Sunday, May 04, 2008

May traditions...

still linger. Mother described to me today the Wallington May Queen celebrations: the little May Queen was crowned at the Old Town Hall (where I took my seat as a borough councillor some years ago...) and then the procession went along the main road - past Mother's front window which gave her a grand view and much pleasure - with flowers and fun and a celebration of summer coming. It's been part of Wallington life since 1903. A tiny bit of Lark Rise to Candleford in a London suburb... read about it here:


Anonymous said...


May is Mary's month, and I
Muse at that and wonder why:
Her feasts follow reason,
Dated due to season—

Candlemas, Lady Day;
But the Lady Month, May,
Why fasten that upon her,
With a feasting in her honour?

Is it only its being brighter
Than the most are must delight her?
Is it opportunest
And flowers finds soonest?

Ask of her, the mighty mother:
Her reply puts this other
Question: What is Spring?—
Growth in every thing—

Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
Grass and greenworld all together;
Star-eyed strawberry-breasted
Throstle above her nested

Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin
Forms and warms the life within;
And bird and blossom swell
In sod or sheath or shell.

All things rising, all things sizing
Mary sees, sympathising
With that world of good,
Nature's motherhood.

Their magnifying of each its kind
With delight calls to mind
How she did in her stored
Magnify the Lord.

Well but there was more than this:
Spring's universal bliss
Much, had much to say
To offering Mary May.

When drop-of-blood-and-foam-dapple
Bloom lights the orchard-apple
And thicket and thorp are merry
With silver-surfèd cherry.

And azuring-over greybell makes
Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes
And magic cuckoocall
Caps, clears, and clinches all—

This ecstasy all through mothering earth
Tells Mary her mirth till Christ's birth
To remember and exultation
In God who was her salvation.

~ Gerard Manly Hopkins (1844-1889), English poet and Jesuit priest, whose work had a profound influence on 20th-century poetry

Anonymous said...

I'm pleased to see you supporting pagan fertility festivities.