Thursday, 6 April 2017

A Man's A Man For A' That

By Robbie Burns (1795)

Is there for honesty poverty 

That hings his head, an' a' that; 
The coward slave - we pass him by, 
We dare be poor for a' that! 
For a' that, an' a' that, 
Our toils obscure an' a' that, 
The rank is but the guinea's stamp, 
The man's the gowd for a' that. 

What though on hamely fare we dine, 
Wear hoddin grey, an' a' that? 
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine, 
A man's a man for a' that. 
For a' that, an' a' that, 
Their tinsel show, an' a' that, 
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor, 
Is king o' men for a' that. 

Ye see yon birkie ca'd a lord, 
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that; 
Tho' hundreds worship at his word, 
He's but a coof for a' that. 
For a' that, an' a' that, 
His ribband, star, an' a' that, 
The man o' independent mind 
He looks an' laughs at a' that. 

A prince can mak a belted knight, 
A marquise, duke, an' a' that; 
But an honest man's aboon his might, 
Gude faith, he maunna fa' that! 
For a' that, an' a' that, 
Their dignities an' a' that, 
The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth, 
Are higher rank than a' that. 

Then let us pray that come it may, 
(As come it will for a' that,) 
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth, 
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that. 
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's comin yet for a' that 
That man to man, the world o'er, 
Shall brithers be for a' that.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Golden Carriage


Has the world gone mad or topsy turvy
I hear you say
What is going is they cry
We know not at all
At all, they tried to whisper.

But the words fell thru the cracks
And seeped and slithered down the
Melted drains and under piles of
Stinking, Rotten, old manure.
Because no one tended the fields anymore
The soil lay hard and dry and barren.

Somewhere over far away rainbows lay this
Rich market place
It Glittered with shiny fake golden doors
Driven by financial trading and
Illegal tax haven islands
Where only the rich got richer
And the children lay crying at
Night with hunger.
And the world has gone wrong.
It has taken false and empty wrong turnings.
It has gone mad or topsy turvy.

As Obama left the stage
His articulate words of hope
Flew in the air,
And all we heard then was
Simple Simon words of –
'He’s smart, he’s incredible, he’s fake'
But what did the words really mean
In our mad mad world?

I’m left to dream of my Alternative Reality
Where we have the first woman President –
What a wonderful milestone!
Where Brexit means Brexit never happened
And where the doubters knew clearly
Scotland had a bright and exciting future
With its own resources, its own culture,
Its own song and its own currency notes
And with Burns image shining bright.
(Because in 2008 was a disastrous money crash
but still no one listened)

Perhaps Bruce Springsteen will show up and sing 'Blowin in the Wind'
and someone will pick up the
piece of paper
and we will all be able to listen
and see once again.

This Trump used sensational sweets, I mean Tweets,
to tell his story.
But they tasted bitter and sour,
And echoed in empty online chambers
And bounced and banged
And the golden fireworks were not
For joy or celebration,
But for fear.

**
And Brexit means
Prices are rising,
May threatens a low tax economy,
Hunt wants to privatize the health service
Trump supports Farage -
What this means is that England is heading towards a more right market-driven capitalism that works for the rich, while the other workers suffer.
Scotland now has a very serious position –
Do we follow this path England is being forced to follow (don’t believe May’s words of ‘sharing’ – they mean nothing  at all.)
OR
Do we look to the more socially equal Nordic countries
Where they follow a very different path?
This is the very serious question we need to consider now.

This is what Brexit means…

January 2017,  Pauline Keightley


PS More than ever we need education is schools on Modern Studies, Philosophy and Politics – as few have a clue what is really going on.

Gordon McIntrye Kemp writing in the National wonders that only around 10% of us research and read in any serous way on political issues – that leaves about 90% using the Daily Mail or Sun for their information! How then can people vote in an informed way omething needs to be done urgently! 


