Pirate Story

We present this work in honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

09-19 Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson
Scots
1850 – 1894

 

Three of us afloat in the meadow by the swing,
Three of us aboard in the basket on the lea.
Winds are in the air, they are blowing in the spring,
And waves are on the meadow like the waves there are at sea.

Where shall we adventure, to-day that we’re afloat,
Wary of the weather and steering by a star?
Shall it be to Africa, a-steering of the boat,
To Providence, or Babylon, or off to Malabar?

Hi! but here’s a squadron a-rowing on the sea—
Cattle on the meadow a-charging with a roar!
Quick, and we’ll escape them, they’re as mad as they can be,
The wicket is the harbour and the garden is the shore.

The Maiden’s Vow

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 255th birthday.

Carolina Oliphant
Scots
1766 – 1845

I’ve made a vow, I’ll keep it true,
I’ll never married be;
For the only ane that I think on
Will never think o’ me.

Now gane to a far distant shore,
Their face nae mair I’ll see;
But often will I think o’ them,
That winna think o’ me.

Gae owre, gae owre noo, gude Sir John,
Oh, dinna follow me;
For the only ane I ere thocht on,
Lies buried in the sea.

from The Lay of the Last Minstrel

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 250th birthday.

Sir Walter Scott
Scots
1771 – 1832

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne’er within him burn’d,
As home his footsteps he hath turn’d
From wandering on a foreign strand!
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no Minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonour’d, and unsung.

The Banks o’ Doon

We present this work in honor of the 225th anniversary of the poet’s death.

07-21 Burns
Robert Burns
Scots
1759 – 1796

 

Ye banks and braes o’ bonie Doon,
How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair?
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
And I sae weary fu’ o’ care!
Thou’ll break my heart, thou warbling bird,
That wantons thro’ the flowering thorn:
Thou minds me o’ departed joys,
Departed never to return.

Aft hae I rov’d by Bonie Doon,
To see the rose and woodbine twine:
And ilka bird sang o’ its Luve,
And fondly sae did I o’ mine;
Wi’ lightsome heart I pu’d a rose,
Fu’ sweet upon its thorny tree!
And may fause Luver staw my rose,
But ah! he left the thorn wi’ me.

Ilka Blade o’ Grass Keps Its Ain Drap o’ Dew

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 215th birthday.

06-11 Ballantine
James Ballantine
Scots
1806 – 1877

 

Confide ye aye in Providence, for Providence is kind,
And bear ye a’ life’s changes, wi’ a calm and tranquil mind,
Though pressed and hemmed on every side, ha’e faith and ye ‘ll win through,
For ilka blade o’ grass keps its ain drap o’ dew.

Gin reft frae friends or crest in love, as whiles nae doubt ye’ve been,
Grief lies deep hidden in your heart or tears flow frae your een,
Believe it for the best, and trow there’s good in store for you,
For ilka blade o’ grass keps its ain drap o’ dew.
In lang, lang days o’ simmer, when the clear and cloudless sky
Refuses ae wee drap o’ rain to nature parched and dry,
The genial night, wi’ balmy breath, gars verdure spring anew,
And ilka blade o’ grass keps its ain drap o’ dew.

Sae, lest ‘mid fortune’s sunshine we should feel owre proud and hie,
And in our pride forget to wipe the tear frae poortith’s ee,
Some wee dark clouds o’ sorrow come, we ken na whence or hoo,
But ilka blade o’ grass keps its ain drap o’ dew.

Music, in a Foreign Language

Andrew Crumey
Scots
b. 1961

 

In a cafe, once more I heard
Your voice – those sparse and frugal notes.
Do they not say that you spoke your native Greek
With an English accent?

Briefest of visions: eyes meet across the cafe;
A man of about my age – eyelids heavy,
Perhaps from recent pleasures.
I begin the most innocent of conversations.
Again I see that image;
Ancient delight of flesh
Against guiltless flesh.
Sweeter still, in its remembering.

Most innocent of conversations: once more, I am mistaken.
He leaves; the moment lost – and to forego
The squalor of this place, I read again your lines; those sparse and frugal notes.
In a taverna, you found beauty, long ago.
And when you draw, with your slim, swift pen
The image of that memory – time’s patient hostage;
Then how can I forget him, that boy whom you could not forget,
Or that music, in a foreign language?

Weathering

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 95th birthday.

Alastair Reid
Scots
1926 – 2014

 

I am old enough now for a tree
once planted, knee high, to have grown to be
twenty times me,
and to have seen babies marry, and heroes grow deaf –
but that’s enough meaning-of-life.
It’s living through time we ought to be connoisseurs of.
From wearing a face all this time, I am made aware
of the maps faces are, of the inside wear and tear.
I take to faces that have come far.
In my father’s carved face, the bright eye
he sometimes would look out of, seeing a long way
through all the tree-rings of his history.
I am awed by how things weather: an oak mantel
in the house in Spain, fingered to a sheen,
the marks of hands leaned into the lintel,
the tokens in the drawer I sometimes touch –
a crystal lived-in on a trip, the watch
my father’s wrist wore to a thin gold sandwich.
It is an equilibrium
which breasts the cresting seasons but still stays calm
and keeps warm. It deserves a good name.
Weathering. Patina, gloss, and whorl.
The trunk of the almond tree, gnarled but still fruitful.
Weathering is what I would like to do well.

Puppy and I

We present this work in honor of the 65th anniversary of the poet’s death.

A.A. Milne
Scots
1882 – 1956

 

I met a Man as I went walking:
We got talking,
Man and I.
“Where are you going to, Man?” I said
(I said to the Man as he went by).
“Down to the village, to get some bread.
Will you come with me?” “No, not I.”

I met a horse as I went walking;
We got talking,
Horse and I.
“Where are you going to, Horse, today?”
(I said to the Horse as he went by).
“Down to the village to get some hay.
Will you come with me?” “No, not I.”

I met a Woman as I went walking;
We got talking,
Woman and I.
“Where are you going to, Woman, so early?”
(I said to the Woman as she went by).
“Down to the village to get some barley.
Will you come with me?” “No, not I.”

I met some Rabbits as I went walking;
We got talking,
Rabbits and I.
“Where are you going in your brown fur coats?”
(I said to the Rabbits as they went by).
“Down to the village to get some oats.
Will you come with us?” “No, not I.”

I met a Puppy as I went walking;
We got talking,
Puppy and I.
“Where are you going this nice fine day?”
(I said to the Puppy as he went by).
“Up to the hills to roll and play.”
“I’ll come with you, Puppy,” said I.

Caldonia

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 250th birthday.

James Hogg
Scots
1770 – 1835

 

Caledonia! thou land of the mountain and rock,
Of the ocean, the mist, and the wind-
Thou land of the torrent, the pine, and the oak,
Of the roebuck, the hart, and the hind;
Though bare are thy cliffs, and though barren thy glens,
Though bleak thy dun islands appear,
Yet kind are the hearts, and undaunted the clans,
That roam on these mountains so drear!

A foe from abroad, or a tyrant at home,
Could never thy ardour restrain;
The marshall’d array of imperial Rome
Essay’d thy proud spirit in vain!
Firm seat of religion, of valour, of truth,
Of genius unshackled and free,
The muses have left all the vales of the south,
My loved Caledonia, for thee!

Sweet land of the bay and wild-winding deeps
Where loveliness slumbers at even,
While far in the depth of the blue water sleeps
A calm little motionless heaven!
Thou land of the valley, the moor, and the hill,
Of the storm and the proud rolling wave-
Yes, thou art the land of fair liberty still,
And the land of my forefathers’ grave!