Ag Ceiliúradh Bealtaine. A poem by Monica Keane

The hawthorn bush is still Queen of the May
But Bealtaine will be different today
No bonfires with their magical powers
No windows and doors decorated with flowers.

No cattle being driven to pastures new
By the farmer and his motley crew
No people walking through the fires
Leaping the flames that rise from the pyres.

No bonfires lit for the cows in the field
To protect from disease and increase their yield
No blaze in the hearth or candle extinguished
No bonfire embers for them to rekindle.

No May branch made of ribbons and shells
Followed by visits to the holy wells
Or beauty restored by Bealtaine dew
Traditions celebrated by just a few.

It’s all different now, as we stay indoors
We clean our windows and wash our floors
We’ve forgotten the past, the olden ways
How our ancestors celebrated in bygone days.

They danced round the Maypole for hours and hours
Lit fires and gave neighbours bouquets of flowers
They shared from their cupboards all that they had
No one was left hungry, or alone feeling sad.

But in 2020 as Bealtaine dawns
We’ll stay indoors, we have been warned
But we’ll celebrate our Celtic way
And with flowers and singing we’ll welcome May.


Published twice already: My Hero (A Mother’s Message to her Daughter) and For My Girls. Monica lives in Sandyford in Dublin. She has always dabbled a bit with light-hearted verse for almost every occasion. Since retiring from full-time work in recent years she is now enjoying taking her writing a little more seriously.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *