the weekly


Scientists said, ‘Take a sniff’
(It was a blindfold test),
And by your pleasant, pungent whiff
I picked you from the rest.

I knew that you were pretty old,
Had years beneath your belt:
I sensed in you how years unfold.
All this from how you smelt.

Perhaps because you have endured –
Each year now seems a wink –
I found that I was quite inured
Against your ageing stink.

Or maybe it’s that I persist
When I should be in a coma –
But, coated in familiar mist,
You wear a sweet aroma.

Flesh and gristle, marrowbone,
Who were you? What’s your score?
Unblinded: ah, I should have known.
The bloody Afghan war.

Click here to read an Independent article

Click here to buy Bill’s new poetry collection, Ringers


Pennsylvania scientists have found that people can deduce age by smell. Contrary to myth, the elderly have a scent that other people do not find unpleasant.

7 June 2012


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