Monday, November 26, 2012

Perfume Quote: My Entire Childhood Smelled of Cassie

"The hours I spent with my mother were full of mystery; we sat opposite each other, she on a chair beside the window, me on a stool, and in the silence I felt my chest to fill to satiation, as if the wind around us were milk and I was suckling it. Over our heads stood the acacia tree and when it was in bloom the courtyard was gloriously scented. I loved how my mother put the fragrant yellow flowers in all our chests and linens; my entire childhood smelled of cassie.

We were talking, a lot of quiet conversations, when my mother recounted about her father and the village she was born in, and then I told her about the lives of the saints I had read and tried to unravel their life using my imagination; as if what they had suffered already weren't enough, I added more of it on my own, until my mother started weeping.
Then I felt regret, sat on her knees, caressed her hair and consoled her: -"They went to heaven, mother, don't worry, they're strolling under blooming trees, chatting with the angels and have forgotten their sufferings. And every Sunday they put their gold clothing, caps with red tassels and go to pay a visit to God".

Mother then wiped her tears, looked at me as if saying "Really, do you think so?" and she smiled. And the canary, in its cage, listened to us, lifted its throat and sang drunkenly, happy, as if it had left the saints for a moment and came down to earth to spread goodwill among the people.

My mother, the cassie and the canary are inseparably mingled, immortal in my mind; I can no longer smell acacia or hear a canary without having my mother rise from the tomb ~from my gut!~ and to mingle with this scent and the singing canary".

~Nikos Kazantzakis, from "Report to Greco" (translation from the Greek by E.Vosnaki)


  1. Stephan16:17

    Very touching thoughts. Thank you.

  2. The library where I go was renovated and I nearly cried when I saw they had chopped out this beautiful old tall acacia tree - come september it was in bloom and the scent was fabulous .
    Not all wattles have great perfume but this one did - Acacia Belata ?? spelling ??.
    Guerlain's Cuer Beluga dragged me away from Une Fleur Cassie last week but time in the city I will buy a bottle of the Malle!
    Scent is memory isn't it Helg!

  3. Anonymous23:33

    Helg, This post was just so moving. I have been wearing Fleur de Cassie, and Caron's Farnesiana. I think O understand Farnesiana better now-I used to not understand it. Now i get it, and I love it!



  4. Anonymous09:49

    That is so beautiful! Kazantzakis is my Greek brother-in-law's favourite author, and with his wonderful way of evoking memories I am not surprised. The picture is lovely too.

  5. S,

    you're welcome. Thanks for saying so!

  6. M,

    acacia dealbata! Beautiful tree. Shame... :-(

    Yes, I read about the CB, but that's beautiful too in its own right. Enjoy!!

  7. Carole,

    I find it very touching too. :-) It's from a great book, do grab it if you find the chance.

    Farnesiana is just beautiful, such a saturated scent!

  8. Jillie,

    wonderful. His philosophical turns in his writing are also worthy of mention.

    Thanks for commenting!

  9. I'm so glad I got to read this.I will go search for more from this writer. Thank you for posting.

  10. M,

    introducing people to Kazantzakis is a deeply satisfying pleasure.

    Thanks for stopping by and saying so!

  11. Oh so beautiful of a memory! I am excited to have just acquired a travel bottle of Une Fleur de Cassie, and this is the perfect accompaniment.

  12. S,

    glad it stroke a chord :-) Une Fleur de Cassie is amazing!

  13. BarbaraI05:11

    How lovely! Thank you.


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