I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

30 April 2016

This Feast and That

(Ghosts and Maypoles)

Up there in the top half of the world
soon it will be the merry month of May.
There are still folk who will dance
on May Day around a Maypole. Some
will still call it Beltane, and know
the pole as phallic.  Here, however –

this is the night of Samhain. I just
spoke to my brother, by text. He is
far away; but still, like me, Southern
Hemisphered. Today, separately,
we both remembered our parents.
They have been dead a long time.

But their ghosts visited. Only today,
I finally recalled some trifling ways
they helped me, looked after me.
I felt grateful after all. It could have
been worse. I guess I forgave at last.
My brother still can’t. This I understand.

And I’m sitting here counting the ways
it affected me too, for the rest of my life.
I didn’t set places for them, but I do
wish their souls peace, and wish
they return again behind that veil.
What’s done is done. It is over.

For me there came also, today,
the three dead husbands – all
welcome, even the first – and various
other friends and lovers. These
I celebrate, these I thank. With these
I’d happily dance round a Maypole.

Written simultaneously for Yesterday Never Dies at 'Dark Poetry for the Cruellest Month' and Poetizing the Maypole at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

Wiccan pentacle image freely available in public domain


  1. You gave yourself the gift of forgiveness, which is a hard thing to do. Thoughtful words!

  2. I love this. I love this so much. It is witchiness at its most enchanting. Not the obvious celebration of our dead, of our living, of our no longer living loves... but the way your poem embraces the bright and the dark, and brews it into one balanced poem.

    1. Yes. Magaly speaks my mind.

    2. Writing the poem became part of honouring the dead; and afterwards I lit a candle for them all and spoke some words of acknowledgment and blessing.

  3. Wow, visits from ghosts. I love where this prompt took you, and the understanding and compassion you have for those now gone.

  4. Bravely done--and I love those last two lines!

  5. I think we need to find a way to let the ghosts rest... and I think it's all about forgiveness ... a wonderful poem and how these days make us remember.

    1. The fascinating thing, to me, is that these memories arose before I consciously bethought me of the date ... and even more startling in the case of my brother, who had been having similar thoughts on his own, way over there in New Zealand – and he is the complete rationalist and unbeliever!

  6. I love that you can see yourself dancing round the Maypole with past loves and friends...a very balanced place to be. Blessed Samhain :D XXX

  7. This is so beautifully haunting :D love this!!

  8. This is such a moving poem, Rosemary. Thank you, for sharing the gift of relationship and deep connection with us.

  9. Those visits from ghosts can be enlightening, so glad that you have made peace with yours, an introspective write, I enjoyed it.

  10. Ha! A very sweet poem, I love what seemed to me to be a little joke at the end, and I love the moving and poignant acceptance and forgiveness throughout. Thanks for your support and inspiration this month. k.

  11. Like your brother, I find it very hard to sincerely forgive my mother, but I have tried. Like you, I try to find small positive moments. May 2 is my father's birthday - or would have been. That is a time I celebrate his memory. This poem is a lovely tribute to the shapers of life.

  12. Very nice! And I love what you say about how being in the Southern Hemisphere changes your view of this tradition.

    1. Well, they are seasonal celebrations, so they happen at opposite times of the year down here.

  13. The I Ching believed that the inner and out worlds are askew from each other, and so the outer truth is inwardly read upside down and backwards, or widdershins, or from the other hemisphere -- so your Samhain May Day meditation is spot on somehow. (You saw how I paired dead stones with the living maypole.) Yesterday my father and I listened to the funeral service for my brother 8 years ago, and somehow those weepy depths make Beltane truer somehow. Dancing with the dead around the maypole. Cheers.

    1. Thank you. Yes, I was struck by the fact that we had a similar approach, albeit different details. I'm mazed and a little embarrassed thta, in many years of studying the I Ching, I missed that particular understanding. I'm glad to be made aware of it now. It's a bit like my old shrink's observation that for every emotion we feel, we carry within us its equal and opposite.

  14. A very deep poem ... we have to accept the past, forgive and move on with it :-)

  15. I love how you wove both halves of the year into this piece.

  16. ah yes; forgiveness, a very difficult task for humans; yet, when we have overcome to the point of forgiveness, what a wonderful place we find ourselves in

    Happy May Day Rosemary

    much love...

  17. Forgiveness and compassion. Two very beautifuls gifs. I enjoyed this poem as it resonates somewhat within.

  18. Very deep Rosemary! Forgiveness and letting ghosts rest can be challenging at times. But I like this kind of closure, "What’s done is done. It is over."

  19. Hi Rosemary ~~ Some very deep and personal thoughts brought about from keeping the Maypole idea forefront. Combined with supernatural appearances and revelations, it was great.
    Forgive, "What’s done is done. It is over" is a fairly wholesome 65attitude. My thought is "Thank God it's over and I could leave." But I won't forgive, at least not yet. More years than you have lived have passed since it started. It's the first thing I remember about my dad (it wasn't sexual, but very abusive). In a grown up world he became a real dad, the kind a person would want. But not, never, in growing up.