the may pole| a poem|

The May Pole


Wavy white hair

Kind sparkling blue eyes

A contagious laugh

The best accent I’ve ever heard

Always a warm hug when she saw you


I’m not sure if I understood

Where they moved from in Europe

To Castro Valley

I’m not sure if anyone really knew

Those that would have known are no longer

Among the living

My parents barely could decipher their english


I only knew that Mr. & Mrs. Gunnderson

Were kind and happy

always smiling

and very generous

Always bringing us flowers and homemade cookies

Before you could buy plastic boxes of Safeway faux baked


They lived on our new street

Long before we moved in

Mrs. Gunnderson loved to knit

She spent much of her time in her kitchen

And in her garden

These were all things that would be later

Shared with us on May Day


I loved her so much

I secretly wished she was my grandma

I ran to her house after school every day

When we first moved in

She was my first friend on the steep hill

We moved to that summer

When I was only six

She helped me to forget

How different Castro Valley was

From my crowded neighborhood

I was so homesick for it all

Flat with no hills conducive for bike riding

Filled with friends I had left behind


I had my tonsils and adenoids out

Earlier that year

While I was in the hospital

My Mom brought me a Mary Poppins Doll

It was my prized possession

At a time when possessions could be prized for me

Long ago and a time so far removed

Long before I realized material stuff is immaterial

And doesn’t define us or matter at all for that matter


Mrs. Gunnderson made Mary Poppins a knitted

Beautiful blue dress and matching sweater

The doll was the size of a Barbie

It must have been difficult to knit

It was so small – flawlessly knit

I’m not sure who was happier

When she gave it to me

THEN I thought it was me

NOW I think it was probably Mrs. Gunnderson

Because I loved her so much

(Both Mrs. Gunnderson and Mary Poppins)

I took the original outfit off and later lost it

I didn’t really care

That’s how much I loved Mrs. Gunnderson


Every time around this year

I think of Mrs. Gunnderson

And her May Day celebrations

She brought to our very white bread


Mrs. Gunnderson would invite

All the neighborhood children

To her home

Feed us delicious huge homemade

Chocolate chip cookies

There were others too

Cookies from somewhere in Europe


Mrs. Gunnderson would lead us

Her friends the children in the neighborhood

That could understand her accent unlike their parents

Around the imaginary may pole Mrs. Gunnderson

Would create for us in her living room and

In our willing imaginations

Gathered in a circle

Holding hands while we laughed and danced

And Mrs. Gunnderson would sing to us

We were enticed with homemade cookies

We were adorned with flowers from her garden

To celebrate the rights of the labor force

The meaning of May Day


I’m not sure if we understood it then

But May Day was in part celebrating

The 8 hour work day and

Supposed safer working conditions

I did know that Mrs. Gunnderson

Was happy to celebrate

With us and raise awareness

In the stale white bread neighborhood

She and Mr. Gunnderson settled in


I danced around the imaginary may pole

In my own living room

With my children when they were small

I told them about Mrs. Gunnderson

And the importance of celebrating workers’ rights

I didn’t tell them the laws are always made for

Management and made to protect corporations

Labor really doesn’t have any rights

It wasn’t the time to tell them they would know soon enough


Each year on May Day

Think of Mrs. Gunnderson

Wearing a flowing yet belted dress

With pumps

And her living room full of beautiful flowers in vases

Children drinking punch and eating the best homemade

Cookies filled with love and tradition

Laughing and dancing around an imaginary may pole

Celebrating the rights of working men and women everywhere










tags: may pole| may day| best| poems| blog| poetry| cindi silva| cindy silva| poet| 


About mindfulnesswalks

Publicist| Citizen Journalist| Host| Mindfulness Walks| Virtual Cafe|Poet| Writer| Artist
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