Burns commemorative poem

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.

‘Immortal Memory’

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

In eighty-wan.

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

first publication

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

Edina’s gain

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

Financial weight.

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,

Penniless lay.

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

Scotia’s Bard.