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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Happy New Year! And, Auld Lang Syne...

 

and... WHEW - We MADE it!  

I've been ever so grateful for the Poetry Friday community during such a tumultuous year, and I look forward to what 2021 might bring. 

 

At the risk of "DUH - that's a cliche," the phrase that's been playing in my mind since our ritual family Christmas Eve viewing of It's a Wonderful Life has been the proverbial "cup of kindness."  We all need to raise each other's spirits, whether we're raising alcholic spirits or not.  So, my obvious poem choice today would be the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne.

 

You'll remember these late 18th-Century lines are attrributed to Robert Burns, Scotland's National Poet.  You can read about previous similar lines/themes/influences in this Encyclopedia Brittanica article. Did Rabbie Burns actually pen them, and exactly thus?  Not totally sure.  But they're always worth bringing out into the twinkling lights, to wrap ourselves up in like a new holiday robe:

 

 

Auld Lang Syne

 

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And old lang syne?


(Chorus)
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.


And surely you'll buy your pint cup!
And surely I'll buy mine!
And we'll take a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.


We two have run about the slopes,
And picked the daisies fine;
But we've wandered many a weary foot,
Since auld lang syne.


We two have paddled in the stream,
From morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
Since auld lang syne.


And there's a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o' thine!
And we'll take a right good-will draught,
For auld lang syne.

 

 

CHEERS to you and yours.  Or as we learned to say in Scotland, Slàinte mhath (Pronounced slan-ge-var - here's a fun link with some background on meanings & pronunciation & such. OR - just ask Jone MacCulloch, who has had to postpone her trip to Scotland but, when she does go, will be armed with all the lovely Scottish Gaelic she's been learning!) 

 

Warmest wishes all around, and here's to brighter days.  Our wonderful Ruth has the Roundup today at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town.  Thanks, Ruth!

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Poetry Friday - O my Luve...

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers - Happy Valentine's Day! 

 

Let's have a wee bit of Rabbie Burns, shall we?

 

 

A Red, Red Rose


O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
That's sweetly played in tune.

 

So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

 

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

 

And fare thee weel, my only luve!
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.

 

 

Burns lived from 1759 to 1796, and many of works were written as songs, such as this oh-so-famous poem. (He wrote Auld Lang Syne, too.) Most of his writings were in Scots.  

 

According to Pauline Mackay on the BBC site, this poem is "one of the most famous love songs associated with Robert Burns, ... composed prior to 1794 when it appeared in a collection by an Edinburgh composer named Urbani."  She adds, "Part of the song's appeal is its use of powerful, natural imagery to convey a love that is ever-lasting and capable of surviving both distance and time."

One of these years, I'll have my act together and celebrate Burns Night on January 25 (his birthday) - but, with vegetarian haggis. ;0)  We had that several times on our trip year before last.  (Here's some more info about Robert Burns.)

 

If you are celebrating with your Luve today, enjoy and savor.  And if you know someone who is missing their Valentine, make their day by reaching out with a thoughtful wish - roses optional. 

 

Slàinte Mhath!

 

Continue to feel the love today over at Teacher Dance, where Linda always fills our hearts!

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Poetry Friday - I Hear Bagpipes....

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

We are gearing up for our family "Ancestry" trip to Scotland and Ireland this month - Can't wait!  Except that I still have some 'ready' to get.... 

 

I think some Robert Burns (1759-96) is in order, from a wonderful old book (un-repurposed!) I have:

 

 

CONTENTED WI' LITTLE

Tune:  Lumps o' pudding

 

 

Contented wi' little, and cantie wi' mair,

Whene'er I forgather wi' sorrow and care,

I gie them a skelp as they're creepin' alang,

Wi' a cog o' gude swats, and an auld Scottish sang.

 

I whyles claw the elbow o' troublesome thought;

But man is a soger, and life is a faught:

My mirth and gude humour are coin in my pouch,

And my freedom's my lairdship nae monarch dare touch.

 

A towmond o' trouble, should that be my fa',

A night o' gude fellowship sowthers it a';

When at the blythe end of our journey at last,

Wha the deil ever thinks o' the road he has past?

 

Blind Chance, let her snapper and stoyte on her way,

Be't to me, be't frae me, e'en let the jad gae:

Come ease, or come travail; come pleasure or pain,

My warst word is- 'Welcome, and welcome again!'

 

 

(For help with some of those words, here's a link to a 1920 book on Google Books with a few definitions!)

 

Most of the Scots in our family tree were already over here by the time Mr. Burns was born in Scotland.  I've been staying up way too late, too many nights, chasing ancestors and rabbit trails through the brances of my Ancestry.com family tree! My family is threatening an intervention.  I even made a side trip off the interstate through South Carolina recently to go pay my respects to the bones of some newly-discovered Quaker ancestors buried in a small, historic cemetery in the middle of nowhere.... These folks were as old as our Mr. Burns, part of the Ulster Scots-Irish who came over and meandered down through the Carolinas and over into the midwest.  But I digress.

 

Christmas before last, I made my hubby and kids spit in vials and said we'd plan a trip according to where we were from.  We're all very, very, very British! (My brother happened to do the test about the same time, and so did my mother, so it's been especially fun comparing generational DNA results, too.)

