This poem was written when COVID-19 was barely a whisper through these isles, so whilst it doesn’t reference it directly, I hope within the words you might find some relevance for our time.
I know it might sound quite flippant and to say ‘have hope’ when uncertainty has ravaged the lives of many in our community. We are made up locally and globally largely of people working in community education/events, have zero hours contracts or are self-employed artists, healers, performers and creators, or are working in services or healthcare risking their lives daily to keep our world rotating.
But I hope these words go deeper than flippancy. I believe we are being called to collectively cultivate an unshakable sense of hope, an unwavering resilience that will guide us through the shadows of what’s to come – beyond this year. I’ve been uplifted to see so many self-organised networks of support springing up all over the world; community care has never been so vital.
There’s fire through our ancient forests and there’s fever inside our bodies. Nature is not in balance. But we have been given an opportunity to change the myth we live in. We must act, together, now.
Beltane will still happen. The wheel will still turn, the bluebells will still peel open and the swifts will still return to sing their song of Summer. Our community will still gather remotely to celebrate a ritual that connects us beyond the moment, with our ancestors, our heritage, ourselves, our earth, our community and our living myth.
Katie embodies our May Queen for the third and final time this year. Listen to her poem, or read the transcription, below.
Who is she, the May Queen?
We see her in the flowers, her joy unfolds the buds
From the tips of the trees to the roots and the leaves
And under the moss in the mud
Her breath is light her spirit is bright
Dancing along the lough
But her wrath is real, and from her do not steal, or on your door her storm doth knock
She created the land; renews and protects it see
Ignite her flame, but know it won’t tame
When it spreads, it’s wild and free
She’s the earth we belong to
The triple Goddess in mother form within you
She’s the one we honour, she’s the one we know
She’s the heart that beats within
She’s the heart that beats below
And what’s her message this year?
After denial comes anger, after anger, sorrow. And we all know why.
200 species are dying a day and if we don’t change they’ll all be away.
Our earth is burnt out, our pollutants high, there’s plastic choking birds no longer in the sky.
I could continue with many a fact but I find when I dwell at my feelings I simply can’t act.
After denial comes anger, after anger, sorrow, after sorrow, acceptance.
Once we’ve felt the full force of our fragility and faced the unfaceable it can no longer harm up.
For in the depths of our sorrow kindness ignites, when we transform rage and grief and don’t give up the fight.
Whilst taking accountability for our complicit part in this tragedy we can choose to change the story in its totality.
This is not a floppy hippy sentiment, it’s taking power back to the people to be our own president because we can choose to write the story of what’s to come, we who create magic and myth by beating a drum.
Choosing a new narrative that’s what we need to do, but true wisdom comes through love and action – so let’s make this vision come true
Remythologise and reorganise, we still have time
Revision and revillage, listen again to that line
And I ask you one last time, to dream with me.
Without Bypassing the reality of this tragedy, what if everything turned out okay?
What if water flowed toxin free every day, what if we breathed in clear air, what is fire gave fertility and not despair, what if the earth vitality was not depleted, and the food we ate went untreated
What if we wanted to protect the preciousness of life on earth for her intrinsic beauty not for her monetary worth
What if we supported and honoured all mothers, what if we listened to our elders, what if there were no borders, what if there was equity in our society independent of gender, nationality and class, what if the capitalistic patriarchal system fell down on… the grass
What if for every problem there were three solutions and we find one that would nourish all. Connected by mycelium mushrooms rise, we remember why we’re here when we look into each other’s eyes.
Fear travels fast yes but hope is tougher to remove,
When we shine our souls and gather, we simply improve.
We are facing a collective rite of passage and we need to remember that our gift is in the challenge When we feel our pain our gifts are freed, when we see a child plant a wildflower seed, hope is in the small things
And that’s her message this year, she who moves within us as we redefine our place here, where together we can alter the course of the river, allowing diversity to thrive
diversity brings chaos yes but the resilience that we need to keep us alive.
There’re forces acting in this world darker than we have ever known
but a darker night frees brighter light,
may our collective flame be shown.
Featured image by Ken Dunton for Beltane Fire Society. All rights reserved.