I can remember when I was young, my mother took me to the Robert Burns Statue in Washington Park in downtown Albany. I don't know what I thought about it at the time, but I do remember being impressed by the shear size of it. Recently as my interest in Burns and the Weaver Poets of Antrim and Down has awakened, the memory of that day returned. So I visited there with my girlfriend and her youngest son, and I looked up on the net the history of how it came to be there. (There is actually an online digital copy of the book all about it, available through Google.)
in Albany's Washington Park.
Most recently the Burns Statue, has become the sight of gatherings, involving Dan Wilcox and the Albany Poets Scene. These Guys are a bit more virulent than we are out here in the burbs, but it warms my heart to think of the Burns Statue as a centerpiece of post-modern verse. This at least, is not habitual.
I live in the Town of "New Scotland", Each year I attend the Scottish Games at the Altamont Fairgrounds, but I can't say that I, or the majority of the 21st century population who live here, are consciously aware of the historic nature of our local Scot heritage, in the same way in which the population of this area was aware in the 1800s. We have become blended, melded, and habituated to our surroundings.
The following is a poem by William Weaver Christman published in 1926, in his book of poems titled "Songs of the Helderhills". Christman is a favorite of one of my fellow "Thursday Night Bards" Alan Casline (with whom I trade bantering verse) Alan has been championing the resurrection of Christman's reputation and contribution to the local area. Christman was, in the tradition of the Weaver Bards, in contact with contemporary's of his day, traded verse with them, was home schooled and wrote in the vernacular. He lived the majority of his life on his land eeking out a living as a "Hardscrabble" farmer. His farm is one of the oldest local Nature Preserves in the country.
He was also obviously aware of the of his Poetical Scot-Nativity as is evidenced by the following two poems:
Page 43 in memory of Bannockburn,
(June 24, 1314)
I had not heard of Christman before Alan brought him to my attention. I was habituated to the knowledge of his existence, he was there all along and I was not yet aware. Thank-you Alan for the enrichment of my experience.
So, my Mom always had "The Selkirk Grace" hanging on the wall in our dinning room. Her median name was Burns. Could we be related? ...Who knows. More than likely not. But I couldn't help joking about it in this latest feeble attempt at the Hamley Tongue.
Tha Verdict o tha Court o Common Reason:
Altho A aim inspired, by tha Gilmour's ana Glenn's
an mayhaps Rabbie Burns Bluid rins throo mae Pen
Family myth claims "Rabbie" bot canna proove it
despite mae best effets, nither cood A doo it
A like tae read o Coopers an Weavers
ana try ta qhurit aboot Patriots an Dreamers
A tried mae ain han larning mae Muther's
and Fether's, Fether's, Fether's tongue
An now A ken reed mae Habbie Standart
bot A canna qhurit it spectacular
Sae A shood lave it tae tha Braid Bards
tae speak an qhurit in vernacular
Freens an Nybers, neist ye herd it
Tha Court o Common Reason ha a Verdict
qhuriting in Ullans wae fun whilest it lasted
bot A kin only speek it quhen A'm "Blasted"!