Immortal Memories, Remembered

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I thought I’d have a go

A resumé of Rabbie bhoy, showing aff whit I don’t know

I know his birth month, January, a bear fortnight after mine

I know he died at thirty seven, the age of summer time


I know he liked the lassies too, his inky nib aye wet

Penned his love to mair than wan, maybe every lass he met

I know he sconced the privileged rich, the union of the crowns

I know he ridiculed the proud and pegged their worth way down


I know he loved to read and write, worked magic with his words

A story-teller, born and bred, the Tam O’shanter bard

I know he liked a drink or two, I know he worked the land

Little more I do not know, but more I understand


I understand his great appeal, the fact he’s still the toast

Of poetry and Scots worldwide, the one we honour most

I understand why lassies liked his houghmagandy ways

His tributes must have turned their heads, their celibacy swayed


My love is like a red, red rose

That’s newly sprung in June:

My love is like the melody

That’s sweetly played in tune.

How fair thou art, my bonnie lass,

So deep in love am I;

And I will love thee still, my dear,

Till all the seas gang dry.


Who among us lassies here could such a lad resist

A bugger, yes, in many ways but a bugger with a twist

He understood his frailties, his penchant for the dames

He even wrote, confessed herein, his womanising name


Ye jovial boys who love the joys

The blissful joy of lovers;

Yet dare avow with dauntless brow

When th’ bonny lass discovers

Pray draw near and lend an ear

And welcome in a Prater

For I’ve lately been on quarantine

A proven fornicator


Now, for those words, we’d have to say, he must have been a cad

Until we read of other deeds and learn he wasn’t bad

Weak, oh yes, in many ways and that’s part of his charm

Our heroes loved because of faults and desire to do no harm


He unifies the common man, the common woman too

For who among us can lay claim to perfection? Me? Or you?

Rabbie owned his faults, and more, he gave us all permission

To be the weak but still aspire to fulfil our lifetime’s mission


I winna blaw about mysel
As ill I like my fauts to tell;
But friends, an folk that wish me well,
They sometimes roose me;
Tho I maun own, as monie still
As far abuse me.

There’s ae wee faut they whyles lay to me,
I like the lasses – Gude forgie me!
For monies a plack they wheedle frae me
At dance or fair;
Maybe some ither things they gie me,
They weel can spare.


I’ll move on now from faults he owned

At least he owned them well

He didn’t brag about pussy …..cats

On gold and wealth, he did not dwell


In fact, when young and bachelor

He formed a club of brothers

Diversion, relief for weary men

Worn down by life of labour


The rules were few, admittance clear

Young men of honest hearts

No dirty, mean or self-conceited

Welcome in these parts

A lover too of fairer sex

Of one or more professed

No miserly, mean-spirited

Good men and nothing less


Such aspirations filled his work

His ode unto a mouse

Reveals compassion at his heart

And even to that louse

That crawled on haughty head of one

She who sat with airs and graces

While beastie ventured where it ought not

On ladylike at praises


And as for Rabbie, spying this

This heresy, ye gods!

An infestation out of place

He was not lost for words

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion:
What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,                                   An’ ev’n devotion!

How many here can honestly say

Hand on heart from all

There’s not a certain satisfaction

When the mighty, pride-filled fall


In demographics of this land

Oor Rab would be at base

And a huge percentage round the globe

Are also in that place


Could it be that Rabbie Burns

Is seen as common link

A working man, salt of the earth

But a man of words who thinks


And knows that women, mice and men

And even worst of louse

Deserve some recognition

A job, a meal, a house


If he were here this day, today

He’d even take his words to Twitter

He’d fire off some grand one-liners

Sad! But not orange, weird and bitter


He’d fight the fight, he’d walk the talk

That’s recognised worldwide

And side by side, he’d stand by men

And women with gay pride


He’d fight for justice, liberty

He’d watch the bastions fall

I know this, perhaps you do

Oor Rabbie got it all


Then let us pray that come it may
As come it will for a’ that
That sense and worth o’er a’the earth
Shall bear the gree for a’ that
For a’ that and a’ that
It’s comin’ yet for a’ that
That man to man the world o’er
shall brithers be for a’ that.


That’s fighting talk with full intent

That’s action writ right there

A man, okay, who liked some skirt

But a man who, first, was fair


He felt the hunger, saw the need

Espied the traitors, knew their greed

Condemned the lorded fealty to power o’er us

He knew! And wrote this chorus


What force or guile could not subdue,
Thro’ many warlike ages,
Is wrought now by a coward few
For hireling traitor wages.
The English steel we could disdain,
Secure in valour’s station.
But English gold has been our bane,
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation.
“oh would that I had seen the day
when treason thus could sell us
my ain grey head had laid in clay
with Bruce and noble Wallace
But pith and pow’r to my last hour
I’ll make this declaration
we are bought and sold for English gold
such a parcel of rogues in the nation


And put to verse some words for Bruce

To rouse a nation’s spirit

Self-governance and self-determined

Oh rousing’s written in it!


Wha will be a traitor knave
wha can fill a coward’s grave
wha sae base as be a slave
let him turn and flee

Wha for Scotland’s king and law
Freedom’s sword will strongly draw.
Freeman stand, or freeman fa’
let him follow me.


Rabbie knew what we all know

That common man is screwed

He penned it then, long years ago

And still, by fuck, it’s true


A working man, a man of hope

Of weakness, born to land

In nature and experience

A man who took a stand


To die upon a bed so young

Not a fiver to his name

But to live forever in hearts and minds

That shall be his claim to fame


A man of words, a man of soul

Knew education’s worth

And elevated Scots worldwide

By virtue of his birth


So to this day, in January

In the year of 2017

The wisdom of that poet then

Holds good, for truth is seen


I understand though never knew

The man behind the words

So here’s tae Rabbie, tae Scotland’s bard

May our souls, he always stir


Ladies and gentlemen, lads and lassies,

Charge your glasses please

To the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns!

Who got up aff his knees!

Is that a gauntlet I see before me? The gloves are aff.