Tanka: May processions

For Frank Tassone’s May challenge—another aspect of the month.

 

white dresses

veils flutter in spring breeze

white shoes pinch

the memory of cold streets rings

hollow childhood gone

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

29 thoughts on “Tanka: May processions”

  1. I remember the May possession at school, all of us carrying rose petals to scatter. Out of the infant’s entrance around the streets to the the senior school entrance… All the way singing AVE Maria. 😁💜

    1. You too? I hated it! We walked from the school to the church. The route went through a housing estate and the Protestants would line the route and give us filthy looks. It was always freezing cold too. Did you sing
      ‘I’ll sing a hymn to Mary,
      Oh mystic rose what tree
      no flower in its finest
      is half so fine as thee
      so let me de de lowly
      a de de de de de de
      when wicked men blaspheme thee
      I’ll love and bless thy name.”
      I still remember bits of it.

      1. Yes we did we Catholics we were all the same.
        Bring Flowers of the Fairest

         

        A shortened version:

        Bring flowers of the rarest,
        Bring blossoms the fairest,
        From garden and woodland and hillside and dale;
        Our full hearts are swelling,
        Our glad voices telling
        The praise of the loveliest flower of the vale.

        O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
        Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,
        O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
        Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,

        Their lady they name thee,
        Their mistress proclaim thee,
        Oh, grant that thy children on earth be as true
        As long as the bowers
        Are radiant with flowers
        As long as the azure shall keep its bright hue.

        O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
        Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,
        O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
        Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,

        Sing gaily in chorus,
        The bright angels o’er us
        Re-echo the strains we begin upon earth;
        Their harps are repeating
        The notes of our greeting,
        For Mary herself is the cause of our mirth.

         

        Another version:

        Bring flowers of the fairest,
        Bring flowers of the rarest,
        From garden and woodland
        And hillside and dale;
        Our full hearts are swelling,
        Our Glad voices telling
        The praise of the loveliest flower of the vale.

        O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
        Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,
        O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
        Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,

        Our voices ascending,
        In harmony blending,
        Oh, thus may our hearts turn
        Dear Mother, to thee;
        Oh, thus shall we prove thee
        How truly we love thee,
        How dark without Mary
        Life’s journey would be.

        O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
        Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,
        O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
        Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,

        O Virgin most tender,
        Our homage we render,
        Thy love and protection,
        Sweet Mother, to win.
        In danger defend us,
        In sorrow befriend us,
        And shield our hearts
        From contagion and sin.

        O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
        Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,
        O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
        Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,

        Of Mothers the dearest,
        Oh, wilt thou be nearest,
        When life with temptation
        Is darkly replete?
        Forsake us, O never!
        Our hearts be they ever
        As Pure as the lilies
        We lay at thy feet.

        O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
        Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,
        O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
        Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,

         

      2. Blimey! I only remember the first bit of that one and the chorus where you had to draw out
        that final
        Queen ooooooooof the May.

        The repertoire wasn’t very varied,was it? I remember all the words to Faith of Our Fathers though and Hail Glorious Saint Patrick. Those were the days 🙂

      3. Oh! Yes they were, the most miserable days of my life. The Nuns disliked me because I was not clever like my eldest sisters… I was a tubby child until I was thirteen then I was too thin… I was picked on and bullied by the other girls! I had one great friend but we could really only be friends out of school because she was a year above me and the Nuns disapproved of us..we were friends! I loved English Literature, I loved words and I loved singing though I have not much of a voice😱 so bad memories but words lyrics they stick… Oh! Gosh where did that rant come from. 💜💜

      4. Where did you live? I have wonderful memories of school. The head (a nun) had very progressive ideas, lots of art, singing, orchestra, trips out, science, nature study, poetry and creative stuff. She left the school when it began to get popular because of its good results and posh people were claiming to be Catholics to get their kids accepted. It used to be the pits, poverty-stricken families, Tinkers and refugees from the Troubles in the North. Fashion and Tony Blair changed all that. My old head went to run an orphanage in Serbia after the war. As far as I know, she’s still there.

    1. It meant one thing in Catholic countries where the whole population was carrying statues around the streets. It meant something completely different when a bunch of immigrants paraded through hostile territory. They don’t do it now because there’s no hostility anymore;

    1. May processions for us though weren’t weddings they were carrying statues of the Virgin and Saint Patrick through a hostile town, all the kids following dressed in white and singing hymns. Completely traumatising.

      1. What is really weird is that when I was a child in the 60s and 70s only the Irish living in England were Catholics and the English didn’t like us. The May Procession that the priest insisted was a ‘declaration of faith’ was seen by the Protestants as a declaration of war and they made it quite clear they didn’t like us parading through their streets with satanic effigies. Now being a Catholic in England is cool and they all want to be Catholics, so the May Processions are starting up again.

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