Poetry Friday & Robert Burns

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It’s Poetry Friday! Tara at A Teaching Life is hosting.

Sunday, January 25, is the birthday of Scottish poet Robert Burns. Without him, what would we sing at midnight on New Year’s Eve? (For a bit about “Auld Lang Syne,” including a translation from Lowland Scottish to English go here.)

Though I’m truly not keen to try haggis and I don’t drink anything stronger than coffee, I’ve always wanted to attend a Burns Night Supper. I like the idea of people gathering to eat and share poetry and song. Not to mention bagpipes.

A 15-year project is underway to edit Burns for the 21st century. This site includes recordings of many of Burns’ songs and some readings of his prose.

One of my favorite Scottish performers, Jim Malcom, sings several Burns or Burns-inspired songs, and I first heard “Is There for Honest Poverty,” also known as “A Man’s a Man for A’ That” at a concert.

“A Man’s a Man for A’ That” is described as Burns’ ode to humanity, his anthem for equality. The original text is here. The modern English translation with a bit of explanation is here.

Do you have a favorite Burns’ song or poem?

Jan. 25 is also the birthday of my adorable nephew, Noah, who will turn 13 this year. Happy birthday to Noah and Robert Burns!

Author: Keri

11 thoughts on “Poetry Friday & Robert Burns

  1. Thanks, Keri! I would like to attend a Burns supper, too. I think I would even be willing to try haggis! I draw the line at blood pudding, but that’s probably just because of the name. My favorite Burns poem is probably “To A Mouse,” but I also like “A Red, Red Rose” (esp. the musical versions of it).

  2. I love the idea of a Burns Supper, have never heard of them, Keri. My favorite is “Tae A Mouse” from which the line “Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,/O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!” starts the poem, & then others, like Hemingway in “Of Mice and Men” pulls lines. Probably well-known, but I love those first lines. Thanks for the song!

  3. Remember when we saw Jim Malcolm (and the rest of the pack) in Berkeley? And then solo in Cambria at the former Bucket of Blood Saloon across from the P.O.? Good music. Good times. L, ‘g, js

    1. I do remember! He’s been in Alabama at a house concert but I wasn’t able to go. I hate that he left the Old Blind Dogs — they were so good together!

    1. My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here:
      My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer…

      Thanks for celebrating Rabbie Burns! My late mother often used to say, “the best laid plans of mice and men do oft go awry,” which, of course, comes from the Burns poem Linda spoke about. In the poem the line goes,

      The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
      Gang aft agley

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