Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day Poem and History

Happy Mayday!

Today I thought I'd share a May poem from about 12 years ago. The daughter in question is now a beautiful young woman who will be turning 24 later this month.

My Daughter in Baptist Youth
for Brenna, age 12

Sometimes I throw out words,
casual, not an issue,
words like Maia, Athena, Mara,
names of goddesses.
Words like myth and story
when we speak of these old tales
and dictums, histories of magic
and supernatural cruelties,
campsite tips - things we are
told to live our lives by.

Sometimes, her faith
held tight in her young heart,
she balks, challenges,
walks away, hurt and tearing.
And so I keep it easy, thrown in,
aside. The myths an option,
all the other stories - tidbits,
tastes of all belief,
the names sprinkled in like salt.

Sometimes, on a spring night,
we come together, blissful,
around a leaping fire,
roast marshmallows and
admire the flowers resurrected
after winter.
Celebrate Beltane, her birthmonth,
bring in the May.

by Anita M. Barnard
published in Above Us Only Sky
Incarnate Muse Press 2003

This is also Beltaine. The Celtic festival "Beltine (or Beltaine) was celebrated on 1 May, a spring-time festival of optimism. Fertility ritual again was important, in part perhaps connecting with the waxing power of the sun, symbolized by the lighting of fires through which livestock were driven, and around which the people danced in a sunwise direction."  -Nora Chadwick (from Wikipedia, where you can read more). We love a festival involving fires and often make a fire in the fire pit on this evening...it also makes a good excuse for roasting vegetables (or marshmallows) over the wood fire.

May 1st is also Labor Day in many countries.

The vintage Maypole image is from the Graphics Fairy.

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