Monday, 18 May 2009

Call me early, mother dear..........


........,for I'm to be Queen of the May. "The May Queen" is one of Tennyson's poems which is really dated when you read it. If you don't know it then I urge you to read it because it does have echoes of earlier times - an age that has almost disappeared in this "modern" twenty-first century. It falls into the same category as Flora Thompson 's "Lark Rise to Candleford." And how we loved that series on our televisions recently - nostalgia, nostalgia.Also, if you have never looked closely at hawthorn blossom I urge you to do that too - close up it is exquisite, although why it is called May blossom in North yorkshire I don't know - it should be June blossom.David, the farmer, can remember when they celebrated May Day up here - when he was a child.They would select a May Queen, dress her in white and parade round the village, ending up with the rest of the children dancing round the maypole. The custom dates back to pagan times and is one of many to celebrate Spring's coming (before the days of electricity and central heating I would guess that Spring would be very welcome indeed.)The word May is always a bit confusing - May blossom flowering in June and the old saying "Ne'er cast a clout till May be out!" - people up here still argue about whether that means the May blossom or the month of May. Judging by today' s weather, anyone who has cast a clout already will be hastily putting it back on.The whole thing is surrounded in folk lore and superstition. Some believe that in pagan times the May Queen was sacrificed after the parade. Well, we shall never know, shall we. But Ido know that in Britten's "Albert Herring", being unable to source a May Queen they settle for a May King instead! Can't see them sacrificing a King in pagan times - it always seemed to be young virginal girls, didn't it?One day soon May blossom will burgeon here and the air will be filled with that heady, slmondy scent. But it is a long time coming, so meanwhile I shall enjoy the tiny bit out on the hedge, which I have photographed above.

26 comments:

Woman in a Window said...

Eek, the sacrifice of the May Queen, now there's a somber thought. You've got me thinking now. Time to investigate, I do believe. Perhaps it'll turn into a poem...later, as I have to work.

Heather said...

May blossom is a welcome sight and so very pretty. My father used to quote that first line of poetry almost every 30th April!! I am not casting any clouts and am grateful that I live in the 'balmy' south west.

Arija said...

Your writing has a tinge of spring fever about it..is there a warm wind coming from the moors?

Coastcard said...

Do take a look at my posting on Matt Merritt's book, Troy Town, with its May epigraph...

You might also like to see my (Seth's Bundle) post for May Day.

And yes, Tennyson is one of my all time favourites. It was good to see his Isle of Wight home, Farringford, on the television this w/e.

Coastcard said...

Sorry, Weaver, take 2 for the Seth link!

Professor Yaffle said...

Whether the blossom is out in May or June, it is well worth the wait. This year locally the blossom has excelled itself.
Thank you for such a lovely post

Reader Wil said...

Did you read The Mists of Avalon? It's about the May Queen that has to mate with an unknown man. It's a beautiful book. Your post is very nice and I love the photo of the white flower and the pink petals!
Weaver, would you like to join me in a game, for which I had been tagged? The rules are to be found on my blog!

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a gorgeous photo, I'm quite envious, my attempted photos of hawthron today were terrible, the light was all wrong i think. It's a lovely flower as you say.

EB said...

My grandmother used to tell me about dancing round a maypole, and that was on the outskirts of Wolverhampton!

Our may blossom is over now, indeed so is most of the cow parsley too, and the early and "2nd early" roses are out. It moved very quickly this year for us.

Derrick said...

I can just see you, Weaver, in your May Queen gown! The blossoms have been beautiful this year and apparently better than ever. Your phot is lovely.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Ah, May. Poetry and Hawthorne. We have a tradition here, though not kept by many alas, of quietly handing a basket of flowers on someone's door on the first of May. Do you do that?

Also, I loved your comment on my British food post! You are sooooo correct about tea in the states!! We just cannot do it properly, certainly not in restaurants! It's a shame, because tea in Britain is one of life's true pleasures.

As for desserts, come to my house! I love to bake and will make certain you and the Farmer are pleased!!

Mad Bush Farm said...

Oh dear sacrificing the May Queen would spoil the celebrations.I'll look up that poem and have a read. Also thank you for your comment on my Land of Gonzo post it meant a lot and was very very appreciated.

Hugs to you and thanks again
Liz

PS I LOVE the photos!

Cloudia said...

How can the flowers on my blog sing "Hawaii"
yet yours are redolent of England and pagan times? Mysterious little sprites, eh?

BTW: I'd be very interested in your response to my post tomorrow if you find the time. you are invited! Aloha, Dear

The Weaver of Grass said...

Shall be interested to hear if you find out any information about the May Queen, woman in a window. Does all sound a bit gruesome in earlier times, doesn't it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

My father too Heather - how these things pass down through the ages.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Arija - a warm wind would be very welcome. Since we returned from the States it has been very cold, wet and windy.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Caroline - as I come from very close to Somersby in Lincolnshire the Tennyson has always been part of my life.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for visiting again Professor Yaffle - I shall try again to leave a comment on your blog. Hope i have better luck this time.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Reader wil - I shall pop over and see you later on today.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Juliet - are you digital? It was a miserable day when I took the photo of the may blossom, but my camera seems to make allowances. I never cease to rejoice in the day I went digital. I have a canon Ixus and it works whatever the weather.

The Weaver of Grass said...

EB Where on the outskirts of Wolverhampton - I lived there for almost twenty years and taught in an inner city school.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks a bundle Derrick - I am afraid my May Queen days are long over - if they ever were!

The Weaver of Grass said...

I love the sound of that tradition Pamela.
Re desserts - I am sure you have hit the nail on the head - there are so many good home made ones that no one bothers in restaurants.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for the return visit Liz.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Shall visit later today Cloudia.

Janice Thomson said...

A beautiful flower Weaver - one I had not seen before. I always wondered what a mayflower looked like.