The Promise of the Year
Poem below by David Betteridge, poster above by Walter Crane
May Day: the day when the promise of the year
reproaches the waste inseparable from the society of inequality...
- WILLIAM MORRIS
Come greet the dawn and stand beside us.
We'll live together or we'll die alone…
- THE INTERNATIONALE
The sun also rises.
Smoother than clockwork,
round the cycle of the seasons,
infallibly and quietly,
it lights our lives and labour,
showing us our way to go.
our forebears welcomed winter’s solstice
more joyously than even summer’s longest day.
Its kick-starting of New Year each year
seemed instance, proof and promise
of life’s momentous beating-back of dark
and death, hope driving out
and cleansing all decay.
Now, in our present age,
in our calendar of significance,
better than either solstice, first
and most dear stands Labour’s borrowing
of Beltane: May Day,
no longer singing only Nature’s growth
and green, but Labour’s, too:
a chance to celebrate our entry into history,
our starting-off on a brave new track,
our beating-back of centuries
of night-times of confusion,
that beset us yet, our driving-out
of every kind of dungeons’ dark
and spirits’ death:
Our sun also rises.
David Betteridge is the author of a collection of poems celebrating Glasgow and its radical traditions, 'Granny Albyn's Complaint', published by Smokestack Books in 2008. He is also the editor of a compilation of poems, songs, prose memoirs, photographs and cartoons celebrating the 1971-2 UCS work-in on Clydeside. This book, called 'A Rose Loupt Oot', was published by Smokestack Books in 2011.