May Day


Happy May Day!

Traditionally, May Day celebrates the Earth’s stirring from her winter slumber. In honor of this bridge between Earth Month and the coming summer I would like to share a couple of poems from Sublime Planet by Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson. These poems are re-printed with their permission. You can find two more poems, plus an interview with the authors at Museiddity.com.

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The Man I Love and The Writing Spider

by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

 

Proud Arachne weaving threads of silver

into words became a changeling

at the hand of Zeus. Charlotte knew

the power of words

could save even a pig. The Writing

Spider my imagination’s

mascot.

 

Forgetting my reverence for its writing

skills I begin to slide the patio door against

this micro werewolf in righteous

self-defense, his imagined face vicious,

hairy his legs, those tools under his belly

no longer idealized

wordspinners.

 

Just in time, my husband, child of Zen,

tenderly shanghais my attacker. A folded

tissue—a papery cocoon not unlike

the silky space this spider makes

for herself in window

corners—protects

his palm.

 

He shakes her loose

from her pristine hammock

gently

near the mound where ants

hang out to dine at will

on any fallen enemy

or comrade.

 

Saving one to kill or be killed.

Once, the savior of this story

 

rescued a bee, legs

and antennae

fruited with pollen,

only to have it plant its stinger

in his thumb and slowly die

anyway.

 

Neither bee nor spider

aware of how tender

and treacherous my hero’s

trap.

 

Smokewater

by Magdalena Ball

 

Slowly, if you will

tip toeing through the biomass

pores hot and open

body on alert

pick through chemical decomposition

charred landscape of desire.

 

The wood beneath your fingers

terra preta

veins visible against filtered light;

a promise

you may or may not keep.

 

Future

a concept too vague and amoral

to hold you.

 

The dirt below

becomes wilderness in your brain

the boggy soil in your gut

inspires forward motion.

 

Sublime Planet is the most recent book in The Celebration Series; I like the fact that all proceeds go to the World Wildlife Fund. If you like reading and sharing great poetry you’ll want to check out the rest of these titles. All are available as paperback and e-books.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are coming up fast—these make fun tuck-in gifts!

 

She Wore Emerald Then: Reflections on Motherhood (http://budurl.com/MotherChapbook)

Cherished Pulse: Love Poetry for the Rational
(http://budurl.com/CherishedPulse)

Imagining the Future: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine Apparitions

(http://budurl.com/Imagining )

Deeper into the Pond: A Celebration of Femininity

(http://budurl.com/DeeperPond)

And Blooming Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational
(http://budurl.com/BloomingRed)

And, of course, Sublime Planet in celebration of the Earth and Universe

(http://amzn.to/SublimePlanet)

 

Have a little May Day fun and share a short poem with us! In the comment section below, share a poem on the theme of May Day or Spring. Keep it short–under 200 character, like a Tweet.

 

As a child,  May Day was one of my favorite holidays.  The making of May Day baskets to hang on the neighbors door and collecting small flowers (aka weeds) for tiny bouquets was great fun.  It seemed perfectly simple to me; on Halloween we asked for candy and on May Day we left flowers. 

As it turns out May Day was actually closely tied to Halloween in the early Celtic and Pagan traditions.  As Samhain, or Halloween, ushered in the Winter; Beltane, or May Day, ushered in the Summer.  Both celebrations were seen as times when the veil between the mortal world and the Otherworld was thin.  Unexplainable happenings could occur and communications with gods and nature spirits were possible.

With the arrival of Summer the focus of these communications were for healthy animals and bountiful crops.  Bonfires were lit to symbolically burn off disease or negative energy.  Celebrations were held in honor of the Goddess as Maiden, bearer of fertility.  The Maiden was married to Lord of the Wood, (Green Man or Jack of the Green), and the Earth was renewed. This marriage has been symbolically portrayed in the stories of King Arthur and his Sacred Marriage to the land and in the legend of Robin Hood who weds the virtuous Maid Marian.

To insure the fertility of this Great Marriage the people assisted with the building of the energy.  Through dancing and drumming they hoped to add strength to the magical union.  Paring up with those to whom they were most attracted, (though not necessarily wed), for long hours of love-making under the trees was another form of symbolic magic.  The celebration of  Life and the indulgence in life’s pleasures was a way of saying “yes” to the Gods.  Yes, we enjoy this life.  Yes, we enjoy the pleasures of this human body.  Yes, we celebrate fertility in all forms. 

Have you read The Secret?  Well, this is where it started.  To put oneself in the energy (the acceptance) of that which one wants to experience.  I wonder how different the world would be today if we had continued the practice of saying “yes” to Life.  How would history have played out if we had not given so much focus to death and war?