Lest year they held a verra special Burns Supper in the ackwal Burns Cottage in Alloway, Ayr, writes Rab Wilson. The event wis organised bi that great Burnsian warthie an speiker Hugh Farrell, an a verra bespoke an braw affair it turnt oot tae be! This wis the first Burns Supper hauden in the cottage syne the verra first supper wis held in memoriam at Burns Cottage bi a hauntle o Rabbie’s friens oan July 21, 1801. Ah wis asked tae pen a fittin ode fir this aefauld occasioun. Sae, a modren bard scrievin a piece celebratin wir national bard – nae pressure!? Tae heize Burns’s nem yet agane the poem ah wrote (in the auld Cherry an Slae metre Burns hissel uised) an recited in the cottage, is prentit here the day tae mind us oan why Burns an poetry still maitter in Scotland the day! Enjoy yer ain Burns Suppers – an tak aff yer dram!!

Twa hunner year an mair hae past,
Syne thon ill-fated Janwar blast,
   That hansel’d in oor Robin,
Wha wid hae thocht, that stormy nicht,
A seer-lyk Bard wi saicent sicht,
    Wid suin set lowe tae Scotland!
The hallowed wa’s o this auld biggin,
    Whaur we sit bien an snug,
Wid still resound tae tunes an singin,
    That hairtstrings pu an rug,
       We canna, we maunna,
         Hou’er the warld may turn,
       Imagine, or fashion,
          A Scotland wi’oot Burns.

Aince Daith’s cauld haund hud steikt yer een,
Auld Scotia tint its foremaist frien,
   Wha’ll be oor poet nou?
The fowk aa asked, an gnashed their gooms,
Else humm’d an haw’d, an birlt their thoombs,
   Nane e’er cuid replace you!
Ye’d be mair kent a hunner year syne,
     Ye surely did predict,
While as we aa sit here tae dine,
     Thair nae dout; ye wir richt!
        Wi daffin, an lauchin,
          We’ll gie yer nem a heize,
        Wi wirds yet, that ring yet,
          That set the warld ableeze.

We’ve boattles here, an honest friens,
An drouthy cronies we’ve a wheen,
   That ye wid recognise,
We’ve e’en a chiel tae dae some fiddlin,
Whase supple elbuck syne be diddlin,
   Wi airs tae mak ye sigh!
An famous craic wi poems an rhymes,
     Frae fowk wi wit an lear,
Nae dout we’ll hear some daithless lines,
     That aa Scots fowk haud dear,
          Get torn in, an dig in,
        We’ve mait an maut an ale
            Mangst clinkin, an thinkin,
        Oor speerits maun tak sail!

But whit o the laund ye left ahint,
Are things that ye held sacred tint,
     An hae we loast oor way?
Gif true it wid be oor disgrace,
 We Scots, a ‘disputatious race’,
    Shuid hae the mense tae spae,
The ‘universal truths’ ye spak,
        Are juist as true the day,
   Aa doucely rhymed in hamely craic,
        Still guide us oan oor way,
          We see it, we prie it,
       It’s in the verra air,
            We boast it, we toast it, 
       Richt here this verra day!    

The things that ye aince wrote aboot,
Still muive oor pens the day nae dout,
     Lik providential storms!
Insteid o wuns nou muckle spates,
Cam fludin throu wir doors an yetts, 
     We chitter tae keep waarm!
Mind, nou we hae Wee Nicola,
        Tae bail the puir fowk oot,
   Nae ‘Lochlie’ writs fir tham ava,
         Wid see thaim chippit oot!
            Life’s cantrips, an mishaps, 
          Conspire tae trip us up,
             But here’s aye, tae thaim aye,
          Wha ne’er aince gie up!

Love’s still the stellar force an guide,
That dairts athort the heivins wide,
     There’s hope yet fir us aa;
There’s Rupert Murdoch, eichty-four,
Third time lucky, need ah say more!?
     He’s heidin fir a fa’  
Said Johnson, ‘Twas the triumph of Hope,
        Ower experience!’
Tho mair the triumph o Samuel’s trope,
          Ower puir Rupert’s sense!
             Oh whit can, an auld man,
          Dae wi a Texan Filly?
             Their nae dout, his tea’s oot,
          The man’s gane gyte an silly!

Aye, Love an Nature, twa great themes,
Tae heize up ony poet’s dreams,
      An let us grasp the stars!
There’s satire, friendship, fun an lauchs,
There’s burly chiels, an shilpit nyaffs,
     In your great repertoire;
Wizened beldams, bonnie lasses,
        Puir brucken, ruined fairmers,
   Noble Jacobite lost causes,
          An bogles tae alairm us!
            There’s life there, ye’ll get there,
              Ye’ll fuin nae ither whaurs,
            There’s sense yet, an mense yet,
                Tae ding these hallowed wa’s!

Philosophy an poetry,
Rhymed wi sic dexterity,
     It lowps straicht aff the page,
An evri line accessible,
Tae young or auld; get-at-able,
     An’s nevir dimmed wi age!
It thrills me yet hou ye contrived,
        Wi juist a quill an caundle,
   Tae mak sic magic come alive,
          That gars oor nerve-ends jangle,
               It fires us, inspires us,
                    An touches us witha’
                 It soothes us, it muives us,
                      It maks the tear tae fa’
Whiles tyrant kings you aye despised,
An seen straicht throu their whids an lies,
     Thon ‘independent mind’,
Wid ne’er let you ‘bend the knee’,
Tae siclike rank hypocrisy,
     Tho ithers micht be blind,
You prie’d the warks o Thomas Paine,
        An taen his words tae hairt,
   An Rousseau’s ‘Social Contract’ fain,
          Wid see you tak the pairt,
             O thaim wha, hud damn aa,
               But you tae tell their woes,
             An thon’s aye, the wey aye,
               The poet’s story goes...

Wha’ll fecht fir sic injustice nou,
Wi Makars that micht mak ye grue,
     Whase pens hae aa bin hobbled,
Wha dinnae seem tae hae the mettle,
Tae grasp the state’s vile stingin nettle,
     Yet glaum at aa their baubles!
Tae tak a risk they are averse,
        They’d no rise aff their arses!
But scrieve ye aye braw lyric verse,
          Tae heize the glitt’rin prizes!
             Sic Makars, wid waur us,
                Their wirds aa fail tae ring,
             They rieve us, an deave us,
                  Their poems dinnae sing...!

You taen ideas sae rich an dense,
An turned thaim intil common sense,
     That ilk o us cuid grasp,
Be’t thorny knots o human fate,
Else rotten deeds o kirk an state;
     Aye equal tae the task,
Fir truth wis aye your Haly Grail,
       Whiles rogues ye aye wid ding!
An ne’er wir feart tae tirl the tails,
          O commoners or kings!
           Thair sooth there, an truth there,
                Tae gie oor hairts a heize,
           Thair wit there, an lear there
                 Tae rank wi Socrates.
Sae tak this shilpit paean, Robin,
Frae a modren sib an jobbin
     Poet o nae renown.
Ye dee’d no kennin that yer nem,
Wid growe tae siclike faur-kent fame,
     Ye’ve earned yer laurel crown!
Whiles weans in Ayr recite anent,
          The timeless themes ye wrote,
Aa ower the warld yer wark is kent
          Bi ‘diasporic’ Scots!
             Yer braw rhymes, fir aa time,
                 Wull echo evri airt,
               An shair’s aye, the sunrise,
                 They’ll stound in human hairts.