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  • Christine Delea

May Day: Poetry Prompt

Today is May Day, and there is a lot to unpack with this holiday.


First, it is often celebrated as the unofficial start of spring. Festivities can include making garlands, wreaths, and crowns from vines, branches, and flowers; dancing around a May Pole while wrapping it in ribbon; and making and giving flower bouquets.


May Day is also the International Workers' Day. This celebration honors workers (especially blue and pink collar), their contributions to societies worldwide, and the Labor Movement and its victories. What has the Labor Movement done? The list is long, but a few notable accomplishments include the end to child labor in many parts of the world; shorter workdays and weeks; safety regulations, particularly in factories and other dangerous workplaces; and fair wages.


Although the Haymarket Square Affair happened on May 4, 1886, the peaceful protest began on May 1, as various groups that had been meeting and demonstrating since April 25 met in Haymarket Square in Chicago. Many labor activities on May 1 commemorate this event.


Due to Russia and other Communist countries celebrating May Day as a way to honor the working class, the Cold War, and the Red Scare, President Eisenhower declared May 1st as Loyalty Day. Americans show their loyalty to the United States with patriotic displays and in some (about 10) cities and towns, parades.


Mayday (one word) is also known throughout the world as a call for help. It is used mostly by pilots whose aircraft is in distress, but is also used by ships and others.


So, are you an 8-hour-workday person? A make-a-tulip-wreath person? A ship in distress? An American flag? Someone who will die on the hill that spring officially starts on March 19, 20, or 21, no matter what? Are you just content to sit inside and read poems about May (today's blog poem is a fine start)? Or maybe you are cursing the yard work that needs to be done, or anxiously wanting temperatures to soar and summer to start,

or dreading going outside due to worms (ugh) and slugs (ARGH).


Whichever you are, write a poem (or a story or an essay) about May Day means (or does not mean) to you.





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