Sunday, May 01, 2011

May in, coffin out.

May blossom sheds its off-white petals
casting down its smell of tombs.
Flowers the colour of a shroud
must not be brought indoors.
Mother fears its power
and forbids it in the house.
To bring it in invites Death.
Disease, decay, defeat.
Do not pick the blooms.
Their beauty is a trap
you can't escape.

My mother believed that bringing the flowers of hawthorn into the house would bring about a death in the family. I'm not sure I believe it - but I don't risk it.


Sandra Davies said...

Not sure this is a superstition I've heard, but I can understand your reluctance.
I'm never sure whether the 'may' in 'cast not a clout' is the blossom or the month ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Morning AJ .. there's something about not picking May before May .. and Sandra's note above is another lore .. again I can't remember exactly what.

Just looked in Brewers and found this: It's unlucky to wash blankets in May .. this superstition still survives in the South West .. the old rhyme says:

Wash a blanket in May
Wash a dear one away

This seems to endorse your thought ..

The May bushes red and white are magnificent at the moment .. full of flower ..

Cheers Hilary

snafu said...

I suppose damp blankets in medieval times could be fatal if the weather suddenly went cold again, as it does frequently in the UK.
I had not heard the one about the may blossoms, but 'nere cast a clout till May is out' refers to a layer of clothing and so in times when not many people had a calendar in the house, waiting for the blossom to appear or to finish would make sense because it would not happen until the weather was warmer.

Ellie said...

Lovely poem. I'm not into superstitions but I always heed the one about not doing washing on New Years Day. Apparently, you'll wash someone out of your family.

Ellie Garratt

anthonynorth said...

It's amazing what an effect superstitions can have on a person. A fascinating subject.

Akelamalu said...

I haven't heard of that superstition before. My mother wouldn't have any flowers in the house because she said the smell reminded her of funerals. :(