read More

by Lewis, C S
...reathing it 
Drink the whole summer down into the breast. 
The lavish pinks, the field new-mown, the ravishing 
Sea-smells, the wood-fire smoke that whispers Rest. 
The tremor on the rippled pool of memory 
That from each smell in widening circles goes, 
The pleasure and the pang --can angels measure it? 
An angel has no nose.

The nourishing of life, and how it flourishes 
On death, and why, they utterly know; but not 
The hill-born, earthy spring, the dark cold ...Read More

by Milton, John
...ian shore; 
Nor uglier follow the night-hag, when, called 
In secret, riding through the air she comes, 
Lured with the smell of infant blood, to dance 
With Lapland witches, while the labouring moon 
Eclipses at their charms. The other Shape-- 
If shape it might be called that shape had none 
Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb; 
Or substance might be called that shadow seemed, 
For each seemed either--black it stood as Night, 
Fierce as ten Furies, terrible as Hel...Read More

by Milton, John
...Of Araby the blest; with such delay 
Well pleased they slack their course, and many a league 
Cheered with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles: 
So entertained those odorous sweets the Fiend, 
Who came their bane; though with them better pleased 
Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume 
That drove him, though enamoured, from the spouse 
Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent 
From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound. 
Now to the ascent of that steep savage hill 
Satan had ...Read More

by Milton, John
...e drew nigh, and to me held, 
Even to my mouth of that same fruit held part 
Which he had plucked; the pleasant savoury smell 
So quickened appetite, that I, methought, 
Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the clouds 
With him I flew, and underneath beheld 
The earth outstretched immense, a prospect wide 
And various: Wondering at my flight and change 
To this high exaltation; suddenly 
My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down, 
And fell asleep; but O, how glad I w...Read More

by Milton, John
...that breathe, 
From the Earth's great altar send up silent praise 
To the Creator, and his nostrils fill 
With grateful smell, forth came the human pair, 
And joined their vocal worship to the quire 
Of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake 
The season prime for sweetest scents and airs: 
Then commune, how that day they best may ply 
Their growing work: for much their work out-grew 
The hands' dispatch of two gardening so wide, 
And Eve first to her husband thus began.<...Read More

by Milton, John
...all I to the work thou enterprisest 
Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid. 
So saying, with delight he snuffed the smell 
Of mortal change on earth. As when a flock 
Of ravenous fowl, though many a league remote, 
Against the day of battle, to a field, 
Where armies lie encamped, come flying, lured 
With scent of living carcasses designed 
For death, the following day, in bloody fight: 
So scented the grim Feature, and upturned 
His nostril wide into the murky air; 
...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...ds and hill-sides! 
The leaves and flowers of the commonest weeds—the moist fresh stillness of the woods,
The exquisite smell of the earth at day-break, and all through the forenoon. 

O the horseman’s and horsewoman’s joys! 
The saddle—the gallop—the pressure upon the seat—the cool gurgling by the
 and hair. 

O the fireman’s joys! 
I hear the alarm at dead of night,
I hear bells—shouts!—I pass the crowd—I run! 
The sight of the flames maddens me with pleasur...Read More

by Angelou, Maya
...wing, spouting
readiness, mystery rapes
my reason

When you have withdrawn
your self and the magic, when
only the smell of your
love lingers between
my breasts, then, only
then, can I greedily consume
your presence....Read More

by Milton, John
...a famous Warriour overturns,
Thou couldst repress, nor did the dancing Rubie
Sparkling; out-pow'rd, the flavor, or the smell,
Or taste that cheers the heart of Gods and men,
Allure thee from the cool Crystalline stream.

Sam. Where ever fountain or fresh current flow'd
Against the Eastern ray, translucent, pure,
With touch aetherial of Heav'ns fiery rod
I drank, from the clear milkie juice allaying 
Thirst, and refresht; nor envy'd them the grape
Whose heads that tur...Read More

by Sexton, Anne
among the pillows and stones of the breakwater.
And though your daisies are an unwanted death,
I wade through the smell of their cancer
and recognize the prognosis,
its cartful of loss--

I say now,
you gave what you could.
It was quite a ferris wheel to spin on!
and the dead city of my marriage
seems less important
than the fact that the daisies came weekly,
over and over,
likes kisses that can't stop themselves.

There sit two deaths on November 5th, 1973....Read More

by Masefield, John
...rls' breath and fifteen blokes, 
A warmish night, and windows shut, 
The room stank like a fox's gut. 
The heat and smell and drinking deep 
Began to stun the gang to sleep. 
Some fell downstairs to sleep on mat, 
Some snored it sodden where they sat. 
Dick Twot had lost a tooth and wept; 
But all the drunken others slept. 
Jane slept beside me in the chair, 
And I got up; I wanted air. 

I opened window wide and leaned 
Out of that pigstye of the fiend 
A...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...prang into fire: and at the base we found 
On either hand, as far as eye could see, 
A great black swamp and of an evil smell, 
Part black, part whitened with the bones of men, 
Not to be crost, save that some ancient king 
Had built a way, where, linked with many a bridge, 
A thousand piers ran into the great Sea. 
And Galahad fled along them bridge by bridge, 
And every bridge as quickly as he crost 
Sprang into fire and vanished, though I yearned 
To follow; and thrice...Read More

by Miller, Alice Duer
...ths were seen,
Carefree young gentlemen
In the Spring of 'Fourteen.

London, just before dawn-immense and dark—
Smell of wet earth and growth from the empty Park, 
Pall Mall vacant-Whitehall deserted. Johnnie and I 
Strolling together, averse to saying good-bye—
Strolling away from some party in silence profound, 
Only far off in Mayfair, piercing, the sound 
Of a footman's whistle—the rhythm of hoofs on wood, 
Further and further away. . . . And n...Read More

by Plath, Sylvia
...ering like stars on to the world--
On India, Africa, America, these miraculous ones,
These pure, small images. They smell of milk.
Their footsoles are untouched. They are walkers of air.

Can nothingness be so prodigal?
Here is my son.
His wide eye is that general, flat blue.
He is turning to me like a little, blind, bright plant.
One cry. It is the hook I hang on.
And I am a river of milk.
I am a warm hill.

I am not ...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...come hurried and weeping, and the brothers and sisters are sent for, 
Medicines stand unused on the shelf—(the camphor-smell has long pervaded the rooms,) 
The faithful hand of the living does not desert the hand of the dying, 
The twitching lips press lightly on the forehead of the dying, 
The breath ceases, and the pulse of the heart ceases,
The corpse stretches on the bed, and the living look upon it, 
It is palpable as the living are palpable. 

The living look upon ...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna
...ts of fun at the sea!"

Horror tightly clutches the throat,
Shuttle took us at dusk on our turn..
The tough smell of ocean tightrope
Inside trembling nostrils did burn.

"Say, you most probably know:
I don't sleep? Thus in sleep it can be"
Only oars splashed in measured manner
Over Nieva's waves heavy.

And the black sky began to get lighter,
Someone called from the bridge to us,
As with both hands I was clutching
On my chest the rim of the cros...Read More

by Ferlinghetti, Lawrence
On the lawn among the trees
lovers are listening
for the master to tell them they are one
with the universe
Eyes smell flowers and become them
There's a deathless hush
on the freeway tonight
as a Pacific tidal wave a mile high
sweeps in
Los Angeles breathes its last gas
and sinks into the sea like the Titanic all lights lit
Nine minutes later Willa Cather's Nebraska
sinks with it
The sea comes over in Utah
Mormon tabernacles washed away like barnacles
Coyotes are confo...Read More

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