The year is 1794 and money worries have forced the young Rabbie Burns to take up work as a labourer at a farm near Mauchline in East Ayrshire, Scotland. Good fortune has smiled though for it is on this farm the he meets his first true love, young Nelly Kilpatrick.  As the pair wander together amidst the stunning landscape, hand in hand and every so often sharing a furtive kiss Rabbie finds himself – or so he thinks – in the zone to knock out a swift poem for his new found beau yet is stuck as to exactly how to get over the hurdle of the first line!

“Oh Nelly darling I’m feeling a tad flummoxed on the poetry front today. I so want to write a special love poem just for you my sweetheart yet all I’ve got in the locker presently is ‘O my love’s like a red, red……….something!  I mean, a ‘red, red’ what?”

“Well Rabbie I really cannot help you out there as I am quite devoid of poetic skills. Why don’t you just pick a word that reminds you of me? I am so very, very excited though as no boy has ever before written of his love for just me.”

“That is what I’m trying to do Nell…….um….um…..London Bus, they’re red aren’t they.”

“Oh Rabbie you make me sob so likening me to a bus. I mean people say of ugly women that they have a face like the back of a bus. How could you?”

“Sorry Nell – don’t take it the wrong way. What about, ‘My love’s like a red, red Whisky Drinkers Nose. How’s that one?”

“Really Rabbie, whisky drinkers noses are all red that is true but they are also pock marked and bulbous and I am neither. Pass me a handkerchief – not one covered in snot mind – in order that I may dab away the tears that are flowing in torrents now.”

“Crumbs this poetry malarkey is a tad more difficult than I presumed. Right here we go again, ‘My love’s like a red, red……..um…..um…….Red Light. That’s more like it I’d say.”

“How could you be so cruel? Do you really see me as a common harlot for they hawk their wares under the red light – or so I believe – and I am not a lady of the night by any way, shape or form?”

“OK I’ll try tomato….no not tomato…….what about blood transfusion in a casualty department of a hospital on a Saturday night in Glasgow?”

“Take me home to father now Rabbie for I can take no more of this.”

“Fine Nell but one last try….you must give me the opportunity for that. You mean so much to me darling.  Here we go again, ‘My love’s like a read, read book.’ You like books don’t you. Anyway that’s the best I can come up with presently. I’ll maybe give it another shot later…..by the way that poesy of red, red roses you are holding is so very beautiful and truly enhances your raven haired beauty. Still mustn’t let my mind wander from the task at hand….now, ‘My love’s like a red, red….oh bollocks this is going nowhere.”





  1. Breaking News . . .

    when redecorating the madhatters, wee butt n ben, some fragments of verse were uncovered scribbled in crayon on the wall

    these suggest Rab continued his quest to find a suitable poem for Nell . . .

    There was a young women called Nelly
    Who had a very fine belly
    She . . . . (sadly, the rest of this verse has been lost)

    A second verse from what seems to be a different poem, though, has survived intact . . .

    Ma bonny Nell
    the finest belle
    amang the field of clover
    a’m feeling frisky
    must be the whisky
    haud still, till
    a get ma leg o’er

  2. Bwaaahaaaahaaaaa!! LOVE IT!! I love when you do these kinds. They truly crack me up. Almost cracked as if I were breaking out of my calcium shell. Oh wait, that’s been done already…

  3. That’s it, Mike, I think we’re through
    Bloody hell, how could you
    Oor bonny lad was just nonplussed
    As a poet, what would you do
    Breeches worn were way too tight
    To stow away thesaurus
    And google was too distant yet
    To find a rhyme for chorus
    If I’d been her a-courting Rab
    I’d store one up my skirt
    Ninety-nine tae wan, I bet
    He’d huv found the right word yet

    1. The affliction of satire is sometimes a curse…you should have seen what I did with Byron…thinking about it, what I did with all the famous poets. I wrote loads of these to the same template, idiot that I am! Seriously fine poetic riposte, by the way!

      1. You knocked Byron? Have you done Shakespeare too? You should get them into a collection. ‘Poetic Insights Of A Different Sort’. 🙂
        Never apologise for creativity. I’d be horrified if I thought people were taking offence at anything I’d written but it wouldn’t stop me either. I don’t think. I don’t hold all that much with the idea of a muse unless you count an inner prompting to write what you can’t resist. Satire serves well as a leveller and is akin, I think, to a good stand-up comedian. 🙂

      2. I’ve done Shakespeare something less than proud…in this instance I must say I have never been a great fan of the old boy. He swooned too much for my taste; ever so clever words; little substance. Give me the passion of Burns any day of any week. Even the young drunkard Byron for the that matter. Nicola to the rescue of one and all?

