scent: a poem by yrsa daley-ward

Writer and actress Yrsa Daley-Ward chanced upon a spoken word poetry night in South Africa and turned her world around.

Yrsa Daley-Ward is the Lancashire born writer and actress whose childhood passion for expressing herself through the written word was ignited once again following a not uncommon adolescent standstill: stifled city living, uninspired, body chemistry all over the shop. With £200 in her pocket and a longing for ventures new, she headed to South Africa, a leap of faith that proved to be more than fruitful in Yrsa (pronounced yer-sah) unearthing her natural talent once again and placing her firmly back onto the path of her heart. A chance happening on a spoken word poetry evening where she became a local, and a three year stint later, now she’s at the realm of a new wave of contemporary poets who inspire an unprecedented level of empathy and accessibility through their honest and raw approach.

Currently based between Los Angeles and London, Yrsa continues to use the medium of writing to dissipate the weight and heaviness of her innermost thoughts and feelings, sharing is her form of survival. Just read her poetry and prose anthology Bone and you’ll find this to be true;  Yrsa’s Jamaican and Nigerian heritage, femininity, sexuality and mental health are just some of the themes explored within this powerful collection of a woman facing tumultuous inner and external battles head on, delivered with a hard-hitting directness (Danger. Danger. Bad habits that feel like home), yet with inflections of optimism throughout (Seize that loveliness, it has always been yours) that are bound to touch readers to their core.

Written for the The Fifth Sense, Yrsa's poem Scent touches on “The memory of a lover. Scent is the thing that follows, the thing that is there throughout. The thing that lingers."

Scent

In theory

I have written you out of my memory.

Still, the middle of my face

refuses to be told.


I’m undone. Perhaps it is the air in my head.

Three years. And I did too much work on our love.

Three years

and I can't undo the problem of your scent.


It is a horrid and complicated fact.

My fifth sense an ambush. I walk by the bakery, chip shop,

flower stall, shopping centre,

leather goods store


all the Mornings in Lancashire still smell like you.

Last week I was caught in a storm overseas.

When the rain smell drove me silly

all I could see were your eyes.


Now home, I light the stove. I cook new food these days

from recipe books. Now that you’re gone I can fry meat.

I buy a perfume I know you hate

and spread it on your side of the bed.


still


you greet me in waves I can not decipher.

Last night I smelled you in a dream.

It is a thumbprint now

but I can't forget the loss.


I dreamed you beautiful.

You are

nothing beautiful. But

three years

and I can’t clean you off my skin.

This Week

making images: behind the scenes

Take another look behind the scenes at photographer Harley Weir’s journey in capturing five women from around the world and get to know some more creators who are defining the image of today in documentary filmmaker Chelsea McMullan’s Making Images video. 

Read More

making codes: behind the scenes

Take another look at Making Codes, Liza Mandelup's behind the scenes video of digital artist and creative director Lucy Hardcastle's piece Intangible Matter that features producer Fatima Al Qadiri, artist Chris Lee and a host of more leading digital artists.

Read More

making films: behind the scenes

Take a look behind the scenes in director Eva Michon's Making Films with Alma Har'el video: a look at the making of JellyWolf and the current state of play within the film industry through the eyes of female filmmakers championing diversity, and Alma Har'els Free The Bid initiative. 

Read More

making movement: behind the scenes

Take a look behind the scenes in filmmaker Agostina Galvez’s Making Movements: a look at the making of The Pike and the Shield: Five Paradoxes with ballerina Nozomi Iijima and other leading movers and shakers from the world of dance including choreographers and dancers Holly Blakey, Aya Sato and the duo Project O. 

Read More

making exhibitions: behind the scenes

Take a look behind the scenes in director Christine Yuan’s Making Exhibitions with Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel: a look at the making of Just A Second: A Digital Exhibition Curated by Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel, inspired by CHANEL Nº5 L'EAU, and a look at other leading curators and collectives from the art world including BUFU, Rozsa Farkas, Fatos Ustek, Angelina Dreem and Yana Peel.

Read More

seeing sound: in conversation charlotte hatherley & carly paradis

Two of London’s most sought after figures in visually-shaped music meet.

Read More

lizzie borden: feminist trailblazer

As her magnum opus returns to UK shores, Lizzie Borden – the visionary artist behind Born in Flames – talks rebellion, feminist artistry, and her nostalgia for 70s NYC.

Read More

rebecca lamarche-vadel's
just a second

Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel is the Paris based curator for the Palais De Tokyo. Dedicated to modern and contemporary art she puts on large scale exhibitions that span installation, dance, sculpture, photography and spoken word. For The Fifth Sense she created a digital exhibition based on the transformative power of Chanel’s Nº5 L’EAU.

Read More

reba maybury: she’s got the power

We sat down with the editor, writer and dominatrix Reba Maybury to discuss her taboo-breaking publishing house Wet Satin Press, her latest novel Dining With Humpty Dumpty and what it means to be a woman in control.

Read More
loading...