The Scent of Light

The Scent of Light

The power is gone. Again.
I’m muttering after candles,
scented, too many
Candlelight is a gauze
in this spectral darkness,
and the air stiff
enough to snuff-out a flame.
Scents, breathless rose
and beige wilderness,
a perishing smell,
greasy, ropey with ash
from the hearth with its low
glowing coals strangling red
like a famine’s ache, and I sit
in a tall-back chair
with patches on its cushion,
and its stripe ticking leaking
like a stuffed trout,
and how did people sit
in such gloom
and foul air, and spend
their eyes reading by candlelight.
The scent from the candles
grows sickly – my head aches.
I rattle windows open
to darkness and light rain
and faint wind, and watch
as one flame after
the other flickers,
droops to darkness, and then
the room is blind again.



Remixed from Charles Dickens “Bleak House” and my diary from March 1991