The Corner

Poetry Corner

The recent misfortunes of the Cutty Sark brought to mind Robert Burns’ great poem “Tam O’Shanter,” which inspired the ship’s name.    It’s a tough poem to get to know, because it’s written in lowland-Scots dialect (“Lallans”), but well worth the trouble in my opinion.  Best of all is to hear it read by a Scot, with the real accent.  My “Classic FM One Hundred Favorite Poems” set has a partial reading by Scottish actor Donald Douglas, beautifully done.   Here is the actual text.   Here’s a Wikipedia article on the poem.   And if the Lallans is too much for you, here’s a Chinese translation (2nd poem, about a quarter down the web page).   And here are the first few lines, back-translated into English from that Chinese translation:

Tom Aosangte A story Hawker left the streets were shut down. Tanbei across a neighbor friends,

People poured gradually disperse.

It was not long regarded the road to drive;

This time, we are holding a cup of beer,

Cheers! Swig, no consideration worries,

Forget the Scottish milestone particularly long,

There marshes and ponds, hillsides, walls,

Repeat it at home and in the hotel between

Watching the old house after his wife’s ashen face.

Joe like a storm will come,

She apply the minds of the fire only when fired big attack!