Burns Night

Literature Prompt:

Gathering her brows like gathering storm, Nursing her wrath to keep it warm
Robert Burns


The sound of the bagpipes arouses in me an old and familiar feeling. Here amongst these brother and sister Celts I am at home. The Haggis is now piped in and ready to be addressed thus:

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
‘Bethankit’ hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis

We tuck in with ‘neaps an tatties an a’ and the conversation is rich and warm, fuelled in no small part by our companion, Uisge Beatha, the Water of Life. Speeches are made and our guest is  a Minister from The Scottish National Party. You would’nae want to be a Sassenach in these parts tonight. Onwards the evening rolls and Burns is quoted in many forms and sung too. It is a full and vibrant night. Then comes Tam O ‘shanter. Read by a wild eyed Scot, be-kilted and proud and drawing all the epic words from his oft used Burns memory. It is a thing to behold. Silence falls everywhere punctuated by gasps and cries and laughs for those who ken’ the dialect. Music and dancing take us on until the wee small hours.

In the land of Burns

Flames of passion burn brightly

The Bard is well loved


Although a good portion of this piece is in Burns own hand, I could not I feel, do him or this night justice without inclusion. Hope you enjoyed.

13 thoughts on “Burns Night

  1. Anja says:

    You did this so well incorporating Burns’ words with yours. I was not familiar with Burns before this and read some of his work to know more about him. His language, was a struggle for me, but reading this seemed to make it easier. I actually “felt” it more. So, thank you for that.

    • paulscribbles says:

      It was based around my actual Burns Night experience just recently. A fine occasion it was too.Thanks for dropping by.

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