So it’s that day again when fans of the Scottish bard come together to celebrate his date of birth, but also his verse and legacy. I’ve been scanning a couple of Burns’ poems today as part of my own personal celebration of the man and his work. There are many to love, but at this particular moment, looking at the white coat of winter as the sun sinks below the ground line, this one stands out most for me (courtesy of RPO):
A Winter Night
When biting Boreas, fell and doure,
Sharp shivers thro’ the leafless bow’r;
When Phœbus gies a short-liv’d glow’r,
Far south the lift,
Dim-dark’ning thro’ the flaky show’r,
Or whirling drift:
Ae night the storm the steeples rocked,
Poor Labour sweet in sleep was locked,
While burns, wi’ snawy wreeths upchoked,
Or thro’ the mining outlet bocked,
Down headlong hurl.
List’ning, the doors an’ winnocks rattle,
I thought me on the ourie cattle,
Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle
O’ winter war,
And thro’ the drift, deep-lairing, sprattle,
Beneath a scar.
Ilk happing bird, wee, helpless thing!
That, in the merry months o’ spring,
Delighted me to hear thee sing,
What comes o’ thee?
Whare wilt thou cow’r thy chittering wing
An’ close thy e’e?
Ev’n you on murd’ring errands toil’d,
Lone from your savage homes exil’d,
The blood-stain’d roost, and sheep-cote spoil’d
My heart forgets,
While pityless the tempest wild
Sore on you beats.
Now, I believe I’ll curl up with my volume of Robbie Burns accompanied by a glass of my favourite scotch.