Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Wan ye were jist a wean: Poem to Robert Burns for the Year of Homecoming, 2009

This verse (it doesn't claim to be Poetry) - may only have a transient presence online. Written for Scotland's Year of Homecoming in 2009, 'Whittaker' has decided to air it in honour of The Bard himself - Robert Burns.

Wan ye were jist a wean, Rab,
Yer’ Mammie didnae ken
That ye her eldest wean, Rab,
Wad be the toast o’ men;
An’ wan ye learned tae count, Rab,
An’ read an’ write an’ spell,
Ah reckon she’d hae nodded, lad,
And said ye’d done richt well.

Wan ye were growin’ up, Rab,
Ye’d no’ much time tae read,
From dawn tae dusk ye worked, Rab,
Till ye were aff yer heid
Wi’ boredom at the ploo, Rab –
It wisnae tae yer taste,
Thank heavens that yer Daddie didnae
Leave yer brains tae waste.

A tutor showed ye buiks, Rab,
Ye grew tae love the words;
Ye lo’ed the lassies tae, Rab –
A rare man wi’ the birds!
You wrote braw verse aboot them,
An’ word o’ ye soon spread;
It wisnae lang ere ye were writin’
Sangs to earn yer bread.

A man’s a man for a’ that –
‘Twas ye that penned the line;
Ye kept yer’ common touch, Rab,
Tho’ minglin’ wi’ the fine.
Twa hunnert-fifty years, Rab,
We’ve no’ fergot yer name,
An' ye’re our national bard, Rab,
The Year o’ Comin’ Hame!

In accordance with Rabbie’s custom, this song has been penned by Karen E. McAulay to a weel-kebnnt air: 'John Anderson, my Jo'.

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