Friday 1 May

May Day needs a really good bit of folk singing. For me Kate Rusby is one of the best folk singers we have. Not only writing her own songs but doing all she can to keep the English folk song tradition alive and well. In this song we are reminded that May is traditionally a key moment in the annual cycle of life.

The early Celts divided the year into two halves: the light and the dark, summer and winter, to mark the spiralling wheel of time. To celebrate these times of transition, the Celts established two great yearly festivals, each at the threshold of the new cycle: Samhain, (November 1st) opens the door into the dark half of the year, while Beltaine (May 1st) ushers in the cycle of summer.

Whether we are religious or not, we cannot be unaware that creation around us is experiencing its annual rebirth and renewal as it were. And this time of lockdown particularly has given the earth a brief respite from the onslaught of pollution and exploitation that more recent human activity has unleashed upon God’s good Earth.

When May comes in she brings the flowers,
We will sing, we will sing,
And winter by the door she cowers,
We will sing, we will sing.

With ribbons we will deck and trim,
To welcome May and summer in,
And we will sing and we will sing.

When blossom hangs on every tree,
We will sing, we will sing,
We’ll take a branch for you and me,
We will sing, we will sing.

The sun will warm now winter’s past,
We will sing, we will sing,
And those in love can breathe at last,
We will sing, we will sing.