Two Poems of Scented Place by Frances Daggar Roberts

En Auvergne

We stooped to cross the threshold carrying evening

on our shoulders

and shadow curved the corners and the walls

around a muted light.

A simmering dark sauce breathed out a lure

of something richly meat.

We took our seats along a wooden bench

quietly close as frogmouths.

Knitted into family there we watched

the sorcery of our hostess

as she sliced the orange folds of mushroom

into her steaming brew.

A scatter of herbs unlike the ones we knew

an airborne  twist of pungency

a waft into our faces from the moist-lipped pot

mutterings and laughter from the cook

erupting like incantations as she worked.

We hungry travellers

our eyes still inward turned to images

of tumbled banks of streams

of rocky bones that jut from hips of hills

and wide bird-circling sky

sat in a net of drugging fragrance

roped by it to the hearth

as the day’s wild lands morphed into a fairy place

of black cooking pots and beams

a rustic table wreathed in forest scents

a crouch of inner space

and on the faces of my children as they ate

a liquid shine of broth

– the ecstasy of taste in paradise.


Cottage at Avoca

A wooden floor and a wooden balcony

suspended over a jubilation of birdsong…

We sit there on scrubbed pine furniture

and let the cool air wash us down

an inertia of summer weighing on our limbs.

Paralysed by pleasure we watch our hostess

take cups  glasses and bottles of drinks

from the tidy banks of pigeon holes.

A high and constant rasping of cicadas

fills late afternoon with an oddly even static

behind the trilling and the piping of the birds.

The overcast brightness promises heat

and then withdraws the offer.

Gusts of olfactory delight   garlic  basil  rosemary

ride the evening change

along with the ubiquitous sent of citronella.


—About the Author—


Frances Daggar Roberts is an Australian poet who grew up in a remote area where she began to write poetry to capture the love she felt for plants, animals and landscape.

She now lives in a bushland setting close to Sydney and works as a psychologist treating significant anxiety and depression. Compassion for those who struggle with such issues has led to the frequent exploration, in her more recent poetry, of human need, sorrow and resilience.