Robert Burns was born on 25th January in 1759 in a place called Alloway which is in Ayrshire, Scotland. He died at a young age - only 37 on 21st July 1796. Poignantly, it was the day his wife, Jean, gave birth to his last son, Maxwell.
For over 200 hundred years people have been having "Burns Suppers"
His poem "Auld Lang Syne" is known the world over and sung every New Year's Eve - people gather in a circle holding hands and sing Auld Lang Syne saying goodbye to the old year.
Another of his well known poems is "Ode to a Haggis" - so, in honour of the Baird, here is
Great Chieftan o’ the Puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang’s my arm
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
You pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’need
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead
His knife see Rustic-labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Then, horn for horn they stretch an’ strive,
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive
Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?
Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash
His spindle-shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bluidy flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!
But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs, an’ arms an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle
Ye pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
An’ dish them out their bill o’fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ pray’r,
Gie her a Haggis!
The city of Dunedin (NZ) maintains strong links with its Scottish heritage. This statue of the Scottish poet Robbie Burns is located in the “Octagon” in the centre of Dunedin. In the background is the Anglican St Paul’s Cathedral (1915), which is made of local Oamaru stone.
Robbie Burns has his back to the church and his face to the pub. Which is the way he would have wanted it.