Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Gift Of Humanity

Burns Cottage Alloway

Tonight across Scotland and the world, people will celebrate the life and work of Robert Burns. Born 5 miles away from where I was born, we grew to adult hood in the same area, knowing many of the same places and tramping much of the same landscape. Many of his poems speak in the language and rythm of the local dialect and make clear connections.  His presence, his memory, is revered there maybe even more than anywhere else. You can walk into a graveyard in Ayr or Mauchline and find the graves of the cronies and characters, the loves and lassies that inhabit his poems - imagine finding the graves of characters from Dickens or Shakespeare: David Copperfield; Oliver Twist; Uriah Heap; Romeo or Juliet. You can with Burns because he wrote about what and who he knew.

I think it was the poet Wallace Stevens who said the open-minded reading of poetry helps you to live your life.  I understand that now; that poetry makes you aware of your own humanity and the humanity of others. That's the gift Robbie Burns makes across the years.

I remember my maternal Grandmother often singing this to me. My Mum also used it to sing and hum small children to sleep.

My Love Is Like A Red, Red Rose

My Love's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June:
O my Love's like the melodie,
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I;
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
And I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare-thee-weel, my only Love!
And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Love,
Tho' 'twere ten thousand mile!

See you later.

Listening to


A Daft Scots Lass said...

Love Burns stuff and of course, he's from Ayrshire, just like wee mee.

Nicky said...

Love it! And as an adopted Scot, I can't fail to love Mr Burns. Happy birthday, Rabbie! I'll enjoy some haggis in his memory.

Anonymous said...

I remember a cini film of my mum and her fellow choralist, Catherine, singing this song. I had forgotten all about it until I read the words here. Thanks SP x

dbs said...

I think this explains why you have a poet's heart too.

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Alistair! Is there any way I can be adopted as a Scot, please? I'm pretty sick of this rabble called the English. My grandmother was from north of the border if that helps. Indigo

Bovey Belle said...

I've just had a sing-along too - that's brought back some memories!

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

Nice one Alistair. "My Love" always brings tears to my eyes, especialy
"Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun"

Don't know why, it just does.

I'll be having Haggis tonight, but out of a TIN, 'cause NZ biosecurity look on a fresh imported Haggis as worse than a weapon of mass destruction.

Alistair said...

DSL - You'll be the Kilmarnock edition eh-no?

Nicky - Enjoy the haggis!

Anon - Smiles!

dbs - but not a poet's brain...

Indigo - Don't worry - we all get fed up with the English sometimes. But feel free to join us - we're all mongrels anyway so you'll fit right in!!!

BB - And in tune?

TSB - Tinned Haggis? Well better than nothing. Maybe!

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