We think of Thomas Hardy as a nature poet, although probably not to the extent that we know John Clare to be one.

Hardy’s ‘An August Midnight‘, written in 1915, is not just about the natural world, but concerns our relationships in it.

Here it is:

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 parade my new-penned ink,

Or bang at the lamp-glass, whirl, and sink.

“God’s humblest, they!” I muse.  Yet why?

They know Earth-secrets that know not I.

They must indeed, one way or another.  But how many environmental educators think like that?  Or, if they do, how many think that such secrets would be worth knowing.  Ironically, as this post was being drafted, a large, insistent fly was at the window, and it is hard to think of it as a guest.  It would be easier to do that in relation to a bumblebee (Hardy’s dumbledore) because we tend to view bees more positively than we do flies, even though we know that, perhaps, we should not.




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