Friday, January 23, 2009

Hey for Houghmagandie

Some of my best friends are Scottish. My Mum & Dad for starters.

I guess this makes me a Scot, but that's not something I think at all about for 11 months of the year.

However, Sunday is Burns' Night and Clan Stan, although very busy at the moment, usually get together to celebrate poetry and Scottishness and this remarkable farmer's son who fitted so much loving and living into his 37 years that it's a miracle he had the time or the energy to hold a pen.

I've just recently read his "Merry Muses of Caledonia" which is a book of poems full of rampant macho shagging whose existence was denied for over a century after his death by people who wanted him to be some sort of poet-saint. Given that he produced an absolute minimum of 13 kids with 5 different mothers, I'd say a collection of ribald limericks was neither here nor there.

I love trying to pick my way through the strange language in which Burns wrote. Some remarkably beautiful words that fully deserve to replace the pedestrian Standard English equivalents.

Take my current favourite "Houghmagandie" for example, which I would attempt to pronounce as Hochhh-ma-Gandhi. This is by far a better word than the po-faced "fornication" e.g :

There's some are fou o' love divine,
There's some are fou o' brandy;
An' monie jobs that day begin,
May end in Houghmagandie

It's a gift to poets - a beautiful word about an immortal subject which rhymes with brandy and randy, Sandy and Mandy, and even candy and Andy Pandy.

I shall use it often.


drummerdave said...

When attending Burns Night festivities I usually end up delivering 'Leave us our Glens'.. seems to go down well! See


Fiona said...

Just what is your relationship to Andy Pandy, I wonder?