An interpretation of the smell of opium smoke. heady and hypnotic with a distinctive floral note wafting seductively over a deep dry slightly spicy smoke.
Hedonistic. Hypnotic. Inspirational. Transformational. Fascinating.
Ensnaring. Dangerous. Forbidden.
Once you breathe this glamorous smoke, there may be no going back.
Opium and art have a long history. Many important artists seeking inspiration or escape have been lost in its labyrinth. Jean Cocteau's own tortured and life-long relationship with the drug may well have inspired some of his best art and poetry culminating in his last film, "Testement d'Orphée, ou ne me demande pas pourquoi". This was a self-professed exploration and explanation of his life's work. Poetic, enigmatic and to some, puzzling, the film ends with the bursting of a bubble of smoke. A fitting metaphor for the life of a poet - especially one with a gaze that so long pierced the veil of smoke to see another world beyond...
Why would an artist choose so destructive a medium to enable such visions no matter how fabulous or sublime? Why is a poet compelled to write or an artist to create? Cocteau himself best answered that question in the subtitle of his final work:
Do not ask me why.
The smell of opium smoke is apparently hauntingly beautiful. I have heard and read many descriptions which have long fascinated me and I have at last decided to interpret my own vision of what that scent may be like. How accurate can my interpretation be? Is it true to its source?
Perhaps best to say "Do not ask me..."