Friday, 11 November 2016

Parcel of Rogues to the Nation

Parcel of Rogues to the Nation by Robert Burns

Fareweel to a' our Scottish fame,
Fareweel our ancient glory;
Fareweel ev'n to the Scottish name,
Sae fam'd in martial story.
Now Sark rins over Solway sands,
An' Tweed rins to the ocean,
To mark where England's province stands-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!
What force or guile could not subdue,
Thro' many warlike ages,
Is wrought now by a coward few,
For hireling traitor's wages.
The English steel we could disdain,
Secure in valour's station;
But English gold has been our bane -
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!
O would, ere I had seen the day
That Treason thus could sell us,
My auld grey head had lien in clay,
Wi' Bruce and loyal Wallace!
But pith and power, till my last hour,
I'll mak this declaration;
We're bought and sold for English gold-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation![2]

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

The Tree of Liberty

The Tree of Liberty

Written by Scotland's national bard, Robert Burns. 
 In 1785 Burns wrote about the tree of liberty, he imagined the fruit of France and America’s independence revolutions. He imagined such a tree might grow in Britain





HEARD ye o' the tree o' France,
I watna what 's the name o't;
Around it a' the patriots dance,
Weel Europe kens the fame o't.
It stands where ance the Bastile stood,
A prison built by kings, man,
When Superstition's hellish brood
Kept France in leading-strings, man.

Upo' this tree there grows sic fruit,
Its virtues a' can tell, man;
It raises man aboon the brute,
It mak's him ken himsel, man.
Gif ance the peasant taste a bit,
He 's greater than a lord, man,
An’ wi' the beggar shares a mite
O' a' he can afford, man.


This fruit is worth a' Afric's wealth:
To comfort us 'twas sent, man:
To gie the sweetest blush o' health,
An’ mak us a' content, man.
It clears the een, it cheers the heart,
Maks high and low gude friends, man;
And he wha acts the traitor's part,
It to perdition sends, man.


My blessings aye attend the chiel
Wha pitied Gallia's slaves, man,
And staw a branch, spite o' the deil,
Frae yont the western waves, man.
Fair Virtue water'd it wi' care,
And now she sees wi' pride, man,
How weel it buds and blossoms there,
Its branches spreading wide, man.

But vicious folk aye hate to see
The works o' Virtue thrive, man;
The courtly vermin 's bann'd the tree,
And grat to see it thrive, man;
King Loui’ thought to cut it down,
When it was unco sma', man;
For this the watchman crack'd his crown,
Cut aff his head and a', man.


A wicked crew syne, on a time,
Did tak a solemn aith, man,
It ne'er should flourish to its prime,
I wat they pledged their faith, man.
Awa’ they gaed wi' mock parade,
Like beagles hunting game, man,
But soon grew weary o' the trade
And wished they'd been at hame, man.

For Freedom, standing by the tree,
Her sons did loudly ca', man.
She sang a sang o' liberty,
Which pleased them ane and a', man.
By her inspired, the new-born race
Soon drew the avenging steel, man;
The hirelings ran--------her foes gied chase,
And banged the despot weel, man.

Let Britain boast her hardy oak,
Her poplar and her pine, man,
Auld Britain ance could crack her joke,
And o'er her neighbours shine, man.
But seek the forest round and round,
And soon 'twill be agreed, man,
That sic a tree can not be found,
'Twixt London and the Tweed, man.

Without this tree alake this life
Is but a vale o' woe, man;
A scene o' sorrow mixed wi' strife,
Nae real joys we know, man.
We labour soon, we labour late,
To feed the titled knave, man;
And a' the comfort we 're to get,
Is that ayont the grave, man.

Wi' plenty o' sic trees, I trow,
The warld would live in peace, man;
The sword would help to mak a plough,
The din o' war wad cease, man.
Like brethren in a common cause,
We'd on each other smile, man;
And equal rights and equal laws
Wad gladden every isle, man.

Wae worth the loon wha wadna eat
Sic halesome dainty cheer, man;
I'd gie the shoon frae aff my feet,
To taste sic fruit, I SWEAR, man.
Syne let us pray, auld England may
Sure plant this far-famed tree, man;
And blythe we'll sing, and hail the day
That gives us liberty, man.