Happy May Day and happy Beltane! I’m not sure how it got to be May already, but here we are. I was thinking about the belief that Beltane is one of the times of the year when the walls between the human world and the faerie world grow thin, making it easier to pass from one to the other. I’ve been writing about this in Thief of Destiny, which has all kinds of interesting stuff about the faery realm and magic and my main character’s connection to both of those things.
And for my fellow Washington College alumni, May Day probably brings back memories. The college has a tradition of students running around naked on campus on May Day. Apparently it has its own page in Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_Day_%28Washington_College%29. I feel a bit sad reading that there isn’t as much nakedness as there used to be! There’s also a video of my favorite English professor describing how he inadvertently started the tradition in the 60s (of course it was the 60s!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjjBgtvrQNY
So if you get a hankering to run around naked and read poetry today, here’s a poem to include. I’m pretty sure this was on my May Day list one year. I’ve posted it before, but it’s a favorite.
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
(from The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins)
Nothing is so beautiful as Spring
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.