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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Happy Burns Night

It's Burns Night tonight.  If you don't know what that is, you're not alone.  But a quick Wikipedia search has informed me that it's a holiday celebrated in Scotland and Northern Ireland (and more recently in the UK) honoring the Scottish poet Robert Burns.  How awesome is that?  A place that loves writing so much they commemorate authors and poets and books with holidays and feasts.  Just look at Bloomsday.  Burns Night is mostly celebrated with a Burns Supper, which actually seems pretty cool and elaborate.  I've got half a mind to throw my own impromptu Burns Supper tonight, but I'm not sure I know how to track down a haggis on such short notice.

But back to this literary holiday thing.  Sure, we celebrate things like Banned Book Week, and Library Week, and Childrens' Book Week.  But what about other holidays celebrating individual authors and books.  Well, don't you worry.  There's a bunch.  Here's a cool list.

My personal favorite is Tom Sawyer Fence Painting Day.  We should definitely celebrate that this year.  I know a fence that could really use it.

Oh, and for your Burns Supper this evening...here's a poem about a haggis.

Address to a Haggis

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, 
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race! 
Aboon them a' ye tak your place, 
Painch, tripe, or thairm: 
Weel are ye wordy of a grace 
As lang's my arm. 

The groaning trencher there ye fill, 
Your hurdies like a distant hill, 
Your pin wad help to mend a mill 
In time o' need, 
While thro' your pores the dews distil 
Like amber bead. 

 His knife see rustic Labour dight, 
An' cut ye up wi' ready slight, 
Trenching your gushing entrails bright 
Like onie ditch; 
And then, O what a glorious sight, 
Warm-reekin, rich! 

Then, horn for horn, they strech an' strive: 
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive, 
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve, 
Are bent like drums; 
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive, 
'Bethankit!' hums. 

Is there that owre his French ragout 
Or olio that wad staw a sow, 
Or fricassee wad mak her spew 
Wi' perfect sconner, 
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view 
On sic a dinner? 

Poor devil! see him owre his trash, 
As feckless as a wither'd rash, 
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash, 
His nieve a nit; 
Thro' bluidy flood or field to dash, 
O how unfit! 

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed, 
The trembling earth resounds his tread. 
Clap in his walie nieve a blade, 
He'll make it whissle; 
An' legs, an' arms, an' heads will sned, 
Like taps o' thrissle. 

Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care, 
And dish them out their bill o 'fare, 
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware 
That jaups in luggies; 
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer, 
Gie her a Haggis!

-Robert Burns

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