Rainbow Seeds and The End of May

GDW Photo
GDW Photo

As we come to the end of May and the close of the fifth month of 2016, how are those New Year Resolutions holding up?  Is it tough going?

The end of May and the transition to June in the Northern Hemisphere bring the early stages of pre-Summer.  Summer!

GDW Photo

Pondering on how to end this month, I came across a poem entitled The End of May.  It was written by Katharine Lee Bates.

Katharine Lee Bates is a name with which most people may not be familiar.  Katharine was born August 12, 1859 in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

Her father, Pastor William Bates, died when she was very young.  Her mother, Cornelia Frances Lee Bates, a school teacher, wanted to make sure that her four children received the best life she could offer.

Being a single mother, Cornelia found life difficult after the death of her husband, but in the true sense of the American spirit she did what was needed to survive during the Civil War and the post-war years.  The whole family worked to make ends meet by doing whatever job there was to do.

Katharine would receive her education and would graduate from Wellesley College, a private women’s college founded in 1870 by Henry and Pauline Durant.  After teaching for a few years she returned to Wellesley, where she would spend the rest of her professional life.

Later she would become chair of the English Department at Wellesley.  Her forty or so books and hundreds of articles are her legacy.

Her most famous poem America The Beautiful was inspired by a summer visit to Colorado,  As she stood on Pike’s Peak and gazed across the beautiful landscape she was inspired to write the words to the poem which would become a national treasure loved by so many to this day.

Katharine was a remarkable woman.  Her place in America history is secured.

Here is her beautiful poem filled with vivid imagery, The End of May:

The fragrant air is full of down,
Of floating, fleecy things

From some forgotten fairy town
Where all the folk wear wings.

Or else the snowflakes, soft arrayed
In dainty suits of lace,

Have ventured back in masquerade,
Spring’s festival to grace.

Or these, perchance, are fleets of fluff,
Laden with rainbow seeds,

That count their cargo rich enough
Though all its wealth be weeds.

Or come they from the golden trees,
Where dancing blossoms were,

That now are drifting on the breeze,
Sweet ghosts of gossamer?

GDW Photo
GDW Photo

May your Summer be one of sprouting rainbow seeds and the sweet ghosts of gossamer…

GDW Photo
GDW Photo

G. D. Williams © 2016

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All photographs are from the GDW Collection and are copyrighted.






Katharine Lee Bates: Songwriter