The Faults of Man

Nae man can tether time or tide.

Robert Burns “Tom O’Shanter”

Nae man can tether time or tide,
that noose around ‘is neck is tied.
O’ his faults, we find first pride.

Rising first befo’ it fell,
th’ moon’s a lasso to them ‘ll,
hugs ‘em close before th’ swell.
Whilst man is left ta float an’ tock,
cling tight ta’ today’s cuckoo clock.
Hope his boat don’ roll or rock.

Nae man can tether time or tide,
ta’ many swells for board t’ ride
And pain ta’ deep and hour ta’ wide.

A’ path he wade now mags ‘im sink.
Th’ hour that blew like winds nah’ stink
an’ opaque wat’rs turn black as ink.
Years spent anchored off ta’ shore
have left him lodg’d ‘gainst can’l floor,
bilgin’ seconds n’ beggin’ fah more.

Nae man can tether time or tide.
Th’ Aviator up ‘n hevn lied,
a mouthful and he’s gon’in died.

Artwork: Shiela Tandy ‘Ae Fond Kiss’

It’s Burns Night, and while I’ll be teaching most of the evening, I have my Burns Supper ready for me when I get home. This poem is my humble attempt to capture some of Burn’s style and wit. I’d love any and all feedback on it as it was written for the Late-Night Poets Burns Night show and can still be tweaked. Enjoy!


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