The World Turns To Ice

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

A Blackthorn Winter

I saw today my first flurry of snow. It was preceded by hail, then the sky darkened and the wind whipped the fragile blossom on the plum trees and down the soft flakes flew. A brief vision of Winter appearing in Spring, a Blackthorn Winter, arriving with the bluebells which are just beginning to lift their dusty heads on the forest floor. I have missed the snow, even this brief small glimpse made my heart quicken with the enchantment of it.

Blackthorn Winter

Scraps of blackthorn blossom fleck my coat,
Another gust of hail, and down they float;
A fine spring this— the earth as cold as stone,
North-easterlies that cut you to the bone.

The primroses have withered, one by one,
The bluebells cower, praying for the sun,
Rumbling thunder stalks the streaming hills,
Sneaking frost has slain the daffodils.

My boots are caked in mud; the dog is, too.
Above a clump of ash, the sun breaks through,
A sudden glance of light on bud and bark,
My heart leaps up— the soul song of a lark!
Felix Dennis 

Monday, 25 April 2016

Mondard Procession

A straw man called 'The Great Mondard' is carried in or near the village of Orleans in solemn procession up and down the village on the 24th to 25th of April. It is, at last, placed upon the oldest apple tree.  There he remains until the apples are gathered. He is then taken down and thrown into water or burned, his ashes being scattered over the orchard.  He represents the tree spirit dying and reviving in Spring.

From Eleanor Hull's 'Folklore of The British Isles', 1928