Not much to say…

as all I’m doing at the moment is working and commuting – I tend to read on the train, unless its been a really bad week and then I stare out the window at the familiar suburban landscape, so I am racing through the books.

But I have recently, thanks to the wonderful Library Thing Early reviewers programme, fallen in love with the poetry of Robert Burns through Andrew O’Hagan’s excellent book A Night Out with Robert Burns. Being English, and southern English at that, Burns has always been, to me, a bit of a sentimental Scottish cliche – there’s a drunken Scotsman who always seems to be staggering through St Martin’s Lane, muttering “A Red Red Rose” when I’m on my way home, which is in itself a testament to Scottish education as the average drunken Englishman can at best manage, “Come on show us your tits” – and don’t get me started on “Auld Lang Syne”.

Burns is much more than this, he was a political poet, just read this, which O’Hagan puts into context with an extract from an MOD release announcing the death of a 19 year old Highland Fusilier in Basra in 2004:

I Murder Hate

I murder hate by field or flood,
Tho’ glory’s name may screen us;
In wars at home I’ll spend my blood,
Life giving wards of Venus;
The deities that I adore
Are social Peace and Plenty;
I’m better pleased to make one more,
Than be the death of twenty.-

I would not die like Socrates,
For all the fuss of Plato;
Nor would I with Leonadas,
Nor yet I would with Cato:
The Zealots of the Church, or State,
Shall ne’er my mortal foes be,
But let me have bold ZIMRI’s fate,
Within the arms of COSBI!-

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