Almond

  • Almond Blossom

    Almond Blossom
    Even iron can put forth,
    Even iron.

    This is the iron age,
    But let us take heart
    Seeing iron break and bud,
    Seeing rusty iron puff with clouds of blossom.

    The almond-tree,
    December’s bare iron hooks sticking out of earth.

    The almond-tree,
    That knows the deadliest poison, like a snake
    In supreme bitterness.

    Upon the iron, and upon the steel,
    Odd flakes as if of snow, odd bits of snow,
    Odd crumbs of melting snow.

    But you mistake, it is not from the sky;
    From out the iron, and from out the steel,
    Flying not down from heaven, but storming up,
    Strange storming up from the dense under-earth
    Along the iron, to the living steel
    In rose-hot tips, and flakes of rose-pale snow
    Setting supreme annunciation to the world.

    Nay, what a heart of delicate super-faith,
    Iron-breaking,
    The rusty swords of almond-trees.

    Trees suffer, like races, down the long ages.
    They wander and are exiled, they live in exile through long ages
    Like drawn blades never sheathed, hacked and gone black,
    The alien trees in alien lands: and yet
    The heart of blossom,
    The unquenchable heart of blossom!

    Look at the many-cicatrised frail vine, none more scarred and frail,
    Yet see him fling himself abroad in fresh abandon
    From the small wound-stump.

    Even the wilful, obstinate, gummy fig-tree
    Can be kept down, but he’ll burst like a polyp into prolixity.

    And the almond-tree, in exile, in the iron age!

    This is the ancient southern earth whence the vases were baked, amphoras, craters, cantharus, oenochoe, and open-hearted cylix,
    Bristling now with the iron of almond-trees

    Iron, but unforgotten,
    Iron, dawn-hearted,
    Ever-beating dawn-heart, enveloped in iron against the exile, against the ages.

    See it come forth in blossom
    From the snow-remembering heart
    In long-nighted January,
    In the long dark nights of the evening star, and Sirius, and the Etna snow-wind through the long night.

    Sweating his drops of blood through the long-nighted Gethsemane
    Into blossom, into pride, into honey-triumph, into most exquisite splendour.
    Oh, give me the tree of life in blossom
    And the Cross sprouting its superb and fearless flowers!

    Something must be reassuring to the almond, in the evening star, and the snow-wind, and the long, long, nights,
    Some memory of far, sun-gentler lands,
    So that the faith in his heart smiles again
    And his blood ripples with that untenable delight of once-more-vindicated faith,
    And the Gethsemane blood at the iron pores unfolds, unfolds,
    Pearls itself into tenderness of bud
    And in a great and sacred forthcoming steps forth, steps out in one stride
    A naked tree of blossom, like a bridegroom bathing in dew, divested of cover,
    Frail-naked, utterly uncovered
    To the green night-baying of the dog-star, Etna’s snow-edged wind
    And January’s loud-seeming sun.

    Think of it, from the iron fastness
    Suddenly to dare to come out naked, in perfection of blossom, beyond the sword-rust.
    Think, to stand there in full-unfolded nudity, smiling,
    With all the snow-wind, and the sun-glare, and the dog-star baying epithalamion.

    Oh, honey-bodied beautiful one,
    Come forth from iron,
    Red your heart is.
    Fragile-tender, fragile-tender life-body,
    More fearless than iron all the time,
    And so much prouder, so disdainful of reluctances.

    In the distance like hoar-frost, like silvery ghosts communing on a green hill,
    Hoar-frost-like and mysterious.

    In the garden raying out
    With a body like spray, dawn-tender, and looking about
    With such insuperable, subtly-smiling assurance,
    Sword-blade-born.

    Unpromised,
    No bounds being set.
    Flaked out and come unpromised,
    The tree being life-divine,
    Fearing nothing, life-blissful at the core
    Within iron and earth.

    Knots of pink, fish-silvery
    In heaven, in blue, blue heaven,
    Soundless, bliss-full, wide-rayed, honey-bodied,
    Red at the core,
    Red at the core,
    Knotted in heaven upon the fine light.

    Open,
    Open,
    Five times wide open,
    Six times wide open,
    And given, and perfect;
    And red at the core with the last sore-heartedness,
    Sore-hearted-looking.
    DH Lawrence

    Something must be reassuring to the almond, in the evening star, and the snow-wind, and the long, long, nights: almond blossom, hoar-frost, and snow-wind.

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  • Asp Viper

    Snake Oil with King mandarin, myrrh, and almond.

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  • Bastet

    Bast, Ubasti, Ailuros, Ba-en-Aset. Represented as both a domestic cat and a fierce lioness, she truly evidences traits of both. She is the Mother of All Cats, Goddess of Sensuality, Fertility, and a guardian and protector of women. She is also one of the Eyes of Ra, and in that aspect is an Avenging Goddess, seeking retribution and punishing enemies of her people.

    Luxuriant amber, warm Egyptian musk, fierce saffron and soft myrrh, almond, cardamom and golden lotus.

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  • Bilquis

    The Queen of Sheba, half-demon, they said, on her father’s side, witch woman, wise woman, and queen, who ruled Sheba when Sheba was the richest land there ever was, when its spices and its gems and scented woods were taken by boat and camel-back to the corners of the earth, who was worshipped even when she was alive, worshipped as a living goddess by the wisest of kings, stands on the sidewalk of Sunset Boulevard at 2:00 A.M. staring blankly out at traffic like a slutty plastic bride on a black-and-neon wedding cake. She stands as if she owns the sidewalk and the night that surrounds her.

    Honey, myrrh, lily of the valley, rose otto, fig leaf, almond, ambrette, red apple, and warm musk.

