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.

 

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20 thoughts on “Immortal Memories, Remembered”

  1. You really should be on the stage with this, a Scottish monologue…in the alternative put it to echoing audio. Super stuff, I imagine he’d have a smile upon his face hearing this gem. By the way, I once wrote a tale about him suffering writer’s block!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funnily enough, Mike, that’s more or less how it’s to be done – minus the stage. Might think about background music though! 😉
      Have you posted the other to your blog? I’d have a read at that. By all accounts, he did do a bit of mulling in nature before putting pen to paper so you never know. We’ve all been there. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t resist posting my comment here too. 😉
        That’s it, Mike, I think we’re through
        Bloody hell, how could you
        Oor bonny lad was just nonplussed
        As a poet, what would you do
        Breeches worn were way too tight
        To stow away thesaurus
        And google was too distant yet
        To find a rhyme for chorus
        If I’d been her a-courting Rab
        I’d store one up my skirt
        Ninety-nine tae wan, I bet
        He’d huv found the right word yet

        Btw, I wasn’t getting set to do a vocal here. A slightly different Burns’ Night on Saturday will see me deliver my battle cry with a bit of acting thrown in. A few haufs first, right enough!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I hope you’re joking. About the pangs of guilt, I mean. Away ye go, man. It was funny. I’d genuinely like to read the others. I did a poem a while ago about Noah and his Ark and then wondered if I’d get flayed by fundamentalist Christians if they came upon it. Then thought, ‘Feck it!’ If we can’t laugh at what makes us ridiculous, it’s not Brexit we need to worry about. I couldn’t bear to live on a planet where humour wasn’t allowed. Now, you can still have that drink and I may even join you, albeit midweek, and toast the heath of poets, humour and open minds. ‘Wha’s like us? Damn few, an they’re aw deid.’ Good health and the right word ever near! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Funnily enough quite a few believers saw the funny side of the Noah post. I never thrust my atheism in anyone’s face…that helps I think. I agree, a bit of laughter is quite the best thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is the best thing I’ve read in AGES, A-M. Oh how I wish he was still among us. You’ve evoked all that was wonderful about him so completely. We need more such artists in this world we’ve created for ourselves. I might have to read this aloud as I enjoy my wee dram of Auchentoshan this evening. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you like it, Cole. I’ll be delivering this on Saturday night at a Burns’ Supper. We had a great night last year and the hostess thought a ‘lassie led’ night was in order. It changed somewhat in the writing of it, mind you, what with ‘things’. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved reading that. Husband and I are doing an informal joint toast/reply to the lassies on Saturday evening in Berwickshire. Decided to make it topical and trawled through my Burns poems for verses applicable to some of today’s folk and happenings. Shows that with a name change here and there Burns is still as applicable today as he was two hundred odd years ago.

    Have a hilarious time on Saturday. That’s what Burns suppers are for, a coming together to celebrate and enjoy ourselves and to remind us of who we are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the conclusion I came to when I was prepping. Maybe why he is universally lauded. People are people the world over, same problems, same desires. He got that.
      I’m pretty sure we’ll have a ball on Saturday. Loads of laughs and singing last year and the company was superb. Old friends, new friends. Have a blast too. A husband and wife toast and reply should make a great combination. 🙂 I think. 😉

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