An August Midnight

Among the scents we actively recoil from in drinks, coconut is one of them, or so it emerged this morning when we opened the tin with this day’s tea. We’ve never liked  coconut but we can sometimes bear it in things if it isn’t the main ingredient. This isn’t true of tea, possibly because no drink on earth should smell of suncream. In this particular instance, we’re immensely grateful that the tea doesn’t taste as it smells, but that might be because we were afraid of leaving it to steep. We’ve never really been curious to find out what suncream tastes like, you understand.

All told though, and if you can get past -or indeed have no issue with -the smell of coconut, it’s a nice tea, smooth, creamy and reminiscent of those flavoured custard creams sold briefly by Lidl (the coconut variety, naturally). We used to buy them in the summer and eat them out in the garden. With that in mind, here’s a poem we’ve long associated with summer writings and the act of creation -though we now suspect that for years we misunderstood the title. No matter, the day’s almost run out here in Scotland, and goodness knows Miss Marschallin-cat would be grievously offended if we didn’t consider her august company.


An August Midnight

Thomas Hardy


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.

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