“There are so many stories more beautiful than answers.”

For those of us who run in Earth-based spiritual circles, today is Beltane. (At least in the northern hemisphere. I’d like to wish a very blessed Samhain to our friends on the other side of the Equator.) For those of us who have been aching for spring, this is a holiday that marks the time of year where new life is bursting forth all over. Even the late April snowstorm we had here in Chicago last weekend could only last a day in the face of the growing warmth and the Earth’s desperate longing for green. Flowering trees are in full force in my neighborhood, and I know I am not alone when I say I am ready to move into the light half of the year. This is a season of warmth, energy, and lifeforce in all its permutations.

I stumbled across a couple of favorite poems that speak to me of this time of year, and I thought I would share them with you in honor of the season. Whether you celebrate Beltane, honor workers on May Day, or just appreciate flowering trees and warmer weather … or all of the above … I wish you love, beauty, and wonder at this turning of the wheel of the year.

Mary Oliver

And here is the serpent again,
dragging himself out from his nest of darkness,
his cave under the black rocks,
his winter-death.

He slides over the pine needles.
He loops around the bunches of rising grass,
looking for the sun.
Well, who doesn’t want the sun after the long winter?

I step aside,he feels the air with his soft tongue,
around the bones of his body he moves like oil,
downhill he goes
toward the black mirrors of the pond.

Last night it was still so cold
I woke and went out to stand in the yard,
and there was no moon.
So I just stood there, inside the jaw of nothing.

An owl cried in the distance,
I thought of Jesus, how he
crouched in the dark for two nights,
then floated back above the horizon.

There are so many stories,
more beautiful than answers.
I follow the snake down to the pond,

thick and musky he is
as circular as hope.

Every Day You Play
Pablo Neruda

Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.
You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.
Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.
Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.
The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.
Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.
The rain takes off her clothes.
The birds go by, fleeing.
The wind. The wind.
I can contend only against the power of men.
The storm whirls dark leaves
and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.
You are here. Oh, you do not run away.
You will answer me to the last cry.
Cling to me as though you were frightened.
Even so, at one time a strange shadow ran through your eyes.
Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,
and even your breasts smell of it.
While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies
I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.
How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.
So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes,
and over our heads the gray light unwind in turning fans.
My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
I want
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

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