Here it is, Robbie Burns Day – the birthday of The Bard, Scottish poet Robert Burns – and what do I have? A parody of an Edgar Allan Poe classic.
I’m not being a very good Scot.
However, in keeping with tradition, I do offer a link to an appropriate Burns piece, “Address to a Haggis.” If you’re holding a Burns Supper today, in addition to the pipes, toasts, and requisite singing of Burns’ “Auld Lang Syne,” you’d better plan on having a dramatic reading of the culinary classic that is “Address to a Haggis.”
And of course, the haggis, neeps, and tatties.
And if you don’t know what haggis is, well – let me say, it’s not for everyone. Neeps are turnips and tatties are potatoes; simple enough. Haggis, though, is a type of forcemeat consisting of most of the parts of a sheep non-Scots wouldn’t consider eating – along with oatmeal, onions, pepper, and other spices – stuffed inside the sheep’s stomach. And just because haggis is synonymous with Scotland, don’t assume everyone there loves it. There are a handful of Americans who don’t appreciate hot dogs, and there are plenty more Scots who won’t go near haggis with a 19-foot caber.
It should be noted that the flavour of haggis improves with time; specifically, time spent drinking Scotch.
Which explains a lot, actually.
But I digress…
I don’t know if it’s because I grew up listening to Stan Freberg and watching Carol Burnett on TV, if it’s due to my overdosing on Monty Python and The Goodies episodes as a kid, or because my family was just plain happy while I was growing up…but I am grateful to whoever or whatever gave me my sense of humour.
I’m not saying I’m the world’s quickest wit or funniest fellow, but I do tend to see the humour in many situations. Just as I find poetry in everyday life, I also see the funny.
Case in point: this past Sunday night, when my poor New England Patriots fell in defeat to the powerful Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game. (For the uninitiated, the Ravens will now meet the San Francisco 49’ers in the Super Bowl. It’s kind of a big deal here.) If you saw the game, you saw the Patriots do pretty much nothing except all the things a team should not do, if it wants to advance to the Super Bowl. Interception, fumble, offsides, you name it…they did it.
But, having been born in the city of Poe, I was not entirely disappointed. I was glad to see the Ravens move on – which is probably why I was able to see humour in the Patriots’ defeat. While most Pats fans went straight to bed after screaming at their TVs for at least 20 minutes – only to continue grousing about it at work the following day – I, on the other hand, took to my computer to re-write Poe’s classic, “The Raven.”
No, not the entire poem – I’m not that ambitious, even when it’s not 11pm on a Sunday night. I wrote one stanza, incorporating the rhyme scheme and meter of the original, as a reflection of my experience of the game as a Pats fan.
(Also, again for the uninitiated: Flacco is Joe Flacco, Baltimore’s quarterback, and Beantown is a nickname for Boston…)
Once upon a Sunday dreary, as the Pats played, weak and weary,
Watching all of Flacco’s passes they seemed eager to ignore –
Wide receivers, nearly napping, with their flailing arms a-flapping,
They’re the ones I felt like slapping as they worn down time and score –
“Will victory be Beantown’s??” I asked, closely watching time and score –
Quoth the Ravens, “Nevermore!”
– 2013, Matt Forrest Esenwine
For all of today’s Poetry Friday offerings, be sure to visit Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference!