An August Midnight


A shaded lamp and a waving blind,
And the beat of a clock from a distant floor:
On this scene enter—winged, horned, and spined—
A longlegs, a moth, and a dumbledore;
While ‘mid my page there idly stands
A sleepy fly, that rubs its hands …


Thus meet we five, in this still place,
At this point of time, at this point in space.
—My guests besmear my new-penned line,
Or bang at the lamp and fall supine.
“God’s humblest, they!” I muse. Yet why?
They know Earth-secrets that know not I.

Thomas Hardy

The insect world is beginning to feel cooler nights as the house martins, in conference on the telephone wires, are considering departure dates for warmer climes. But domestic houses made by human hands are treacherously dangerous to flying birds, long-legs, moth or fly. And I feel an obligation, wherever possible, to upend my nightstand lampshade, to set free the little creatures who, as Hardy has it, are, for all their tininess, party to life experience not known to my eye.

see housemartins


2 thoughts on “Earth-secrets

    1. Good morning Eighty eight, and thank you. As a child I had a very strong sense of ‘angels unawares’ – brought to mind again by your note this morning. Oddly (perhaps), whilst thinking about that, I received an email from the priest / poet Malcolm Guite containing one of his songs, the title and opening lines of which are

      Angels Unawares

      Some people say that life is just a given thing
      but you and I both know by whom its lent
      and that its right here in the dirt
      where we’ve both been loved and hurt
      that Love Himself has come to pitch His tent

      You can see / hear the rest of the song at Unawares

      Have a lovely sunny day xx


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