May Day – a poem by Dayna Patterson

May Day

In a western town in the foothills of the Wasatch,
folk still gather on the green adjacent the church
to flower-wreath crown their festival queen.

They come in overalls and scraped-clean boots,
straw hats and hard vowels. They come in cotton
dresses and petal-plaited hair, scrubbed faces

and gleaming hope. They come to watch the young
circle the May pole. Ribbons in primaveral colors
weave, unweave. And county kin surround them

clapping hands, stomping feet, keeping rhythm, this
ancient beat of bloom, harvest, snow, and bloom again,
all hunger and hard times like heavy winter quilts

stowed away in cedar chests, all the cold, for a time,
forgotten in their queen’s hummingbird smiles,
in the deep dimples of the dairy farmer’s son.


Dayna Patterson is the author of Titania in Yellow (Porkbelly Press, 2019) and If Mother Braids a Waterfall (Signature Books, 2020). Her creative work has appeared recently in POETRY, Crab Orchard Review, and Passages North. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Psaltery & Lyre and a co-editor of Dove Song: Heavenly Mother in Mormon

1 Comment

  1. Thankyou for the beautiful poem and caring so much


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