’Twas coal black, the sky, over valley and hill,
trees, grasses, shrubs shaking in northerly chill,
birds glad to keep shelter in feathery beds,
and leaf buds contented to hide their green heads.
Then sudden, the wind died, all’s quiet as a tomb,
’til bells jingled merrily out through the gloom,
and twilight illumined the source of this sound,
the Happenstance Border folk, dancing a round.
High summit, their staging, close by to the clouds,
county in purple pink shrouds,
and while the folk flurried, away swept the dawn,
as slowly the sun rose to welcome the morn.
And then, the whole shireland lay gleaming in gold,
from rivers to fields to the top of the wold,
the fish in the Isbourne, the pigs in their sty,
the flecked running rabbits, the larks pealing high.
Jack saw and smiled widely within his grand bower,
and all of his hawthorns burst into full flower,
some white, others crimson, delightful display,
to celebrate spring on the first day of May.
* * *
Very early on Thursday 1 May, Happenstance welcomed in the May on the top of Cleeve Hill.
Alas, the P-i-R was unable to attend, once again for reasons of ill-health. However, physical absence need not prevent a poem, as Mrs T. was able to describe the morning. Unfortunately, it had rained. Yet mere inclemency need not heed the poet’s progress either, as the rain of the natural world yields to the reign of imagination. (P-i-R adjusts an imaginary crown.)
Thus this song, another ‘waltzer’. Whereas in ‘Rocket Dance’ the first beat to be stressed is the third of each line, here it is the second. The form that resembles this sequence most closely is the dactyl – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dactyl_(poetry) – though here we have an unstressed first beat and a silent beat at the end of each line, to make four beats in total: ~ — ~ ~ — ~ ~ — ~ ~ — (~)
I researched May Day online, particularly for reading on Jack in the Green (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_in_the_Green). I’m interested in folklore, if that’s the correct expression! And Spring is such an exuberant season, as nature bursts into bloom.