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  • Cat Chasing Butterflies

    Peach blossom and amber with almond cream and sweet musk.

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  • Eclipse

    All the glory, warmth and majesty of the sun — darkened. A delicious blend of bitter almond, vanilla, frankincense and heliotrope, with a drop of cinnamon.

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  • Fortuna Conservatrix

    The Fortunes of Those Who Protect the Defenseless

    A hymn to give strength and good luck to those who safeguard others: black peppercorn, bitter almond, patchouli, and benzoin.

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  • Hearthflame and Incense

    Crackling almond wood and the deep sweet smoke of burgundy pitch, Austrian amber resin, black copal, and frankincense.

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  • Hecate

    Magnificent three-faced Goddess of Magic, the Dark Moon and the Crossroads. She is the Mother of Witches, and the midnight baying of hounds is her paean. Her compassion is evidenced in her role as Psychopomp for Persephone, and her wrath manifests as Medea’s revenge.

    Deep, buttery almond layered over myrrh and dark musk.

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  • King Cake

    A sweet brioche cake with a hint of almond, glazed with cream cheese frosting and gleaming with purple, green, and gold sugar.

    Some bottles will be shipped – randomly – with a tiny king cake trinket.

    Illustration: Krewe of Comus, 1869.

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  • Knecht Ruprecht

    I came here from the forest
    I tell you, it is a very holy night!
    All over the tips of the firs
    I saw bright flashes of golden light;
    And from above, the gates of heaven
    I saw with open eyes the Christ-child
    and as I wander through the dark forest
    I hear a light voice calling me.
    “Knecht Ruprecht” it called, “Old man
    Lift your legs and hurry! Fast!

    The candles alight
    the gates of heaven open wide
    old and young
    shall rest from the hunt of life
    and tomorrow I shall fly to earth
    as it shall be Christmas again!”

    I said: “O dear master, Christ
    My trip is almost at an end;
    It is only this one town / where the children are good”.
    “Do you have your sack with you?”
    I said: “The sack, it is here;
    apples, nuts and almonds
    solemn children do enjoy”.
    “Do you also have your cane?”
    I said: “The cane, it is here.
    But only for the bad children,
    to hit their right rear”.

    The Christ-child spoke: “That is good;
    So go with god my faithful servant!”
    I came here from the forest
    I tell you, it is a very holy night!
    Speak now how I find it here
    Are the children good or bad?

    The snow-covered foliage of the Black Forest and the fruit and woods of apple and almond trees.

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  • Miss Lupescu

    “Bod,” said Silas. “This is Miss Lupescu.”

    Miss Lupescu was not pretty. Her face was pinched and her expression was disapproving. Her hair was grey, although her face seemed too young for grey hair. Her front teeth were slightly crooked. She wore a bulky mackintosh, and a man’s tie around her neck.

    “How do you do, Miss Lupescu?” said Bod.

    Miss Lupescu said nothing. She sniffed. Then she looked at Silas and said, “So. This is the boy.” She got up from her seat and walked all around Bod, nostrils flared, as if she were sniffing him. When she had made a complete circuit, she said, “You will report to me on waking, and before you go to sleep. I have rented a room in a house over there.” She pointed to a roof just visible from where they stood. “However, I shall spend my time in this graveyard. I am here as a historian, researching the history of old graves. You understand, boy? Da?”

    “Bod,” said Bod. “It’s Bod. Not boy.”

    “Short for Nobody,” she said. “A foolish name. Also, Bod is a pet name. A nickname. I do not approve. I will call you ‘boy’. You will call me ‘Miss Lupescu’.”

    Bod looked up at Silas, pleadingly, but there was no sympathy on Silas’s face. He picked up his bag and said, “You will be in good hands with Miss Lupescu, Bod. I am sure that the two of you will get on.”

    “We won’t!” said Bod. “She’s horrible!”

    “That,” said Silas, “Was a very rude thing to say. I think you should apologise, don’t you?”

    Bod didn’t, but Silas was looking at him and he was carrying his black bag, and about to leave for no-one knew how long, so he said, “I’m sorry Miss Lupescu.”

    At first she said nothing in reply. She merely sniffed. Then she said, “I have come a long way to look after you, boy. I hope you are worth it.”

    Animalic musk, with amber, patchouli, ho wood, cypress, almond blossom, golden sandalwood, and strange spices.

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  • Mystical Aphorisms of the Fortune Cookie

    Obergefell vs Hodges

    If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,’ I would hide my head in a bag. The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.

    Almond fortune cookies and a bit of roadside palm reader-inspired incense.

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  • Narr

    The affable fool who uses his own obtuseness and ignorance to his advantage: milk, honey, and wild fig with ambrette seed and almond buttercream.

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  • Port-Au-Prince

    Dark, decadent and incomparably exotic: the rich scent of buttered rum flavored with almond, bay, clove and sassafras.

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  • Romans 13:8

    Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

    Almond, wild fig, red rose petals, cardamom, and oudh.

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  • Six

    Red roses, black leather, and toasted almond.

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  • The Orb

    The world over which he rules: bitter almond and gold oudh.

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  • The Pleasure of Aristocratic Women

    Honeyed amber, teakwood, almond, and coconut.

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  • Uruk

    A city of mystery, wonder and majesty, said to have been built by order of Gilgamesh. Thick bitter almond and heady night-blooming jasmine with saffron, cinnamon leaf, red patchouli, river lilies, bergamot, fig leaf and the sacred incense of Inanna.

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  • Voodoo

    A midnight scent, evoking images of flickering golden firelight reflecting off the sheen of glistening skin and the jerking shadows of bodies suffused with spiritual ecstasy. A deep, powerful, resonant blend of myrrh, patchouli, vetiver, lime, vanilla, pine, almond and clove.

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