My cronies, I staun' here the nicht An ask ye for yer patience Tae tell ma tale and keep ye bricht Wi mair o' my orations I had prepared some stumblin' lines Wi thoughts o' referendum But news on Ne'erday change my mind Caused me tae amend them. For mair years than a can recall, Wi' humour, sangs an' clatter I've sat amangst ye in this hall Though Januar' winds might batter But this time roon' it's no the same, A feelin' hard tae capture An empty chair that bears his name Wha' held us a' in rapture. I wis a pair benighted chanter Wha hadnae played for ages. When, tae the folk club I did saunter. Tae try the Kestrel's stages An wha was I tae be sae bold It could hae been a blunder Ma knees were shakin' truth be told The strain that I was under. Ma e'en then lichted on a man Wha seemed tae hae some mettle He walkit up an shook my hand At once my hert did settle "Ye are a singer." he declaimed "Well that'll suit me fairly." "Whaur de ye cam frae? Whit's yer name? I'll pit ye on quite early." What I didnae quite ken then At that unsought encounter That Jack McCaig wid cam my friend An' be a guide and mentor. A count me lucky by a mile Twas me he took a shine to Cos he could be a richt thrawn chiel Wha said whit he'd a mind to. He'd work on fairms, he'd ploughed the riggs O' mony a fairmer worthy. And then at nicht he rest his legs Doon in the ploughman's bothy. An there he said he learned the sangs Frae men wha worked wi' horses Wi' tales o' woe and richts an' wrangs In thae cornkister verses Mony a day sat at his knee Regaled wi tales an' stories. The things he dae, the things he'd see While drivin' on the lorries. A big wheel man wha roped an' happed The cargo that he carried. Wi' coal an' steel an' a' sic trap That folk a' needed ferried. Balerno was his life lang hame He'd kent it since was wee. The Laird o' Glenbrook he became In his hoose beneath the tree. An' if ye took the time tae go Oot tae that stately pile. An' chappit at the the door ye'd know He'd greet ye wi a smile. An' evr'y Januar' at oor meets He' mak his contribution That had us rollin' in oor seats Wi muckle laughs an' hootin' An t'ward the end efter the turns As we a' kent he must do Tae gie "The Star o' Rabbie Burns" Roared oot wi' usual gusto. But sickness breaks the strongest herts As e'en oor Rob would find. The haughty laird, the lad o' pairts Still find themselves enchained An though he faucht it lang and hard Wi' a' his strenght resist it. Like oor Robin, Scotland's bard That mortal coil he slip't it. We've paid respect tae absent friends An' Jack he got a mention But here his story doesnae end And I'll hear nae dissension For though we hae an empty chair That nane o' us can 'herit I for ane still see him there, The least that he should merit. So fareweel then tae my pal Jack I liked tae cry him Faither, An' though my muse the pow'r may lack Tae 'scribe him as I'd raither. Ah'll ne'er forget a man like him I'm glad our paths did mingle. I wish him noo a hearty dram An' a warm seat by the ingle.
Bard – Marchbank Burns Club
Friday 30th January 2015