Mayday, mayday! It's May Day!

In some parts of the country, it still feels like early spring. In some parts of the world, it’s literally winter.


But May 1 is the first day of May, which is also known as “May Day.”


May Day is celebrated around the world. It has a number of meanings. In many other countries, it is a celebration of spring and the coming of summer.


Usually, May Day is celebrated with many spring flowers, many of them blooming right in your own backyard.


Even though it’s not a nationally recognized holiday in the United States, there’s no reason not to celebrate one of the most beautiful days of the year.


Here are some of our favorite “May Day” themed poems.


“Spring” by William Blake

This poem is a glorious celebration of the arrival of spring, exploring the harmony of man with the natural world and some of Blake’s more popular themes: childhood, innocence, and nature being three of the most prominent.


“Sonnet 98” by William Shakespeare

One of the sonnets addressed to the ‘Fair Youth’, this poem sees Shakespeare bemoaning the fact that he could not appreciate all the beauty of spring around him because he was absent from the young man.


“The Trees” by Philip Larkin

This is a Cherry-blossom brief lyric about the cycle of the seasons but also the sense that each spring is not just a rebirth, but also (shades of Rossetti and Dickinson again here) a reminder of death.


“Today” by Billy Collins

There is a delightful playfulness here – a sense of being, in spring, a mini-God within the kingdom of one’s own front room. Captive figures from the snow dome now venture out: “holding hands and squinting / into this larger dome of blue and white” as this witty, carefree poem completes what it started.


“In Perpetual Spring” by Amy Gerstler

“Gardens are also good places / to sulk. You pass beds of / spiky voodoo lilies…” Spring does not encourage her to prolong the sulk – she is overtaken by a sudden sense of unity in nature. It is a bordering-on-perverse coming together, in which she allows a thistle (“queen of weeds”) to contribute to the harmony exercise.


Did we miss any of your favorites? Have you written any poems that go with the May Day theme? Let us know below!

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