Themes :

In addition to a nectar-like sweetness, many mystics experience a scent that can be rapturously overwhelming or tantalizingly subtle. The aroma is the intoxicating scent of what I sometimes call the Celestial Drink, variously called wine, amrita, rasa, dew, honey. But this blissful scent can also be understood as the perfume worn by the Beloved that awakens sacred ardor upon the spiritual journey.

And, of course, perfume is scented oil, oil being the substance used to anoint and initiate.

To suggest the almost erotic sense of divine union, sometimes the earthier scent of musk is described. Musk is the aphrodisiac oil of the musk deer. Deer, being creatures of profound silence and shyness, are themselves symbols of the elusive Beloved.

The scent of flowers is often evoked, as well. Blossoms and flowers are natural symbols of enlightenment, the unfolding of awareness and the opening of the heart. Let us not forget, though, that flowers have a direct connection to the Celestial Drink, for their sweet perfume emanates from the sweet nectar they hold.

And, of course, the flower precedes the fruit, whose juice ultimately yields wine...

Poems with the theme of Perfume

  Abil-Kheir, Abu-Said "This is My Face," said the Beloved
  Adyashanti A Tendency to Shine
  Adyashanti Rest and Be Taken
  Anandamurti (Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan) The violin of all human minds
  Angelou, Maya A Brave and Startling Truth
  Ansari, Khwaja Abdullah The one You kill
  Attar, Farid ud-Din You need patience for this quest
  Attar, Farid ud-Din The angels have bowed down to you and drowned
  Avaiyar Vinayagar Agaval
  Barker, Elsa The Mystic Rose
  Basho, Matsuo The temple bell dies away
  Brabazon, Francis Dawn is a Friend
  Colliver, Andrew This Soul
  Crashaw, Richard To the Name above every Name, the Name of Jesus
  Dadu Dayal So priceless is the birth, O brother
  Dariya Sahib of Bihar The musk is within the deer
  Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von My friend, in this one hour you will gain (from Faust)
  Hafiz O Saghi, pass around that cup of wine, then bring it to me
  Hayati, Bibi Is it the night of power
  Herbert, George The Flower
  Hildegard von Bingen Holy Spirit of Fire
  Hirshfield, Jane The Envoy
  Ibn al-Farid, Umar Whispering, then listening close (from The Poem of the Sufi Way)
  ibn Gabirol, Solomon Rise and open the door that is shut
  Ikkyu (Sojun, Ikkyu) I Hate Incense
  Jacopone da Todi (Benedetti, Jacopone) How the Soul Through the Senses Finds God in All Creatures
  Jakushitsu Gathering Tea
  Jayadeva When spring came, tender-limbed Radha wandered (from The Gitagovinda)
  John of the Cross Love's Living Flame
  Kabir I burst into laughter
  Kabir Tell me, O Swan, your ancient tale
  Kabir The moon shines in my body
  Kerouac, Jack The Scripture of the Golden Eternity
  Khayyam, Omar [68] That ev'n my buried Ashes such a Snare
  Lalla Fool, you won't find your way out by praying from a book
  Lawrence, D. H. Dolor of Autumn
  Lawrence, D. H. God is Born
  Lee, Li-Young Night Mirror
  Leon, Luis de The Life Removed
  Machado, Antonio Proverbs and Songs
  Machado, Antonio Songs
  Maharshi, Ramana The Marital Garland of Letters
  Milosz, Czeslaw On Angels
  Milosz, Czeslaw On Pilgrimage
  Rahman Baba Soul Train
  Rilke, Rainer Maria Duration of Childhood
  Rosenstock, Gabriel Spring With a Thousand Clich├ęs
  Rumi, Mevlana Jelaluddin come
  Rumi, Mevlana Jelaluddin Like This
  Rumi, Mevlana Jelaluddin You only need smell the wine
  Rumi, Mevlana Jelaluddin A World with No Boundaries (Ghazal 363)
  Ryokan The Lotus
  Sanai, Hakim Naked in the Bee-House
  Sarton, May Bliss
  Shabistari, Mahmud The Tavern Haunters
  Shabistari, Mahmud The Wine of Rapture (from The Secret Rose Garden)
  Snyder, Gary For All
  Stafford, William You Reading This, Be Ready
  Tagore, Rabindranath He's there among the scented trees (from The Lover of God)
  Tagore, Rabindranath Listen, can you hear it? (from The Lover of God)
  Tagore, Rabindranath Your flute plays the exact notes of my pain. (from The Lover of God)
  Takahashi, Shinkichi Gods
  Trungpa, Chogyam Expose
  Vaughan, Henry Unprofitableness
  Vidyapati As the mirror to my hand
  Wei, Wang Living in the Mountain on an Autumn Night
  Whitman, Walt [6] A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands (from Song of Myself)
  Whitman, Walt [24] Walt Whitman, a cosmos, of Manhattan the son (from Song of Myself)