Musings in May: Robert Herrick
“The May-pole is up,
Now give me the cup;
I’ll drink to the garlands around it;
But first unto those
Whose hands did compose
The glory of flowers that crown’d it.”
Art For May – Charles Daniel Ward (British, 1872-1935): “The Progress of Spring”
A Poem for May
By Sara Teasdale
A delicate fabric of bird song
Floats in the air,
The smell of wet wild earth
Red small leaves of the maple
Are clenched like a hand,
Like girls at their first communion
The pear trees stand.
Oh I must pass nothing by
Without loving it much,
The raindrop try with my lips,
The grass with my touch;
For how can I be sure
I shall see again
The world on the first of May
Shining after the rain?
Below – Lily of the Valley, the flower associated with May.
Art For May – Claude Monet: “Springtime”
A Second Poem for May
By Jonathan Galassi
The backyard apple tree gets sad so soon,
takes on a used-up, feather-duster look
within a week.
The ivy’s spring reconnaissance campaign
sends red feelers out and up and down
to find the sun.
Ivy from last summer clogs the pool,
brewing a loamy, wormy, tea-leaf mulch
soft to the touch
and rank with interface of rut and rot.
The month after the month they say is cruel
is and is not.
Art For May – Evert Pieters (Dutch, 1856-1932): “In the Month of May”
Musings in May: Sir Thomas Malory
“It was the month of May, the month when the foliage of herbs and trees is most freshly green, when buds ripened and blossoms appear in their fragrance and loveliness. And the month when lovers, subject to the same force which reawakens the plants, feel their hearts open again, recall past trysts and past vows, and moments of tenderness, and yearn for a renewal of the magical awareness which is love.”
Below – Pierre Auguste Cot: “Springtime”
Art For May – Vincent van Gogh: “View of Arles with Irises in the Foreground”
A Third Poem for May
By Sarra Teasdale
The wind is tossing the lilacs,
The new leaves laugh in the sun,
And the petals fall on the orchard wall,
But for me the spring is done.
Beneath the apple blossoms
I go a wintry way,
For love that smiled in April
Is false to me in May.
Below – Paul Cornoyer: “Woman with Apple Blossoms”
Art For May – Dante Gabriel Rossetti: “Lady Lilith”
Musings in May: Thomas Bailey Aldrich
“Hebe’s here, May is here!
The air is fresh and sunny;
And the miser-bees are busy
Hoarding golden honey.”
Below – Louis Fischer: “Goddess of Youth and Cupbearer Hebe and Eagle of Zeus”
Art For May – Circle of Adrian van Stalbemt (Antwerp, 1580-1662): :Allegory of the Month of May”
A Fourth Poem for May
“The May Queen Is Waiting”
By Ruth Barren
The new earth quickens as you rise.
The May Queen is waiting.
Feel the pulsing ground call you to journey,
To know the depths of your desire.
The May Queen is waiting.
Moving through the night, the bright moon’s flight.
In green and silver on the plain.
She waits for you to return again.
Do not keep Her waiting.
Her temper stings if you refuse to taste Her honey.
Surrender as enchantment brings
The first light of dawning.
Move with Her in sacred dance, through fear to feeling.
Bringing ecstasy to those who dare.
Living earth is breathing.
Loving through the night in the bright moonlight,
As seedlings open with the rain.
She’ll long for you to return again.
Do not keep Her waiting.”
Below – Lada, the Slavic May Queen
Art For May – Henri Matisse: “ Pastoral”
Musings in May: Edwin Way Teale
“The world’s favorite season is the spring.
All things seem possible in May.”
Art For May – John William Waterhouse: “Wind Flowers”