TO HELP commemorate one of Scotland’s best known poets, Robert Burns, we thought we would share a piece written by Mike Holland. Mike originally wrote this piece as an alternative Immortal Memory for the 250 year Burns’ celebrations.
It would tak a better man than me
Tae dae justice tae a deity
His words and tunes ye’d all agree
Nane hae surpassed
By drawing on nature’s verity
Braw words he cast.
And so in plain and humble way
My words of praise I’ll give this day
And if I can I’ll homage pay
To Robert Burns
And should I stumble on the way
Haud back the gurns.
Born in seventeen fifty nine
In Alloway, a village fine
In housie made fast wi bits o’ twine
Built by his paw
A working gairdener fae East Mondyne
Hands big and raw.
A shame it was for such a youth
To struggle wi the toil uncouth
Poverty and hunger in great louthe
Aw the while
But never down about the mooth
He loved tae smile.
Mount Oliphant, his early teens,
The pairest land was ever seen
And sadly through his effort keen
He strained his heart
In shortening life mair than a wheen
This played a part.
But as he walked ahent the plough,
His mind would store away enow
Thochts and feelings in his pow,
For future rhyme
E’en in those early years he’d trow
Wad come his time.
Twas here he found why he was born
Tae kiss the girls amid the corn
In seventy three love forlorn
for Nell Kilpatrick
Wha married coachman William Bone
Now there’s a trick.
In seventy seven to farm Lochlea
Mair wetter fields ye ere did see
The toil there caused his paw tae die
A worn oot man
The consolation Alison Begbie
The brithers then took farm Mossgiel
Where poems from off his pen did reel
Holy Willie’s Prayer, Address to the Deil
Are fine weel kent
But wi farming craft they could’na deal
Nor pay the rent.
Eighty five saw our man wi wife
Jean Armour the love o’ his life
The poems success eased farming strife
His volume sold nae just in Fife
But cross the nation.
To Indies had been the family plan
But Edina’s charms cam tae the van
Indies attraction paled tae wan
Toured Caledonia as the Man
The Bard his name.
From Edina in search o’ peace
The family moved down to Dumfries
Ellisland the latest lease
In eighty eight
The farming woes tho didn’a cease
But at Ellisland he was a ranter
Encouraged by the ale house banter
The poetry flowed oot at a canter
But aboun the rest
The frightening tale o Tam o’ Shanter
Some say the best.
To counteract the farming woes
He donned the Excise service clothes
And quickly through the ranks he rose
To foot walk status
But certain poems had made him foes
A brief hiatus.
His poetry mainly Scots tradition
Was taen by some as pure sedition
The Scots Wha Hae first edition
No author say
The Courts objective and main mission
To Botany Bay.
Alas at two score years less three
The ills o early years ran free
The weakened heart gave way and he
Just slipped away
His widow, in childbirth, sad tae see,
So much to say so little time
The fifteen bairns, the many rhymes
The lovers abundant, bosoms sublime
In his short life
Tho some wad say it was a crime
Deceive the wife.
Why is it that his words ring true
In Russia, Flin Flon, Katmandu
Revered by all the whole world through
He’s Scotland’s pride
He speaks for men like me and you
And mair beside.
So lads and lasses fill your glass
To mark 250 years gone past
250 mair may his memory last
Across the warld
So tak my lead and gie the toast