In 2007 I was lunching with my Godfather, the great Robbie Burns scholar and academic, Professor Richard Hertz. During this lunch he passed me an envelope and then proceeded to tell me a fantastical story…
In the late 1950s Professor Hertz was snooping around through his university’s main archives. There he came across an old leather pouch. Inside he found two yellowed pieces of paper. To his surprise, one of them was a poem. The other piece of paper was even more interesting. This document explained that the accompanying poem was actually a long lost poem by Robbie Burns. In fact it was the last poem the great Burns wrote - writing it on his death bed.
What Professor Hertz had was gold. A lost poem by one of the world’s greatest poets.
As he handed it to me he quietly whispered, “Many want their hands on this poem. You have to promise me no one will ever see it. Promise!”
“But, why? “, I asked?
“Well it’s just not very good.”, he said. And with that he left the table.
Well, it’s many years later and I’m sad to say the great professor died last week. We will all miss him.
His death has hit me hard.
But on a lighter note, I can now publish the poem without pissing him off!
So, without further ado -
MY ROBIE BURNS
‘Tis a secret I have
Words I ought not say
But as death approaches I’ll share – I may
For ’tis ugly and gross
Stomachs will toss and churn.
The secret my friends…
My Robbie Burns…
At first blush I thought
No need to fear
The Scottish Highlands
Aye! damn cold up here
With nothing but a kilt to hide
My precious privates should be kept inside!
Those were my worries – my sole concerns-
That’s why I thought..
My Robbie Burns
You see, these kilts are made from camels’ hair
And we’re not allowed cotton underwear
It’s free to flop left and right-
Aye, dear Lord – what a sight
No whitey tighties? – My heart – it yearns.
Aye was sure this was why-
My Robbie Burns.
My pee it’s green.
It smell’s amiss.
Could be Gonorrhea – or Syphilis
Such a great, great man, am I to be brought down by this?
But how, thy question remaining returns
How did I get so that….
My Robbie Burns?
So here I lay upon my bed
Writing down all that remains unsaid.
I must confess all to you my darling,
my love and my life…
so I turn to you and say..
Aye… you’re not my wife.
Last night – the whisky – aye, that’s right
Oooo – the truth behind my horrible plight.
And now it dawns – I see – me learns!
Now I know why-
My Robbie Burns.
So my dear wife I will indeed
Completely understand if you so find the need
To leave me.
Alone – a sad death – as my life adjourns…
And I will always remember: you left because…
Of my horrible 70’s Side Burns…