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Burns night hope, 2021 

Oh my hope is like a new green shoot
that’s reaching for the sun.
Oh, my hop is like a dancing tune,
I’m bound to come undone.

It’s rare enough to hope, I know,
rare in days like these:
for all the seas run dry it seems,
all the wells and all the dams.

But oh, my hope’s a purple rose,
a yellow coat, a poem;
oh, my hope’s an ancient song,
and the people – can you hear? – they’re singing!

It’s rare enough to hope, I know,
rare in days like these:
for the space from red and blue these days,
it’s far, so far between.

And oh, my hope’s a mourning song,
the land’s lamenting sighs;
oh, my hope is standing strong:
get up, Australia, rise!

It’s rare enough to hope, I know,
rare in days like these:
for our nation, built on theft and lies,
we’ve some dirt out of which to rise.

Oh, my hope is a new face mask,
some gloves and sanitiser, please!
Yes, my hope is in solitude,
though to be fair, it always was …

But it’s a rare old hope, and strange, I know,
to hope in days like these;
yet, like that brave green shoot, I will
still stretch, and reach for the sun!

new green shoot
Robbie Burns

Haggis, Neaps, and Tatties

Robbie Burns is Scotland’s much loved poet, bard, composer of songs and tales, who lived and wrote in the second half of the 18th century. He is celebrated each year on his birthday, 25 January, in Scotland and around the world, with haggis, neeps and tatties, whisky, poetry, music, stories, dancing. One of the traditions is for poets today to compose a ‘lost Burns poem’, which will be in his style, but commenting on events of our time. This is the second ‘lost Burns poem’ I have composed for the annual gathering at which, for the past three Januaries, I have delighted in being a guest (and this year, offering the larger space of the manse, co-host with our keepers of the haggis and ceremonies).