K.M. Preston: ‘Botrytis cinerea’ and ‘Kerosene Lamp’

Botrytis cinerea

It’s Latin, grapes like ashes, the fruit
withered by neurotrophic fungus,
a noble rot when drier conditions follow wet.
The result is a wine paradoxically sweet.

In life a change in weather, a wintering
or perhaps a desert space, is never easy
but that experience of necessary hardship
is what refines, produces the most superb drop.

K. M. Preston


Kerosene Lamp

There were lots of blackouts in those days,
the wiring touchy and temperamental,
the rustic power lines on telegraph poles
prone to sway in poplar dance
when banshee winds swept down the valley.

The kerosene lamp, on ignition,
emits a puff of blackened smoke that
spreads its heady tang around the room,
sweet, medicinal and warm as kindled light
that flickers, wavers, as the wick is trimmed.

There was a sense of gravity, even purpose
in knowing we were “making do”.
Bright torchlight doesn’t have sufficient intimacy
to bind throughout the stormy night
or cast out darkness like a ghost.

K.M. Preston

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