Man’s no made tae Mourn

by Alex



It may be a risky thing to do at a Burns’ Supper, however, I admit that I just don’t get the jist of “Man Was Made to Mourn.”

There are several frequently quoted lines in the poem:

Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn.” That is self- evident although wonderfully expressed.

Death is the poor man’s greatest friend – the kindest and the best.” I disagree. It seems defeatist to me.

I‘ve seen that weary winter sun twice forty times return.” So have I, but I have also seen eighty summer suns return.

I can still remember the school services which preceded the eight weeks of glorious summer holiday.

We all sang with gusto ………..

Summer suns are glowing over land and sea.

Happy light is flowing bountiful and free.

Everything rejoices in the mellow rays.

All Earth’s thousand voices swell the psalm of praise.”

My reflections on my eighty years are very different to those of “the greybeard.”

Cronies — I ask you for your indulgence.

Man’s No’ Made Tae Moan

I’m gratefu’ fur ma daily fare

And sae the Lord be thankit.

Please don’t walk the Banks o’ Ayr

Ye micht meet a wet blanket.

Rab met an ancient greybeard there

All wretched and forlorn

The greybeard’s message Rabbie heard

Wis man wis made tae mourn.

Tho’ my opinion’s little worth

I hope that you’ll believe it

I ‘ve loved my four score years on Earth.

I’m no too keen tae leave it.

I mind not when a’ ships were wid

And pansies a’ were floors.

But maist the days I had were guid.

I ‘ve had mony happy oors.

Oor last twa suppers- baith wur zoomed

And Covid’s still a worry.

But nae yin thinks that we’re a’ doomed,

Except fur Johnnie Lawrie.

Oor weather’s getting’ mair extreme.

Auld Scotia’s getting’ warmer.

It’s here! It’s real! It’s no’ a dream.

Jist talk tae ony farmer.

Climate change is obvious.

Increasing greenhouse gasses.

Mair action ca’ed fur all o’ us

Wi every month that passes.

Brazilian forests disappear.

Oor seas are fu’ o’ plastic.

The polar ice melts and I fear,

We must dae somethin’ drastic.

Nae mair we wear the hodden grey.

Synthetics are much finer.

Oriental tailors hoddin sway.

Oor claes a’ come frae China.

“Nae wool or linen ‘s used they days.”

Said ma wife as a undressed her.

“Nae mair we’ve silken underclaes.

Oor drawers are polyester!”

My life has ta’en a few doon turns

Since the day that I was born

But I don’t agree wi’ Rabbie Burns

That Man was made tae mourn,

Or even made tae glower.

The dream I share wi’ ithers

Is Men the world ower

Shall one day, a’ be brithers.

Did yon greybeard ever crack a smile

Or ever winch a lady?

Or row her for a wee short while

A’ wrapped up in his plaidy?

When he wandered by a sylvan stream,

Did he tak a fishin’ rod?

Did her never have a happy dream?

Or gie thanks up tae God?

Burns should have scarpered really quick

For sure – He damn well knew.

That guy wis stickin’ like a tick

Like oor Victor Meldrew!

There is mair tae life than duty.

Coont the blessings we’ve been given.

This world is fu’ o’ beauty.

Gie thanks tae God in Heaven.

He didnae like the lords in power-

His thochts egalitarian

He thocht the masses should tak’ ower

Because there’s sae much mair o’ them

Tae change the order, one solution

Kills lords, tae ithers causes harm.

For results o’ revolution

Just read yer “Animal Farm.”

Tae gie Rabbie Burns a lecture

I find that rather droll

I’m tempted tae conjecture

He never mentioned birth control.

Eighty years o’ misery

He recounted – Whit a bore!

Unto a guy wha’s destiny

Wis a life less than twa score.

Rab wis aye an optimist

His gless wis aye half fu’

The auld guy wis a pessimist.

Rab didnae share his view.

Tae listen nearly half a day

Tae depressing subject matter

Rab should have maybes walked away…….

Or thrown him in the watter!

                                      Andy Mc Gowan

28th Janury 2023