A-Maying

May Day and the maypole is erected on the green
And all the local school kids will dance and eat ice-cream
They wind the ribbons clockwise, then dance them widdershins
Plaiting and unplaiting as the dancers skip and spin

The grownups take their pictures or maybe video
And drink warm ale outside the pub until its time to go
And maybe there’s an ‘obby ‘oss or maybe a green man
Or maybe morris dancers shake for pennies in their can

But no one goes a-Maying in the wild woods anymore
And no one brings home white-thorn to hang above the door
And girls no longer go by night yearning to be misled
To find a man to marry them, to try before they wed

“Here we come gathering nuts in May,
Nuts in May, nuts in May.
Here we come gathering nuts in May,
On a cold and frosty morning…”

E.M. Swift-Hook

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