Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday's Poetry: "May Day"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

May Day, a date set aside to honor the world's labor movement, was celebrated a week ago today on May 1st.  But May Day in our country also has a long history of being identified with the blossoming of spring.  Schools in my parents' time had celebrations of May Day with May baskets and children dancing around a May pole.

This poem, "May Day" by Tess Taylor is more aligned with the old time rites of spring May Day than with any political or labor movement.  Taylor looks with a nostalgic eye toward a flower-strewn, sweetly scented spring day, and a season that is almost gone before we can take the time to properly appreciate it.  "The parade I barely noticed was beginning - is already halfway down the street."  Those insightful words could also describe life itself.

(And on this day in May, life at Rock's Roost is rollicking and joyous.  Caesar appears to have fully recovered and enjoyed a good breakfast.  Fiona pranced out of the barn at daybreak, suddenly skinny, with babies undoubtedly hidden in the loft, and the little geese have discovered their swimming pool and are delighting in splashing about.  There is nothing as grand as a day in May!)

May Day
by Tess Taylor

They go, the early flags, the gory maples—
so too the daffodils & Lenten roses.
Other petals swirl & nights warm.
Buds thicken and cast shadows:
in a thunderstorm
I almost forget the ice that was.
Narcissi suckle watery paths;
meadows heap up emerald masses.
How green & I want to delight
except this undertow—it pulls so fast
passing before I recognize it—
like souls in Dante who can’t see the present,
white lilacs curdle in pre-summer heat.
The parade I barely noticed was beginning
is already halfway down the street.

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