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Robert Burns


Attilio

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Relaxing in the bath there listening to a phone in on Tay AM, part of which was on the relevance of Robert Burns and his poetry in Scotland in this day and age.

I must confess that I have never been able to get into Burns and his works but that is probably down to my complete lack of interest in 99% of poetry itself.  It's one of these cases I suppose - whatever ticks your box.

I more or less see Burns night as a glorified p!ss up, widely used these days as a business entertainment lark and largely attended by folk who have no interest in Burns or his work. Am I right?

People can read what they want however and I have no problem with this or any TV programmes on the man because I have the freedom to switch to another channel.  I do have a problem though when my kids come home from school with 'homework' that is to learn this Burns poem or whatever and they hardly understand a word of it.  I just think it's hard enough to get kids to talk proper English these days without having to learn this stuff.

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To be fair, Burn was a total lad. He was drunk all the time and loved the ladies. (pretty sure he ended up with a bunch of illegitimate kids) I'm sure he would have been really glad we were using him as an excuse to have a good time!

As long as you're at a Burns night when they do the traditions, like address the haggis, and the lassies, then it's something that keeps tradition going. 

His poetry exemplifies that a normal guy managed to write beautiful poetry about every day and universal issues that are read the world over. Holy Willie's Prayer mocks the hypocrisy of the church (which would have taken some balls to do at that time.) Loads of his poems are about what peasants at the time got up to, so it's nice to see a glimpse of the kind of lifestyle back then.

It does annoy me a little bit that most kids aren't even asked to recite Burns. It's usually JK Annand or some other Scottish poet. But it's unfair to ask them to recite Burns, 'cause it's just too hard. Teachers should be teaching kids what the poem is about before they're asked to recite it. If they haven't, that's terrible. Whatever they recite though, It's about embracing the history of our language, and how dialect evolves. 

(sorry. can you tell I'm an English teacher?)

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Relaxing in the bath there listening to a phone in on Tay AM, part of which was on the relevance of Robert Burns and his poetry in Scotland in this day and age.

I must confess that I have never been able to get into Burns and his works but that is probably down to my complete lack of interest in 99% of poetry itself.  It's one of these cases I suppose - whatever ticks your box.

I more or less see Burns night as a glorified p!ss up, widely used these days as a business entertainment lark and largely attended by folk who have no interest in Burns or his work. Am I right?

People can read what they want however and I have no problem with this or any TV programmes on the man because I have the freedom to switch to another channel.  I do have a problem though when my kids come home from school with 'homework' that is to learn this Burns poem or whatever and they hardly understand a word of it.  I just think it's hard enough to get kids to talk proper English these days without having to learn this stuff.

Next you'll be telling us that some people see Christmas as an excuse to buy each other expensive present rather than the whole baby Jesus/gold myrrh and Frankenstein stuff  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:

I agree with you about poetry and Burns, it ain't my bag but it has become part of our culture so I'm not bothered if it gets done at the school. It could be worse, the morris dancers have to do Shakespeare and Dickens which are utter shog dit.  :o  Apologies to Meg the English teacher for my blasphemy (and probably punctuation and grandma too  :P ).

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Come on now... Burns made me a decent enough living for a wee while!

And you've never HAD to play Burns until you've had to do it in The Tam o'Shanter Centre in Alloway.... or in the man's own bloody house!!  :)

Thing is, the 'scots' used in Burns is not always to the fore.. even in his most immersive poems like (for example) Tam O'Shanter he could still come out with poetry that would fit with any modern (or even his contemporaries) equivalents

But pleasures are like poppies spread, you seize the flower - its bloom is shed-
Or like the snow falls in the river, a moment white - then melts for ever;
Or like the Borealis race, that flit 'ere you can point their place,
Or like the Rainbow's lovely form, evanishing amidst the storm-

Nae man can tether Time nor Tide, the hour approaches - Tam maun ride;

wonderful... (think I got it right!!)

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I know just about nothing about the "Works of Shakespeare" and although I am sure he was wonderful and creative, on the basis of the way it was kind of drummed into us (in the dark old days o' primary schooling) it/h, meant nothing to me or anyone else in the class.

Strangely, the same teacher who bored us to tears on the "Shakespeare Front" also taught music (and loved Scottish music/songs)

She must have especially loves the poems and songs of Robert Burns, because as well as teaching us them, she took the time to explain the meaning.

Most of Robert Burns poems I think now have little meaning for me ...... but in song form, I think they are beautiful

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