I was brought up with and still am surrounded by terrific singers in my life and their staple diet was songs by Robert Burns, which I ate up. My Grandmother, who had a lovely soprano voice, is encyclopaedic about Burns and quotes him endlessly. Through her love and knowledge of his songs, my Mother and Father to this day constantly sing and quote the bard to highlight the machinations of human nature.
Naturally I now do the same thing. It’s a joy that this great man’s philosophies are quoted all over the world.
‘O wad some Power the giftie gie us,
I heard these lines many times growing up. I remember what a thrill it was when I first read this poem in Primary School and immediately recognised these two lines as words of wisdom plagiarised by my parents.
This poem is one of the great levellers. I love the ‘fur coat and nae knickers’ aspect of it.
The imagery is so filmic; the close up of the wig and bonnet to catch a glimpse of the indiscriminate louse. I hear the music right now; light-hearted mixed with liturgical.
As a child I loved the image of this grand, authoritarian Lady being brought down to earth, without knowing it. It was our little secret and Burns immediately fills the reader with quiet smugness and a satisfying belief that no one is better than anyone else.
The imagery of this work is both empowering and inspirational and is a salutary lesson to us all.
Partrick Doyle - Composer
Text © Patrick Doyle
other images -
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|To a Louse|
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
|All images © Tricia Malley / Ross Gillespie broad daylight ltd. All texts ©|