      3. At this point, Mike, I’m wondering what, if anything, can be done to save England from itself. Scotland has a chance, albeit that every newspaper either side of the border, bar one here, together with the state broadcasting corporation, practically cries, ‘treason’ every time independence is mentioned. There are still a lot of older people who depend solely on mainstream media for their news and don’t question what is said. The Yes campaigners are champing at the bit to really get going. I count myself among that crew.
        I feel like I’m standing outside a time capsule looking inside at how this came to be and I’m truly heart sorry that this has been brought about by those who have deliberately cultivated mistrust and grievances across the whole of the UK (and elsewhere). And I don’t just mean in recent years.
        I was thinking about assimilation and integration today – the buds of a poem perhaps – and how, for generations – way before Brexit – divisions have been exploited to maintain supremacy by one group over another, even within each of the individual nations. It’s like the caste system, or the old Barker/Corbett/Cleese sketch.
        Maintain the system and you keep the pecking order as well as the order of rule. I don’t know enough about all the regions in England to speak with any authority on how that is perceived there but I think it would be safe to say that there are pre-existing divisions (one slags off the other, perceives them as lesser) that have nothing to do with immigration.
        When things are rolling along, regions are expected to assimilate to thrive. We’re all one. This one. The one you’re expected to be. But don’t get above yourself.
        When that doesn’t work (why would it? People need to be free to be) and troubles ensue, a common enemy is created – immigrants, Scots, whoever – that threaten our great unity and supposed diversity. Unite now, under one banner. And you know how great the Brits are at rallying to Britannia’s call.
        The system has stunk for years, Mike. Foul, stagnant and without mercy to the diverse regional cultures and language, let alone the four nations. I mean, Wales doesn’t even get to be counted as a country most of the time. Ireland’s been split in two, again. With possibly worse to follow. England doesn’t know where to look to for help. Enter UKIP stage left.
        I found myself thinking about The Falkland Islands today too and did a wee bit of research. Did you know that they are on a list, with other countries, as one that might need supporting if independence is wanted? Found myself reading the document relating to national identity and the right of a nation to self-determination and the barriers to it.
        I’ve most likely tested your patience here, Mike, and probably your readers if anyone comes across a past post but I could talk about this stuff forever. Not so much the politics per se but the psychology used to manipulate people, situations and choices.
        So, I suppose my answer, if I had just said this in the beginning, is that if we need saving we’ve all got to work at saving the best of our national identities while integrating as friends and neighbours, welcoming others in the beauty that is cultural diversity.
        That, more or less, is the road I and others in the Yes movement want to travel. We’ll do our utmost to make sure the journey is not halted and all are welcome – every nation, creed, colour. Our fight is not with English people who are every bit as much victims of a system that seeks to control culture, would eradicate diversity, demeans nationhood and regions and uses the psychology of dependency to maintain control.
        There was a time that I thought the Labour party would have been the vehicle to make possible the harmony needed for all our individual cultures to thrive together. Not any more. The SNP go a long way to representing it. But it’s us, Mike. Just us. All of us. And I do believe we can.
        Apologies once again for the length of my response. Never ask me a question! I’m not known for brevity. 🙂

      4. You know, sometimes I think it’s a crying shame we need national identities at all. Sadly, human nature determines we do…tribalism and all that. And when one tribe is bigger and stronger than the other/others everything goes to worms and the nasty side of this conscious animal we are holds sway. Another ‘sometimes’! Sometimes, I wish, really 100% wish I didn’t care…but I do. England needs a jolt to discover itself, to ‘get real’ and that jolt is, it seems going to happen sometime soon. As to whether it will have a positive outcome, I doubt. The ‘blame game’ will make sure of that. Humanity needs re-booting, none more so than the English.
        Changing the subject to a degree, I was listening to the news on the radio earlier (another compulsion I wish I could give up on) and it prompted me wondering, what if a Mexican female follower of Islam, in desperate need of an abortion in the wake of a rape attack, and who had once been caught on CCTV innocently passing the time of day with someone who was later discovered to be a terrorist asked Trump (the leader of the ‘free’ world) for a bit of compassionate help. Would he deport her, torture her, intern her, grope her or all these things? Certainly, the abortion would be off his menu. How would The Daily Mail report it?

      5. ‘Sometime soon’ has an ominous ring to it. Rightly so, I think.
        As for the imagined scenario – what an imagination! – I think trump would shrug and say it wouldn’t make America great again. And The Daily Heil would agree. Both have previous form. Scary, isn’t it?

      6. I also think that this Article 50 thing is Scotland’s moment if only Scotland can see it. An independent Scotland within the EU is an independent Scotland. United with England and Wales (God help Wales…and England for that matter) Scots will wither away. Keep up the good work.

      7. It’s what we’re working for, Mike. Do you see something in the Article 50 thing that we might have missed? SNP play their cards pretty close too. I trust them to do what’s right and her team will be looking to exploit every avenue open to preserve our membership before ultimately calling for another referendum. If the Scots who are so pro-union are prepared to accept the slights given, and to come, I’m ashamed of them. And blisteringly angry. As if the Tories give a flying f….fig about them!
        I see Tess has been away negotiating US involvement in the NHS. The woman is a loose cannon along with the rest of her crew. Imagine sucking up to that dummkopf. Telling you, Mike, there’ll be nowt left by the time they’re finished.

      8. The next 20 years of Tess May or may not fill me with dread, although I’ll likely be dead before seeing another common sense government. Oddly, my satisfaction during what is left of my life hangs on the Scots. I wish them/you well and lets hope they do us both proud.

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