In a Station of the Metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
by Ezra Pound
The poem gave me a feeling of being underground and looking up through a hole. This underground space became a grave, six feet under ground. The Metro is also underground, dark, gloomy, and alienating.
The people are apparitions, which I felt meant ghosts or persons who have died and passed into memory.
I started with base notes which would smell like the earth underground and/or a subway in a large city. For this I used a vetiver and mitti blend. Mitti is an essence which is actually made from the earth. I wanted oiliness and decay. The colors I saw were black, grey, brown, and mossy green. I used a very heavy oud to accent the base. The oud is very dark and intense and also beautiful.
The "death" image I felt from this verse was not just a physical death, but death that comes before a change. Death is the end of something and also the beginning, so there is hope of something new.
The hope for me was the petals on the bough, petals associated with spring and rebirth and also referencing the faces in the first line. Therefore the base had to have also elements of light and a taste of sweetness. For this I used sandalwood, light patchouli, and tonka bean.
The middle notes continued the earthy theme leading to a hopeful rebirth with green spikenard, shamama attar, and honied notes of ylang concrete. Top notes are ginger lily, ambrette, and black pepper.
Artemisia Natural Perfume
Lisa Fong was an accomplished professional violinist when neck pain and several surgeries forced the window shut on her career as a musician. According to a 2007 interview originally posted on Noteworthy Fragrances,
"Lisa's window opened wide when she discovered Mandy Aftel's book, Essence and Alchemy. 'I felt like I had a new direction. I took some classes with Mandy Aftel and began making natural perfumes like crazy. It was a very healing thing.'"
After seven years of passionate artisan perfumery, Lisa remains a longtime student of Aftel's, and is also a teacher endorsed by the Artisan Natural Perfumers Guild, conducting her own classes on the art of 100%-natural perfumery in the Sacramento and Oakland/Bay area for over six years. She opened Artemisia Natural Perfume in 2004.
Currently, Lisa has several fragrances in production with several others in the works. Of those available through the Artemisia Natural Perfume website, I particularly love Voile and Edenwood - they are both soft, warm beauties which make me feel as though I've been given a personal gift every time they touch my skin. Voile was inspired by the music of Debussy and the musical influence is easy to imagine when wearing this very sensuous blend which is "bright and warm as a summer breeze. The main notes are orange blossoms, frangipani, neroli, and gentle jasmine. Authentic ambergris lends it's velvety warmth to myrrh, vetiver, and lavender concrete base notes. Voile is a light, fresh floral fragrance."
Edenwood, on the other hand, "is a study in opposites. One theme blends the bright green notes of linden blossom, wintergreen, and celery seed. The second theme combines the dreamy, lush notes of tuberose, ginger lily, aged patchouli, and rich vanilla-scented tonka bean. Together the complex ingredients create astonishing memories of forests, lakes, and meadows."
Lisa's Custom "In a Station of the Metro" Fragrance:
As a part of the Perfume Inside the Poem project, Lisa not only penned her thoughts on how to make a fragrance inspired by "In a Station of the Metro," she actually made this utterly intriguing peppery/earthy perfume, and is offering samples on her site! I have had the honor and pleasure of trying it, and I find that Lisa's commentary on the perfume very accurately portrays its essence. With a masterful touch, she deftly blends sharp pepper with the complexly beautiful ambrette and spicy lily for an opening that is unforgettable. The heart of warm, sweet ylang and spikenard serve to amplify the dark and intimate base of powdery tonka, dry woods, grassy vetiver and the rich, soothing aroma of earthen mitti. At the bottom of it all, exactly the right touch of dark oudh. It might be a bit difficult for some to wear, but for others, it will no doubt be a uniquely rewarding challenge. It is fascinating from start to finish. I urge each of you to acquire one of these for yourself while they are available.
Stay tuned to Lisa's site, Artemisia Natural Perfume, for more information on the release of this very special poetry-inspired perfume.
Comments are encouraged! Please read the initial post in this series for the details on our extraordinary giveaway which will take place on March 31.