Poem for the Day

Posted: 29 January 2013

Sweet to ride forth at evening from the wells,
When shadows pass gigantic on the sand,
And softly through the silence beat the bells
Along the Golden Road to Samarkand.

We travel not for trafficking alone;
By hotter winds our fiery hearts are fanned:
For lust of knowing what should not be known
We take the Golden Road to Samarkand.

Open the gate, O watchman of the night!
Ho, travellers, I open. For what land
Leave you the dim-moon city of delight?
We take the Golden Road to Samarkand!

What would ye, ladies? It was ever thus.
Men are unwise and curiously planned.
They have their dreams, and do not think of us.
We take the Golden Road to Samarkand.

The Golden Road to Samarkand
James Elroy Flecker

Poem for the Day

Posted: 28 January 2013

Let's start the week with something whimsical!

Sudden swallows swiftly skimming
Sunset’s slowly spreading shade,
Silvery songsters sweetly singing
Summer’s soothing serenade.

Susan Simpson strolled sadately
Stifling sobs, suppressing sighs.
Seeing Stephen Slocum, stately
She stopped, showing some surprise.

“Say” said Stephen, “sweetest sigher:
Say, shall Stephen spouseless stay? ”
Susan, seeming somewhat shyer,
Showed submissiveness straightway.

Summer’s season slowly stretches,
Susan Slocum she –
So she signhed some simple sketches –
Soul sought soul successfully!

Six Septembers Susan Swelters;
Six sharp seasons snow supplies;
Susan's satin sofa shelters
Six small Slocums side by side.

Susan Simpson

Poem for the Day

Posted: 27 January 2013

It has been suggested this should be Scotland’s national anthem. I disagree. Arguably the greatest poem written by Burns’, it is too vast to be limited to one country, its sentiments too deep to be restricted to one people. It is the world’s anthem; a ‘Marseillaise’ for all mankind. At the end of the day when we are called to account, we will know our place in the world by the measure of our faith in, and our standing with, our fellow man, and this is the song we shall sing.

Is there for honest 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, and 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 marquis, duke, an' a' that;
But an honest man's aboon his might,
Guid faith, he mauna 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 coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a’ that.

A Man's A Man
Robert Burns

Poem for the Day

Posted: 26 January 2013

One of the best known of Burns' songs. I recorded a version of this on my "Dusty Boots on a Gravel Road" CD.

Ye banks and braes o’ bonny Doon,
How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair?
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
And I sae weary full of care!
You'll break my heart, you warbling bird,
That wantons through the flowering thorn:
Reminds me o’ departed joys,
Departed never to return.

Aft hae I roved by bonny Doon,
To see the rose and woodbine twine:
And ilka bird sang o’ its love,
And fondly sae did I o’ mine;
Wi' lightsome heart I pulled a rose,
Full sweet upon its thorny tree!
But my false lover stole the rose,
But she left the thorn wi’ me.

Ye Banks and Braes
Robert Burns

Editing Robert Burns for the 21st Century

Posted: 25 January 2013

As part of the ‘Editing Robert Burns for the 21st Century’ project, Bill was commissioned to record a number of Burns’s songs to support the OUP edition.  They are now freely available for download by clicking on the link below.

A Collection of six songs performed by Bill has been released in celebration of Burns Night 2013. These include the internationally famous ‘My Luve’s like a Red, Red Rose’ (preceded by an instrumental), both old and new settings of the song ‘John Barleycorn’, and several other songs that were included by Burns in his prose writings. Indeed, this is the first set of songs to be linked directly to a volume of the new Oxford University Press edition of The Works of Robert Burns. The first volume of the edition, Robert Burns: Commonplace Books, Tour Journals and Miscellaneous Prose (Ed. Nigel Leask), is due to be published later in the year.

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