For no other reason than that it is now August, I recently revisited the following poem by Thomas Hardy:
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 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.
After reading the poem, it occurred to me that, within the past year or so, I had read another poem that featured ink, insects, and candlelight. At my age, notions such as this often arrive without particulars. However, I have found that, if I quietly refer the notion to my brain, and patiently wait, the particulars will usually arrive later. In time, I remembered the poem. It is by Walter de la Mare:
This evening to my manuscript
Flitted a tiny fly;
At the wet ink sedately sipped,
Then seemed to put the matter by,
Mindless of him who wrote it, and
His scrutinizing eye --
That any consciousness indeed
Its actions could descry! . . .
Silence; and wavering candlelight;
Night; and a starless sky.
Inward Companion (1950). (The ellipses are in the original.)
"Evening Light Near Sevenoaks, Kent" (1930)