Friday, 25 January 2008

..dews distil like amber bead.

Happy Burns Night . We're following tradition by eating food that someone else took a long time to make , they cooked for hours , we heated it up in five minutes. Yep ... lazy mamma went to M&S , its Friday , its Stormy outside , and we're meant to be celebrating Robert Burns Night.
I love Burns Poetry , I love to read it , I love its silly Scottish sentimentality , but most of all I love it because its a link to my Grandparents who hailed from Ayr - " ne'er a town surpasses, o honest men and bonnie lasses" , or as my dry-witted father would say - " bonnie men and honest lasses" , just to annoy his MIL ! lol
And the thing I loved , was hearing my Grandmother , Great Aunt or Great Grandmother (known affectionately as Great Scott Gran) recite Burns poems , because they actually spoke like that. There was no affecting the accent or the dialect , it was theirs to start with , and it sounded so natural , so poetic. They didn't wait until Burns night to recite the poetry , in fact as women , they were a wee bit sceptical about Burns Night , and Burns Clubs . That was for these daft men , just another reason to eat their fill and drink until they were "fou'" (drunk) . Bit likeBurns actually.... lol
There are very few people who can recite Burns poetry with such panache now (and without the alcohol) , but the one who's the best is Karen Dunbar . You ought to hear her "Tam o Shanter" , at speed.
I have a memory of going to stay with Great Scott Gran and Auntie Jean for the weekend. I shared Auntie Jeans big bed , with the vintage quilt and flannelette sheets , in the room with the open coal fire and Coalport China figurines , and remember asking for (yet) another story . So she told me one about a Mouse , whose wee house was all broken up by a big bad farmer and his plough . But the farmer was upset , he didn't really mean to break up the wee mouses' house , he just had a lot on his mind . Now she told me all this in the ayrshire dialect (ye ken) , and I was hooked ! Can you guess the poem ? *
Today , there are Poets wandering around Glasgow , handing out the works of Edwin Morgan , another fine Scottish Poet , and reciting some too. Now taking poetry to the masses , that to me is a perfect way to celebrate Burns Night , as that is what he was all about (well that along with the philandering , drinking , and populating Scotland ! ).
Mind you , the time we had our pal from Manchester staying with us was another memorable Burns Night - we did the (vegetarian ) Haggis , Neeps and Tatties , and asked our pal to read the "Address to a Haggis" with his Mancunian accent (think Gallagher Brothers!) - lets just say he improved AFTER the whisky! lol
* To a Mouse
Wee sleekit cowrin timrous beastie
Oh what a panic's in thy breastie
Thou need na start awa sae hasty , wi bickering brattle
I wad be laith to rin and chase thee wi murdering prattle
I'm truly sorry man's dominion
has broken nature's social union
An' justifies that ill opinion , which makes thee startle
at me , thy earth-born companion , and fellow mortal
I doubt na , whiles, but thou may thieve
What then poor beastie , thou maun live
A daimen icker in a thrave , 's a sma request
I'll get a blessing with the lave and never miss't
Thy wee bit housie , too, in ruin
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin'
And naething, now ,to big a new ane , o foggage green
An bleak December's winds ensuin , baith snell and keen
Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste
An' weary winter comin' fast
Till crash! the cruel coulter past, out thro' thy cell
That wee bit heap o leaves and stibble
has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble, but house or hald
To thole the winter's sleety dribble, and cranreuch cauld!
But Mousie thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain
The best laid schemes o' mice and men , gang aft agley
And leave us nought but grief and pain, for promis'd joy
Still thou art blest, compar'd wi me
The present only toucheth thee
But och, I backward cast my e'e , on prospects drear
An forward , tho I canna see, I guess an fear !

3 comments:

Midsummer night's knitter said...

Well, I guess *someone* has to like BUrns.....;0)
India

TangledFrog said...

Did you see Karen Dunbar's special on BBC3 Friday night? Robert Burns' World Tour of Scotland, I think it was called. It was great!

TangledFrog said...

Heather tagged me and, in return, I am tagging you. Consider yourself tagged!