From early dawn the thirtieth of April
Is given up to children of the town,
And caught in trying on the festive necklace,
By dusk it only just is settling down.
Like heaps of squashy berries under muslin
The town emerges out of crimson gauze.
Along the streets the boulevards are dragging
Their twilight with them, like a rank of dwarves.
The evening world is always eve and blossom,
But this one with a sprouting of its own
From May-day anniversaries will flower
One day into a commune fully blown.
For long it will remain a day of shifting,
Pre-festive cleaning, fanciful decor,
As once it used to be with Whitsun birches
Or pan-Athenian fires long before.
Just so they will go on, conveying actors
To their assembly points; beat sand; just so
Pull up towards illuminated ledges
The plywood boards, the crimson calico.
Just so in threes the sailors briskly walking
Will skirt the grass in gardens and in parks,
The moon at nightfall sink into the pavements
Like a dead city or a burnt-out hearth.
But with each year more splendid and more spreading
The taut beginning of the rose will bloom,
More clearly grow in health and sense of honour,
Sincerity more visibly will loom.
The living folksongs, customs and traditions
Will ever spreading, many-petalled lay
Their scent on fields and industries and meadows
From early buddings on the first of May,
Until the full fermented risen spirit
Of ripened years will shoot up, like the smell
Of humid centifolia. It will have to
Reveal itself, it cannot help but tell.