Thursday, April 30, 2009

BitterGrace wishes everyone a happy May Day

...and a joyful Beltane to those who celebrate.

That rapture in the leafy dark!
Who is it shouts upon the bough aswing,
Waking the upland and the valley under?
What carols, like the blazon of a king,
Fill all the dawn with wonder?
Oh, hush,
It is the thrush,
In the deep and woody glen!
Ah, thus the gladness of the gods was sung,
When the old Earth was young;
That rapture rang,
When the first morning on the mountains sprang:
And now he shouts, and the world is young again!
Carol, my king,
On your bough aswing!
Thou art not of these evil days—
Thou art a voice of the world’s lost youth:
Oh, tell me what is duty—what is truth—
How to find God upon these hungry ways;
Tell of the golden prime,
When bird and beast could make a man their friend ;
When men beheld swift deities descend,
Before the race was left alone with Time,
Homesick on Earth, and homeless to the end;
Before great Pan was dead,
Before the naiads fled;
When maidens white with dark eyes shy and bold,
With peals of laughter on the peaks of gold,
Startled the still dawn—
Shone in upon the mountains and were gone,
Their voices fading silverly in depths of forests old.
Sing of the wonders of their woodland ways,
Before the weird earth-hunger of these days,
When there was rippling mirth,
When justice was on Earth,
And light and grandeur of the Golden Age;
When never a heart was sad,
When all from king to herdsman had
A penny for a wage.

From "A Lyric of the Dawn" by Edwin Markham, 1921. Read the complete poem here.

Read about the history of Haymarket and May Day at the Encyclopedia of Chicago.

Photo of a mayapple blossom by BitterGrace.


chayaruchama said...

Oh, sisters mine...
Happy Beltane !

"Oh, Comrades, come rally-
And the last fight we will face;
The Internationale unites the human race..." !

How could I be my sweet subversive self, senza voce....without these immortal lines which sent me to the Principal's Office in third grade, LOL......

BitterGrace said...

You and Dave could do a nice duet on that one, Chaya. Happy May Day!

jmcleod76 said...

This is an autumn poem, thinks I, or an early-spring-mud-season poem at the very most. Even so, your offering made me think of it. Though Hopkins was a Jesuit, this little gem makes an appearance in my Zen Sutra book:

InversnaidThis darksome burn, horseback brown,
His rollrock highroad roaring down,
In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
Flutes and low to the lake falls home.
A windpuff-bonnet of fawn-froth
Turns and twindles over the broth
Of a pool so pitchblack, fell-frowning,
It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning.
Degged with dew, dappled with dew,
Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through,
Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.
What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

- Gerard Manley Hopkins

BitterGrace said...

Thanks, J--I love Hopkins, and that poem is a beautiful one. I think his overtly religious poems, oddly enough, are some of his best, such as"The Blessed Virgin Compared to the Air We Breath."

There have been a few Hopkins posts around here, mostly before I got the energy to start doing tags. Here's one:

BitterGrace said...

PS. That should be "Breathe." And Happy May Day ;-)

jmcleod76 said...

Yeah, happy May Day to you, too (what's left of it).

Perfumeshrine said...

A most happy Beltane to you, dear M!!

BitterGrace said...

Thank you, E. It was a soggy, soggy day here, but still a happy one.