I dreamt I was in Padstow for night-song in the square
When suddenly I saw folk I knew could not be there
I heard them too, their voices filling out the midnight crowd
Accordions and drums playing; ghostly, clear and loud.
Seeing strange, familiar faces sent shivers down my spine
Somehow I’d passed the fey veil, dividing life and time
These all had glasses raised to them; “- to those now gone away”
Yet there they stood, singing, at the dawning of the May.
In Padstow I heard voices ring that were centuries old
The pulse of passion pounded life’s heat in men long cold
The Old ‘Oss band left the ‘Lion with its numbers greatly swelled
The tune beating in their hearts, where it had always dwelled.
They were called from their rest by fellow players striking sound
By flowers worn, wild seeds sown and green about the town
Some would thrill, others fear; to walk amongst, or laughing, greet
The lively souls of MayDays’ past; filling Padstow’s streets.
There stood Glanville, Charlie, Mervyn, and Nigel leading play
Rev’ling in the sound under the Metropole archway
Paused, drinking in a coupl’a pints, and the belovèd sight
Of the estuary lit gold, in the long evening light.
Dumitz, and the Camel’s breeze moved my memories and tears
They weren’t lost, nor gone from sight, those friends from bygone years
Through Social Club and Harbour Inn, as late stars lit the sky
The joyful ghost band progressed, as Time ticked surely by.
Farewell’s sounds faded from the town; the Old ‘Oss once more slept
The band dispersed; drums stilled, bellows wheezed, then silence kept
Whispering tired good-byes; they smiling disappeared from sight
As the church clock’s hands met again on May’s first mid-night.
Sash and kerchief-clad in red or blue, they leave their last rest
Sap and spirits rise, on the day Padstow folk love best
Stirred by the call of flower and song, a single day’s release
To heed ancient customs, while the Lord grants them true peace.
Still, the Old ‘Oss band plays longer
Still the May Song beats out stronger
Still the spell of MayDay snares my very soul…
Copyright © Sheona McCutcheon / Celtic Nomad 2006