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    Here we will feature comments, appreciations and/or insights, contributed by Club members, into a selected Poem, Song or Ballad of Robert Burns. As always, reader comments are welcome. --Webmaster
    Index of past Featured Poems

    Featured Poem:

    The Vision

    Submitted by David M Arnold

    The Vision is Burns's meditation on the life of the artist. As he was about to abandon his art, the artist is visited by a muse who convinces him of his duty to perservere.

    To my eye, this is one of Burns's most evocative and most beautiful works. His imagery of the rustic life:

      The thresher's weary flingin-tree,
      The lee-lang day had tired me;
      And when the day had clos'd his e'e,
      Far i' the west,
      Ben i' the spence, right pensivelie,
      I gaed to rest.

      There, lanely by the ingle-cheek,
      I sat and ey'd the spewing reek,
      That fill'd, wi' hoast-provoking smeek,
      The auld clay biggin;
      An' heard the restless rattons squeak
      About the riggin.

    Is not only vivid, but also an effective use of the Lalans Scots dialect. A couple of stanzas down, he describes his lot:

      Had I to guid advice but harkit,
      I might, by this, hae led a market,
      Or strutted in a bank and clarkit
      My cash-account;
      While here, half-mad, half-fed, half-sarkit.
      Is a' th' amount.

    Again, an excellent use of the Scots dialect to build rhymes (harkit = listened, clarkit = clerked, sarkit = clothed). [Anyone who has attempted to break into the world of mainstream publishing can resonate with this.]

    The poem goes on to describe the contributions of earlier bards. As published in the Kilmarnock Edition, the poem was shortened. Omitted were stanzas referring to local places and personalities. The reconstructed poem including suppressed stanzas is presented on the Robert Burns Club of Milwaukee website.

    --David M Arnold

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Page last updated 9 June 2003