Whilst looking through some old computer files, I stumbled upon my first ever publication. A very dear friend of mine (go check out Beyond Me!) used to run a Luxembourgish literature website and I was given the honor to give the last interview. We sat down, drank a coffee and chit-chatted whilst glancing over my poetry book. We chose a variety of different poems and I gave some insight as to why I wrote them. I wanted to share with you one small instance of the interview; my modern attempt of poetry. Here we have a small spark of inspiration which led me to write whatever this might be.
I have drowned and reblossomed too many times.
I can smell the rain on me.
Petrichor is the smell of rain on warm cement. I remember that smell from childhood memories of Italy. We went there every year, eleven, twelve hours by car, stayed there for a weeks to see the family. We always went to go and spend the rest of our stay in Bibione. I still have the teddy bears my dad and I used to fetch out of the claw machines. There were also weird memories. I remember being there on 9/11 or breaking my arm because I slipped and fell on it.
Italy is somehow my home and somehow not. I used to speak the language as a kid but unlearned it. I’m re-learning it, now, at uni. To me, Italy stands for different conceptions of family, education, respect. When you see and hear about the poverty there is, how hard my grandparents had to work, you become more thankful for what you have. You develop a sense of gratitude, sharing and comradery.
Petrichor is about the cycle of drowning and ‘reblossoming’ (deliberate neologism) over and over again. You build yourself up again, but you carry the smell, the memory of what happened, with you.
That scent is pure magic. I also tie it to childhood memories of the countryside, summer storms and spring afternoons (when I first discovered that violets grew next to my block). When I smell that electrifying dusty smell I feel like everything can and will be alright no matter what.
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I have the same sensation. Every single time I encounter the smell of petrichor I am reminded of Italy. It is interesting to see how a particular smell helps us to remember things.
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