The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.
Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.
Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.
- Philip Larkin, The Trees
Maypole dance, Central Park, New York 1905 Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
As we enter the month of May, it's well to heed the advice of the poet and like the new spring-green tree canopy: "Begin afresh!"
Jennifer Cutting from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress is "Bringing in the May." She shares the origins of the maypole and Morris dance along with other old world customs to celebrate this merry month. Hear her relate the folklore that surrounds May Day and narrate video clips of these customs being performed.
Engage your students in a close reading of Nathaniel Hawthorne's,“The May-pole of Merry Mount.” This short story illustrates the difficulty old world customs had finding a place in early American society. The Puritans authorities first frowned upon, then banned outright, these frivolous seasonal activities. EDSITEment Launchpad: "The May-pole of Merry Mount," by Nathaniel Hawthorne adapted from the What's so Proudly We Hail Curriculum provides a discussion guide with questions aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Framing the discussion around themes of Freedom and Religion | What So Proudly We Hail enhances students comprehension of the story. After thinking about and discussing the questions, click on the videos to hear editors Amy A. Kass and Leon R. Kass converse with guest host Yuval Levin (National Affairs). These videos are meant to raise additional questions and augment discussion, not replace it.
EDSITEment resources related to the Knights and Legends of King Arthur’s Court:
Exploring Arthurian Legend | EDSITEment This lesson surveys the stories surrounding Arthur from their beginnings in the oral tradition in Medieval Europe, through the Renaissance and Victorian England, and concludes with T. H. White's modern retelling The Once and Future King, which was the basis of the Lerner and Lowe musical. The story of Camelot is perhaps the most beguiling romantic dream of them all, persisting from the 5th century, when the historical Arthur may have lived, to present day stories, films, and even presidential administrations.
John Collier. Queen Guinevre's Maying 1900 Current location Cartwright Hall Art Gallery , Bradford, England. A scene from Malory, is recast by Tennyson in his 'Idylls of the King' (1859) poem 'Guinevere.'
Le Morte Darthur: Sir Thomas Malory's Book of King Arthur and of his Noble Knights of the Round Table, Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
Launchpad: Exploring Arthurian Legend Students resource to independently work through sources of myth and history in the world of the Round Table.
Tales of King Arthur - EDSITEment Lesson with activities related to the stories of King Arthur and his Court that have entertained young and old alike for over a thousand years.
The Autumn of the Middle Ages: Chaucer and Dante newly refreshed feature. The opening lines of the Canterbury Tales are essentially a "reverdi," a medieval lyric that heralds the coming of spring after the long severe winter. Songs like this go back to earliest antiquity - providing assurance in the annual return of vegetation and fertility, and of the sun!
When April with his showers sweet with fruit
The drought of March has pierced unto the root
And bathed each vein with liquor that has power
To generate therein and sire the flower...