I must smell like a poet

I must smell like a poet, you see
strings of words just follow me around
like eager hounds along a hound trail
they pick up my scent then 
hit me with their sense and soul and sound.

When I think of all the years
my ears were deaf to this strange music,
it doesn’t ever make me sad, but smile.
Overburdened with the things I thought I ought to do
I shut them out, these word-hounds on my trail.

But now I welcome them, these eager word-hounds:
Through streams of senseless, ceaseless noise they come;
talk is meaningless and chatter is prismatic
turning to face them
I am welcomed home.

© Experimentsinfiction 2021, All Rights Reserved

Written for dVerse

Tonight, Peter is hosting Meeting the Bar and has asked us to think about first lines. I thought of the first line of this poem a few days ago, and I thought it might do nicely for this prompt.

64 thoughts on “I must smell like a poet

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  1. This is so beautiful and lovely. How words are like hounds… What an incredible metaphor and comparison. That’s some vivid imagery and imagination there. I really enjoyed reading this, Ingrid! It’s a wonderful piece from you. Amazing. Have to admit, your title (without the context at first) gave me a nice laugh. I do wonder what a poet must smell like to others! Probably a little like sweat since we work ourselves to death on each line until it’s just right in our eyes, and that can take forever with some poems. 😀

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Lucy! The idea of smelling a poet makes me think of these lines from Sweeney Todd:

      ‘The trouble with poet
      Is how do you know it’s
      Deceased?’ 🤣🤣🤣

  2. Ingrid what comes to my mind here is the muse with her hounds, chasing you. You knew what she wanted to tell you but you weren’t ready to listen. Oh my so delightful with the image of you stopping and turning around.

  3. Words like hounds is a fantastic image that creates all sorts of ideas and notions in my head.This is gorgeously rendered, Ingrid 😀

  4. We’re all such wordophiles! I find myself watching TV programs, even commercials, and jotting down phrases that catch my fancy!

  5. Great opening line. (reminds me of Kate Bush and her Hounds of Love) – pursued through the forest, half afraid, half embracing the hounds following close by – a great image carried through. Bravo.

  6. Strong imagery throughout very clearly illustrates the status of all wordaholics! and that opening line…BLAMMO! I wish I’d written this.

  7. This is almost a Robert Johnson blues ballad, WORD HOUNDS ON MY TRAIL. This is very clever, a joy to read. I responded the word hounds as a teenager. Of course my poetics were drivel and pap; but through repetition I got better. Now I’m functioning, on muscle memory and prune juice.

    1. I didn’t know that, how interesting! I did think of the line ‘hound dogs on my trail’ from Nina Simone’s ‘Mississippi Goddamn!’

  8. Ingrid,

    I must smell like a poet, you see
    strings of words just follow me around
    like eager hounds along a hound trail
    they pick up my scent then
    hit me with their sense and soul and sound.

    The entire first stanza was my favorite part of them poem – it’s so clever 🙂


  9. It’s so satisfying when you can find a home for a random line that worms its way into your head, Ingrid, and yours is perfect for this prompt. I love the image of strings of words following you around like eager hounds. I wonder if that’s the case for all poets – although mine would probably be cats! I’ll be looking out for ‘eager word-hounds’ among the ‘senseless, ceaseless noise’ – great use of sibilance to represent white noise!

  10. I think becoming a poet means training our noses to the scent of words leaping all about the world. And read others’ poems like puppies playing in a pack. … And the words, they do smell like home!

  11. Now that is a great opening line, love the humour in this and that “word hound” metaphor. It’s amazing how when one’s mind is uncluttered, the words start to associate with each other!

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