 

So off to Edinburgh and Dublin it is, with a couple of day trips to the countryside.  We have ancestral connections in every corner of Great Britain, actually - Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland - as well as Ireland.  We'll mainly focus on the Celtic roots this time. 

 

What I've discovered is that basically we've got "family" on all sides of every historical conflict over there, it seems.  Sigh.  This clan attacks that one; this country fights its neighbors - and yet somehow folks cross lines and marry and have babies. Then they grow up and this group fights that group, etc. etc. The same tune across the globe, I know, across the centuries.  We can't take peace for granted, that's for sure. 

 

Speaking of clans, I've been a bit tartan-crazy in the studio lately.  I've begun making items using a couple of circa 1930 small books, published in Edinburgh, featuring tartans and coats of arms for clans and septs. When I discovered some mid-century Murano glass beads called "Scottish agate" (because they mimic the actual stones), I bought a couple of vintage necklaces to repurpose, too.  I'm having fun combining these with the tartan images, clipped and tucked under glass cabachons. 

 

I also bought an older book on the same theme on Ebay a week or two ago (didn't pay a lot for it)... I was thrilled to receive it and discover what a lovely little treasure it is!  It's pictured above.  It was published in 1891 and is just too lovely for me to dismember.  The printed tartan colors are wonderful, and - the endpapers!  The gilded edges!  And gilded design just inside the covers! It's quite safe for now and makes a delightful photo prop. 

 

Oh - just for fun, I included a pic of "explorer" necklaces I made for Morgan and myself.  100-year-old maps, cuckoo clock chain, vintage telescope charms, vintage Middle Eastern charms (she got my 1 percent in the DNA too), and some fun contemporary metal beads and compass charm.  I'll make some more of these this summer.  Hers features County Fife, where I've got one line of my family and a line of my hubby's back hundreds of years to the same place... different clans.  But same place! And that is happening quite often on my ancestral explorations, both across the Pond and in pre-and post-Colonial migrations here. 

 

My necklace is the British Isles, with a touch of the Western edge of Europe. Which is appropriate, because I JUST found out in my research that "Hood" is not English, as my brother and I thought, but was originally "Hoed" - and, DUTCH!  As in, came-from-Amsterdam-to-New-Amsterdam-before-it-was-New-York Dutch.  But that's another story.... [And, I hadn't really paid attention before, but the splotch of color over the Great Britain region on the Ancestry.com DNA map covers that edge of Europe right beside it, including the Netherlands.]

 

I'll be back with more stories and poems in a few weeks - wishing you a swoon-worthy start to June!  Buffy has just the post to get us in the swing of summer, over at the Roundup.  Enjoy!

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Poetry Friday - Let's Go to Scotland!



January Greetings! I hope your year is off to an inspiring start.

We were thrilled to see both our families and our kids over the holidays, though three trips to three different states in those couple of weeks means I am still trying to get my ducks in a row for this new year.

I did manage to corral some traveling ducks this week, though – and we couldn’t be more excited.

A year ago right before the holidays, I made my hubby and kids all spit in vials and sent said spittle off to Ancestry.com to see what we were made of. We said we'd make 2018 travel plans based on the results. Despite some wee bits of diversity, our lot is pretty much British and/or Irish through and through. So this summer, it’s off to Scotland and Ireland for us! (We’ve got Welsh and English roots, too, but we’ll focus on the Scottish and Irish branches this go-round.)

And while I hope our plans will go as smoothly as travel plans can go, perhaps the season of resolutions is the right time to recall our friend Robert Burns’s words to a wee mousie, displaced by a farmer’s plough a couple of centuries ago. Besides, the Scottish poet was born in January – like yours truly and our daughter Morgan (isn’t that a fine Celtic name?).

Click here for the entire poem and more info about the poet. Below are the ending stanzas, with their famous lines:

from To a Mouse

On Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough,
November, 1785


….

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o' Mice an' Men
            Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
            For promis'd joy!

Still thou are blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e'e,
            On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I cannot see,
            I guess an' fear!


Raise a glass to Mr. Burns on January 25, the 259th anniversary of his birth, if my math is right!

One lovely trip bonus is that we will (barely!) overlap with my long-time kidlit buddy/friend Elizabeth Dulemba, who has been pursuing graduate degrees in illustration in Edinburgh, and who comes back to the states during summers to teach at Hollins University. If you don’t know Elizabeth’s work or website, you are in for a treat – she’s garnered awards for both her writing and art. She’s also one of the most generous blogger-folks out there, and her Coloring Pages enrich countless lives each and every Tuesday. (Sign up to receive them!)

She even has a great TEDxTalk called, “Is Your Stuff Stopping You?” It was inspired by the move she made to Scotland in pursuit of her dreams, and the downsizing she and her husband were willing to do to make it happen. (See the link at the top of her site.)

AND, if that’s not all, Elizabeth just featured a terrific interview with our own Irene Latham and Charles Waters about their hot-off-the-press poetry collection from Carolrhoda Books, Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship. I just ordered my copy!

I’ll be spending lots of time on e’s blog in coming months, perusing all her posts on Scotland. To make that virtual journey yourself, click here.

For today’s roundup, get out your poetry passport and head over to bookseed studio, where our amazing Jan is welcoming all with a post on Martin Luther King, Jr.
Happy Travels! Read More 
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